Hopi Bird Silk Designs Dresses

Amelia Hoskins / Dress, Silk Painting / / 0 Comments

Hopi Bird Silk Designs - Three Dresses

Silk painted panels for Red Hopi Dress, Peach Pinafore, Grey Hopi Pinafore

Red Hopi has two front panels - black/red on white, and red/white on black. Coordinates with a red linen skirt and black viscose print used in the long red dress design.  Vogue pattern used: V1234 by Sandra Betzina.

Peach Pink Pinafore has pink/orange/brown abstracted bird design natural colours from Hopi pottery.

Grey Hopi Pinafore Hopi birds with feathers and native American sayings.

Pinafore Apron Dress:  Brown silk background was chosen to match brown cottons and viscose (from recycled skirts) to make an unusual charming pinafore dress showing off the silk design in the bib top and apron. I used a dress bought from a French market as a pattern shape to copy.

The drooped top 'collar' style is formed by not buttoning the top corner of the apron top.  This can be cut higher to give a deeper cowl-type 'drop'.

I have kept these 'curved' surface designs almost exactly as the originals, but applied to a two dimensional surface of Habotai silk. It was an obvious decision to put feathers around the Hopi birds but I needed another element. I decided on a selection of Native American quotations intended to stand out in cream.  However, I wrote them with a water based gutta resist, and they were mostly blurred or lost during the steam fixing process; so I embroidered over them. By happy accident this gives another texture, although time consuming.  Better to use a dark gutta and draw dark writing directly.

Quotation on silk:

"After dark all cats are leopards" ~ Zumi

"We will be known forever by the tracks we leav

When I coordinate found fabrics to recycle together into a new look garment, I enjoy imagining a new decorative design with them; to contrast with the many plain cottons and linens I use. Hand painting designs on silk is the obvious solution, taking inspiration from the existing colours and any print coordinated with the plains. I was busting to get back to silk painting which I'd developed as a technique in my first Devon workshop back in 1995!

When designing, one has to start from somewhere; taking a few elements and putting them together. I began again, exactly where I had left off, with the inspirations I'd had for the last paint on paper furnishing design I'd done. I've always been intrigued by Native American design and recently found images of abstract bird designs of the Hopi Indians applied to pottery. They reached a height of decorative abstraction, adapting bird designs to fit over any curved pottery surface; a brilliant applied design.


Grey Hopi Bird design - white/jade green/orange

Coordinates with several grey cotton and linen skirts used to make the pinafore dress with a front silk panel.


Printing Experiment:  Texture of gold on grey is made using dried corn cob leaves (which have fine narrow ridges) glued onto a cereal packet cardboard, then varnishing (acrylic water based) 3 layers recommended.  Their fibre formation, of quite pronounced ridges, left natural looking printed lines, and although I used an epaissisant thickener with gutta, the end result after steaming was mostly a blur, but still provides an interesting background texture, one which I hadn't planned, but actually like very much.  Again the words were lost after steaming, so I embroidered them.

Quotations embroidered on silk:

"Walk lightly in the spring: mother Earth is pregnant" ~ Kiowa

"Plants are our brothers and sisters; they talk to us and if we listen we can hear them" ~ Apache

 Grey Hopi Dance available.  Size 6 (UK)

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