TACS hosts ‘Painting on Silk’ with Ellen Davidson 

Published 11:35 am Wednesday, March 1, 2023

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TRYON–Fiber artist Ellen Davidson will follow up her recent felting class with a workshop on painting silk at the Tryon Arts and Crafts School. The classes will take place on March 6 and 7 from 9 a.m.- 3 p.m. 


Ellen Davidson started her artistic journey in 1969 when she discovered her love of watercolors. Since then, she has branched out into other art forms, educating herself through workshops and classes. 

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Davidson learned silk painting in a workshop she attended in 2002. Now, she looks to pass on her skills and knowledge to the students at TACS. Her work has been shown in various galleries along the east coast and at Islesford Artist Gallery in Maine, and her silk and felted scarves are displayed at TACS, as well as Winters Work, a gift and craft shop also located in Maine.


“The woman who taught me silk painting grew up in Ukraine, where artist supplies were hard to come by, so the women of her village would have to make do,” Davidsons says.  ”The women had to create their dyes and resist, a substance that prevents the dye from reaching the fabric, out of rubber cement, beeswax, and gasoline. Though in our class, we’ll use store-bought dyes and resist.”


In her class, attendees will use paints specially made for silk. They will create their own designs for the silk and learn how to apply the paint properly. Davidson will show them how to use resist, salt, stencils, and applicable painting techniques. 


“If you’ve ever painted with watercolors, you’ll be quite comfortable painting on silk,” she adds. 


Davidson just wrapped up a felting class, which she describes as painting with wool. Felting, one of the oldest textile arts, is the process of making wool into felt by rolling and pressing it and using hot water or a special needle. 


Davidson expresses her love of teaching both art forms. 


“You meet the most interesting people teaching,” Davidson said. “Some students are intimidated by the idea of having to create a design or feel they need a background in painting. But they find you can create beautiful pieces with silk just by mixing their favorite colors, and it makes for a wonderful hobby that they can take home and continue once they’ve learned the basics.”

For more class information or to sign up, contact Tryon Arts and Crafts School or visit their website, tryonartsandcrafts.org.