Water Lines, Painting On Vintage Hankies

painting on white hankies

I was in that state between sleeping and waking when I saw the squiggly lines in front of me.  Like water running down or snakes moving through the grass, the lines waved in my mind’s eye.

And they transformed.

First, they were lines stitched on patterned fabric, but soon my waking mind kicked and I began imagining scarves made with those lines. It was like watching a movie as the lines transformed in front of me.  One minute  I was going through the fabric in my selves, looking for the right fabric weight, texture, and pattern.  Then I saw myself folding the fabric, pleating it, and sewing it together.

By the time I was fully awake, I was painting those squiggly lines on white hankies.

But it was still early, around 4am and I wasn’t ready to get up.  So I fell back to sleep and dreamed some wild dreams, none about squiggly lines, water, snakes or scarves.

It was when I got into my studio that I finally got the lines down.  I decided to start with black  paint on white hankies. I still had a nice stack of washed and ironed hankies from last January when I did my own version of Shibori dying using them.

I laid some thick canvas on my studio floor and stacked three hankies on top of each other.  The hankies are so thin, I knew the paint would bleed through the layers beneath.

As I painted the black lines, the paint seeped into the hankie creating a gray shadow around the black. It was even better than I’d imagined.

I kept at it, painting one hankie after another, experimenting, playing with no judgment, only curiosity at what would happen that I hadn’t expected.

After painting a bunch of different patterns, I went back to the first hankie I’d painted and peeled the third hankie down from the top of the pile.

The hankie on the bottom of the pile

It was splattered with random marks of black and gray.  So I took a smaller brush and boxed off the markings creating a completely new and unique design.  A design I’d never have come up with without this process.

The third hankie

I could have painted these hankies all day.  But the cold air was pushing in through the floorboards and I craved something hot to warm my hand and my insides.

Not only that, Jon and I are going to the movies to see The Fabelmans this afternoon and I had to get some things done (like blogging) before we left.

I’m not sure how the paint will set once it’s completely dry.   I need to wash the fabric and see how much the paint will fade if at all.  Then I can make adjustments to the thickness of the paint if necessary.

But it was a good start.  And I’m curious to see what the hankies two and three layers down look like as well as how all the hankies change when they are completely dry.

I imagine they’ll be dry by the time we come home from the movies.

I am thinking of making scarves with these. But I still have a lot more experimenting to do before that happens.  What fun….

Some of the hankies I painted today.

4 thoughts on “Water Lines, Painting On Vintage Hankies

  1. I love this glimpse into your thoughts as you’re creating and your emphasis on play and experimentation. Ugh that sounded stuffy. Let me try again. That sounds like so much fun!!!

    1. Yes, Holly I figured that out after reading the label on the paint. :). For some reason I thought to look online before reading the label. Makes me think sometimes I have access to too much information!

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