The Making of a Tallis (part 2): Painting the silk and tying fringes.

Ironing the freezer paper to the silk

Ironing the freezer paper to the silk

First I trace the image onto the back of  freezer paper (the un-waxed side) I make sure I reverse the image when I do this, so it will come out the right way when I iron it onto the silk.

After I’ve ironed the freezer paper on, I trace the image onto the silk with resist. This stops the dye from flowing from one section to another.  I like to use a paintbrush for this, most folks use a special applicator bottle, but I find the brush works nicely and doesn’t glob like a bottle does. When the resist has dryed, I remove the freezer paper and

Painting the resist onto the silk.

Painting the resist onto the silk.

hold the silk up to the light to make sure there are no gaps in the lines. If there are any obvious gaps, I touch them up. Then I paint the whole image with plain water to be sure I haven’t missed a spot. If any bleeding shows through, I touch up again with resist. Lather, rinse, repeat until all gaps are thoroughly sealed. This may seem time consuming, but it saves a world of headache in the long run.

Then I filled in the figures with clear, water soluble resist so I could paint the background without fear of messing interfering with the colors later. I then painted in the background freely using logs of salt and splattering. It was very messy and loose and fun. I used silk paints (rather than dye) for this project.

When the background was thoroughly dried and cured, I washed the silk with synthrapol (to prevent back dyeing), ironed it dry and filled in the figures. This was a much more controlled process, a bit like coloring in a coloring book. Again, once the paint was dry I ironed it to cure it then washed again. When all the components of the tallis are complete, I then sew the corners and atarah on, make an eyelet hole on each corner and then tye the tsitisit.
With most of my commissioned works, I like to make two. This allows my customer to be happy and takes the pressure off me as far as trying to be a mind reader and guess what the customer is envisioning. The customer gets their choice between the two, and the second goes for sale in my shop.

 

Rachel & Leah

Rachel & Leah

Dark Blue Tallis (front)

Dark Blue Tallis (front)

Sarah & Rebekkah

Sarah & Rebekkah

The first has a dark blue atarah and corners which contrast nicely with the background. The customer ultimately picked this one.

Sarah, Rebekkah, Rachel and Leah

Light Blue Tallis (front)

Light Blue Tallis (front)

Tallis, bag and kippah

Tallis, bag and kippah

The second has a lighter atarah and corners that blend in with the background. This one sold about a month later.

 

To order a custom tallis, please email me at cozycoleman@hotmail.com or visit my Judaica shop to purchase already made items.

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  1. #1 by Melinda on January 30, 2011 - 11:03 am

    What gorgeous work you do Sharon, glad you’re finding time to do what you do so well. 🙂

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