The SERTI Technique of Painting on Silk

The origins of this time-honored technique date back to the second century A.D. in Asia. At the turn of the century, Parisian artists introduced the secrets of this technique to Western Europe and developed the art form known today as SERTI. SERTI (French for "fence" or "enclosing") is the traditional French approach to controlling the flow of water-based dye on silk. The design is created by applying a "resist" called gutta. The dye spreads to the resist fence and is halted. Linda uses a very fine silk crepe from China. Although very time consuming, the medium lends itself extremely well to capturing the shifting qualities of light found in nature.

The outline of the drawing is transferred by tracing through the silk or drawn free hand directly on the silk. Gutta may then be used to follow the pencil lines. Repeatedly flooding each area, the image is created layer upon layer with watercolor brushes resulting in a dramatic intensity of color.

Once the painting is completed, the latex is removed from the silk. Made in France by Sennelier, the concentrated water-based dyes are considered the best in the world with regards to brightness and lightfast qualities. When the work is completed, the color is set by steaming it for a minimum of two hours. This makes the silk colorfast and impervious to bleeding when washed or dry cleaned. The concentrated dyes have the same archival quality of light-fastness as the best waterclors. Like any other work of fine art, it should never be hung in the path of direct sunlight.


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