Diana is originally from Lithuania. But came to the UK in 2011.
She was inspired by the oriental silk painters. Her teacher Ele Tamasauskiene. Fuelled her passion for this medium and loaned her a beautiful book that to this day still inspires her art and paintings.
Diana turned her passion into a beautiful business creating bespoke, hand painted silk scarves. She has since gone on to create bolero style wraps and tunics, tops, pictures, hanging wall scrolls, ties, curtains.
I visited Diana where she works and photographed her as she showed me what inspired her, how she is influenced by nature and how she turned this into pieces of art that can be worn.
There is a whole set of skills and techniques to preparing the silk ready to be painted. Stretching the material in frames that hold it rigid, this is accomplished with special pin grips called Frames pins or with delicate hooks that hold it in place but does no damage to the final piece.
The design for the piece is added as a delicate outline in pencil. Sometimes a piece is so detailed, or it is going on a big piece of silk, it needs to be drawn on to a paper template that she then traces over; other times she draws freehand. Her pencil marks are confident and sure, showing her innate skill for art; it's a pleasure to watch.
There are many styles to use with silk painting. Defining an edge for a design Diana uses water based gutta. Which when dried creates a barrier to stop the inks from bleeding into areas that she needs to be different.
Other ways for adding definition includes a clear barrier that once completes allows the original colour of the silk to come through, not unlike water colour painters using masking fluid.
One of the beautiful things to know about Diana is that she, like a traditional artist, mixes her own colours from raw minerals. They come in powered form and are mixed with hot water. The intensity of the colour can be intensified or diluted with the amount of water used.
The time I spent with Diana today makes me feel like we only scratched the surface of the possibilities her skills.
Each scarf takes on average 30 hours to make, some of the more detailed/larger pieces can take closer to 60 hours - it is a true labour of love and you know that she puts her heart and soul into her work.
I'm very excited to be photographing Diana and she shows me the different levels of her work, from the very basic, to the intermediate, to the fully detailed and intricate work that can go into one of her most requested designs. I look forward to sharing this journey with you throughout the year.
Price is obviously dependant on design, with each scarf being hand crafted it comes down to the design as well as the amount of detail and therefore time it takes to create. If you wish to find out more, including costs, please contact Diana directly through her website Designer Silks By Diana
Please be inspired by this photo story, and check out her website to see more of her designs and commissions.