H Dupont

Steam-Set Dyes are chosen by artists for the rich colours which they bring to painting on silk fabric whilst the ‘hand’ and the texture and finish of the silk remain unchanged by the colour which has been applied.

The H Dupont Classique Dyes are created specifically for painting on silk and can be used with all silk painting techniques. The dyes are set into the silk fibres by heating at steam temperature after the dye is dry. In the steaming process, the dyes form a chemical bond locking the dyes to the silk fibres and become permanent.

H Dupont dyes were first produced in the 1950’s and are well-known around the world. Recently the company has reorganized the range into 80 colours called H. Dupont Classique with new number codes. These dyes are concentrated and so dilutants are often added when using them. The colours are vibrant and become even more so when steamed.

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Silk paintings are usually created on white silk fabric. The dyes are painted onto the stretched surface of the silk using a paintbrush. The dyes flow into the fibre and bonds with the silk material, becoming a part of the silk thread. This makes the colour generally lightfast and washable. Many artists use a dye thickener or an antifusant on the surface of the silk to slow the progress of the dyes through the silk. As a result light can pass through and reflect from the lustre of the silk giving true vitality and luminosity to the image.

Silk painting using dyes has been practised for a long time. There was a revival of interest in silk painting in France in the early nineteenth century with the discovery of Gutta, and again in the 1980’s with the availability of concentrated dye solutions. Gutta is a rubbery resist that can be used to create boundary lines on a silk. The dyes that normally would flow through the silk are stopped at the boundary created by the Gutta. This gives the artists control over positioning the dyes on the fabric allowing them to create images.

The alternative for decorating silk fabric is silk paints, which George Weil also supply. These paints are composed of small particles of opaque pigment bonded to the surface of the fabric by an acrylic binder which blocks light from passing through the fabric.

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