Sunday, May 17, 2015

Silk Banners! Or, this Oda Cannot Draw a Straight Line

Yesterday I spend the afternoon with a couple of SCA friends (my former peer and her husband) working on a new silk banner.  To be strictly correct, it's currently my ONLY silk banner, they were working on replacing/augmenting their current silk banners.  Always nice to have someone who knows what they are doing when you doing something like this for the first time!

The motto translates as Shadows Pass, Light Remains.
A good reminder for me right now, and it reminds me a little
of the Litany Against Fear from Dune
We made large silk pennons which we will probably fly from our pavilions or from poles next to them.   I'm not 100% sure that silk painting in this manner is strictly period, but from what I've been able to fine the style of banner is and the idea of painting fabric to make a banner of some sort is, and this being the SCA no one seems much to care beyond that.  The silk looks lovely fluttering in the breeze and is actually very easy to paint with modern silk painting materials.

There are a number of good websites on how to do these types of banners.  It's a lot of fun and quite easy to do.  The most difficult part is stretching the silk.  We have two styles of frame to start with, one of wood and another of PVC with integrated legs.  Even with the legs, the PVC was much less expensive to construct, easier to build and move around, more adjustable, and easier to store.  The silk was cut to something close to size, attached with rubber bands and large safety pins (though you could also sew it on to the frame the way you attach fabric to an embroidery frame) and you are ready to go!

We also found it helpful to have several yard sticks (and a couple of old leese sticks, we're all weavers so these are plentiful) to support the paper we had drawn our designs on while tracing with the resist and to rest our hands on while painting.  Unfortunately I didn't take in-progress photos but again, there is a lot of good information out there.

Overall I am really happy with how this turned out.  The wool combs from my arms could stand to be a little larger, and there isn't a straight line to be found, but once flying in the wind no one will notice. There are also a couple of small drip spots and bleed overs, but again you can't see them from a distance.  We found that the darker colors covered up the light color drips/bleeds very well, and that once one color dried it created a bit of a dam for the adjacent colors.  Not as good a break as the resist, but it worked pretty well.

I'll be doing wool applique for my next banner project.  I know that both methodology and application are correct for my time period in this case, and it will create a heavier piece suitable for hanging on the wall of my tent or displaying as an actual banner with all the necessary hoists and supports.

Some resources:
Midrelm article on Banners, Standards and Pennons
How to Paint Silk Banners (PDF file, very good instructions!)
Flags and Banners in the SCA (another PDF, great overview of various shapes)
Dharma Trading Co. (for all the supplies!  Great place to get Dynaflow paints, gutta resist, and even silk to make your banner, plus lots of instructions on how to use whatever products you choose.  We used these paints -

1 comment:

  1. It looks lovely! Will you be going to Pennsic & flying it there?