I am a silk artist.  I focus primarily on tie-dyed and dye-painted silks for flag dancing.  I also create fine art and wearable silk art.

The flags I create are made with ultra-violet reactive acid dyes that reflect daylight and glow in artificial fluorescent black light. 

I have recently started painting silk with dyes as a way to enhance and refine structure, content and form.  My attire accessories and mounted pieces are painted with ultra-violet reactive acid dyes and traditional French dyes. These materials produce the brightest and most vibrant colors available in this medium.  All of my silks are professionally steam set in a Jacquard vertical fabric steamer to make them as wash-fast and light-fast as possible.  

Tie-dye is a process of resist dyeing textiles or clothing which is made from knit or woven fabric; typically using bright colors. It is a modern version of traditional dyeing methods used in many cultures throughout the world. "Tie-dye" can also describe the resulting pattern or an item which features this pattern. 

Tie-dyeing is accomplished by folding the material into a pattern, and binding it with string or rubber bands. Dye is then applied to only parts of the material. The ties prevent the entire material from being dyed. Designs are formed by applying different colors of dyes to different sections of the fabric. Once complete, the dye is set.

The earliest surviving examples of pre-Colombian tie-dye in Peru date from 500 to 800A.D. Their designs include small circles and lines, with bright colors including red, yellow, blue, and green.

Below is a list of common modern tie-dyeing folds and patterns.

Spiral:  Spiral patterns are created by gathering a small section, usually with a clothes pin or a kitchen fork, in the middle of the fabric and slowly rotating the piece creating pleats of fabric arranged in swirls around a central point. It is then gathered into a flat round bundle and the different wedges of the circular bundle are usually dyed different colors to create a greater spiral effect. 

V:  The 'V' shape is achieved by folding a shirt in half vertically, then a line is drawn diagonally from the shoulder area down to the center fold of the shirt. The fabric is then accordingly folded along the line and bound into one or more areas to which the dye is applied. This will show in the shape of a 'V'.

Random:  This category can hold several different patterns, the majority of which have nothing to do with each other; they can be combinations or they can be as chaotic as bundling the item to be dyed.

Random circles:  This effect is made by tying knots with string or elastic bands in different places. 

Silk Painting
From an article on E-How
Painting on silk is a wonderful way to create unique articles of clothing, beautiful wall hangings, and even flags. You can create complex designs, or just allow the colors to mix together in their own way. No matter what kind of silk painting you choose, you must get the proper equipment and prepare your silk for painting.

Choose and pre-wash the silk item you are going to paint. Silk scarves and wraps are a popular choice for beginner silk painters.

Create your design on paper and transfer your design to the silk by hanging the design on a window with the silk piece positioned over the design. Trace the design lightly onto the silk.
Stretch your silk by using a silk stretcher, or secure your silk using stretching bars and push pins.
Trace your design with gutta or resist or prime your silk with a stop-flow primer. Gutta and resist act as a barrier to keep the dye or paint in a contained area. A stop-flow primer stops the dye from bleeding which allows you to paint more intricate designs without the use of gutta or resist.
Apply the dye or paint to your silk piece with soft bristled brushes or foam tipped brushes.
Allow your silk painting to dry and then set the color. Depending on the paint or dye you used, the color is set by steam, a chemical fixative or heat.
Remove resist by hand washing in warm water and hanging the silk painting to dry. To remove gutta, you must dry-clean your finished, set product.

Flag Making Recipe

If you have never dyed a set of flags, this should give you a good start. If you have done dye work in the past, I hope that you find this information useful. There are many dye products available. This is a quick list of the acid dyes that work well for silk flag making.  White Wash your silk prior to dying. White Wash is a product available from Rit and is carried in most supermarkets.

Dharma Trading Company:

Hot Fuscia #620
Kelly Green #627
Chartreuse #628
Brilliant Blue #623  Dharma used to have a good yellow dye, called “dharma fluorescent yellow”, but I’m not sure if it’s still available.
Flavine Yellow (good yellow)
Rhodamine B  (fantastic fuscia)
Aljo Blue (royal blue)
Fluorescent Violet

True Fluorescent Dyes
These are primaries from which all other colors can be mixed.  Since they are all fluorescent – the colors mixed from them will fluoresce as well.
Keystone in Chicago has a great yellow fluorescent dye.  Dye code AA225
Pylam Products Company Inc. 1-800-645-6096
Fluorescent Violet – LX11387
Fluorescent Blue – LX11384 (sky blue)
Organic Dyestuff Corporation 1-800-556-6785
Rhodamine B 400 %
Rhodamine G
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