Steaming on the Stovetop

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:

Wrapping silk in a bundle for steaming

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.

Bundle ready for steaming

Here is the bundle- ready for the stovetop steamer.  I will leave it in for at least 30 minutes.  Silk bundle inside steamerThe steamer is gently steaming over medium heat- and now I put the lid on it and let it quietly steam.  Washing out the sizing

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.  Adding a vinegar rinse

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.

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