Silk artist Kay Satherley paints in vibrant dyes onto Habotai silk in a rustic shed that’s cold in winter and hot in summer, but the ideal environment for her creative process. Inspired by her garden and natural surroundings north of Auckland, Kay has hand painted and sold well over a thousand pieces, each one unique.
What do you make?
I hand paint on silk. I paint scarves, wall hangings, cushions, kimonos and silk paintings which are stapled onto canvas blocks. Also when I have time I still occasionally get to my other painting on canvas.
How did you get into your craft?
My sister who paints silk in Switzerland kept saying I should paint on silk as I was a struggling artist. She thought it may be more easy for me to sell my work, so I eventually got the hint! And it worked.
Do you have formal training or qualifications in your craft?
I specialised in art at teachers training college and studied under New Zealand artist Louise Henderson for three years.
Your favourite materials, tools and processes?
Materials: Habotai silk and silk satin. I love the silk now as it is always presenting surprises as you work, there is that bit of freedom involved as the dyes are affected by different temperatures and humidity. Once I realised this after some disasters, I could start to make it work to my advantage.
Tools: soft brushes that hold the dye well and gold and silver gutta to give the works a zing.
Is there a philosophy behind your work?
Beauty in nature is always uplifting and expressing it in my paintings brings me joy.
Describe your workspace:
A large rustic shed, fairly cold in winter but that actually works better with the dyes becoming enriched on the silk. It isn’t a precious space so the fact that I make messes doesn’t matter!
Five words that describe your mind:
Inquisitive, enquiring, dreaming, positiveness and optimism.
What inspires you?
Nature, my garden and the beach all give me a motivational lift.
Your favourite feedback from a customer:
It’s hard to choose but here are a couple of lovely ones:
“When I saw these beautifully designed scarves I instantly thought of my mother-in-law and aunt who are wonderful women who deserve the best. These scarves and what they depict are like them – taonga, beautiful and rare. I have recommended these to my friends who appreciate great artistry from a person who is gifted, designs from the heart and with passion. Thanks, Robyn.”
“The scarf has arrived and is just beautiful thank you. I have treated myself to this one and plan to wear it at an international convention in Rotorua next week which I am part of the planning committee for. We have a cultural welcome night so I will wear it as a feature with my black dress and ponamu.
They would of course make beautiful gifts and I will no doubt be back for another some time soon. Thanks, Helen.”
Do you have any pets?
Two cats, Riella the ragdoll/Siamese and Shiraz the Tonkinese; two Pekin ducks, Pong and Sierra; two pilgrim geese, Little Tacker and Sabby; two white fantail pigeons, Gin and Fizz and six chooks… you did ask!
What are you currently listening to? The Concert Programme while I paint.
What are you reading now? American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld.
Who is your hero/heroine? My Mum and Dad, and my husband Michael.
A favourite quote:
If you don’t live life on the edge you are taking up too much space.
What would your advice be for those starting out in a crafty business?
Be patient, it may take time but if you are passionate it will happen.
What was the last handmade item you bought and what attracted you to it?
A little flax bag from the islands with a bright island fabric print on the front, a colourful flower design.
What’s in store for 2015?
Going like the clappers from now until Xmas painting silk and maintaining our display garden and shop.
Love Kay’s creations? Check out more of her beautiful silk painting in her Felt shop.
Kay has generously offered a prize of this beautiful hand painted silk square (pictured above) valued at $39, for one lucky Felt blog reader. To win this lovely prize, leave a comment telling us what you like about her story and art. The draw will be made on Friday 9 October and is open to New Zealand residents only.