Having started several paintings, using magic sizing on the silk for the preliminary drawings, I am ready to steam set. Here is a quick picture diary of the steam setting I am doing today:
The silk paintings have the magic sizing on them, and the preliminary drawings are dry. There are two in this bundle I am making, separated by a layer of cotton. I roll up the paintings and tie the bundle loosely with a soft cotton cord.
Here is the bundle- ready for the stovetop steamer. I will leave it in for at least 30 minutes. The steamer is gently steaming over medium heat- and now I put the lid on it and let it quietly steam.
After the steaming is done, I lift out the bundle. Ouch! I’ve been too hasty too many times- it is so hot! And stays hot, as I unroll it. So- be careful! It can burn … Anyway, now I get to give them a light wash to remove the magic sizing from the initial painting step. Some people use a fancy soap- I don’t care for too many chemicals. I use a tiny drop of dish detergent. It still may stress the silk if it is too harsh.
I add a few splashes of white vinegar to a final cold rinse, to restore the natural acidic balance to the silk, after the detergent and magic sizing. It seems to help- it certainly restores the shine and luster. I’ll iron these dry- or let them hand on a clothesline. And then I am ready to begin next layer of painting.