A Story of The Silk Flower Girl Dress

Guest post by Renee

I’m full of Mummy-pride. My little preppie is taking her ‘Memory Book’ to school for Show and Tell.

It’s an exciting moment for her and for me, you see, we recently embarked on an art journey together. A journey I don’t think either of us will forget. We created something we thought was going to be impossible.

What did we do? We handpainted a silk dress together!

I admit I may have been crazy to launch into such an ambitious project with a five year old. But I’m one of those parents who believe experiences are far more important for my children then things. So when her daddy proposed (after 11 glorious year together), I just knew that I wanted to do something super special.

But why silk? To be honest, I have no idea why I choose silkpainting. In truth, I’d never painted on silk before, nor did I know anyone skilled in the art form, although I did have some experience in textile dye and print techniques, thanks to a fine arts degree.  I spent hours on google, researching, watching youtube video’s and acquiring knowledge on silkpainting, until I accepted that if I was to take it to the next step, I needed to do a workshop to see if my dream was even possible. That’s when I contacted Cecile Arndt from Creative Silk Painting.

Let me say one thing about Cecile, not once, from the moment that I first contacted her, did she question what I wanted to do.  She was an amazing instructor and after a two-day intensive workshop, I was armed with knowledge, equipment and a determination to ‘do this thing’.

Getting started. I have to admit, when I got home from the workshop, I had a creative block, I just had no idea were to start on a design concept for my daughters dress.  So I procrastinated, and procrastinated, and procrastinated some more. 

Then one day I just asked my daughter “What are your favourite things?”

Here was her response, “I love butterflies, flowers and rainbows Mummy, they are all pretty things. 

It was like a light bulb in my head, it really was her dress and she really did have the right to have creative freedom on what we painted. So I shoved aside the fact that ‘butterflies, flowers and rainbows’ wasn’t really going to go with my vintage themed wedding and instead embraced the uniqueness of what we were going to do and the journey we were going to have together.

And boy, was it fun! I couldn’t be more proud of my little girl. Not only did she embrace the project, she demonstrated a level of maturity to art that really took me by surprise. She was methodical, focused and enthusiastic. Admitting when she was tired and walking away, rather then making a mistake. She listened to instruction and even accepted, without tears, that we had to restart the project from scratch when I discovered a puncture hole in the middle of our fabric panel. That is acceptance on a level that even the most professional of artists struggle with.

Silk Painted Dress - flower girl

Silk Painted Dress - flower girl

Silk Painted Dress - flower girl

Silk Painted Dress - flower girl

Silk Painted Dress - flower girl

I’ll never forget the smile on her face the first time she tried on the dress after the silk had been steamed and my Mum had sewn the pattern together. She just radiated joy in what she had been so instrumental in creating.

We painted. We laughed.

On my wedding day, I really do think her dress stole the show. She looked beautiful.

Silk Painted Dress - flower girl

I’m overjoyed that she is taking a little picture ‘Memory Book’, along with her dress to share her creative journey with her class. She’s NEVER going to forget painting that dress together and that’s a journey worth remembering. 

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Renee is a self confessed fun maker. She admits to not being the world’s best gardener, but believes that getting kids into the garden is one of the most important experiences. It’s a way to teach children about the environment, food production, healthy living, science and sustainable practices in a fun and physical way. You can see more of Renee's fun gardening projects here: http://www.aboutthegarden.com.au/

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