Hand painted wallhangings - Essaouira collection

Jane Keith Blue Medina 130cmx130cm. Hand painted sand washed spun silk.
'Blue Medina' 2001 wallhanging 130cm x 130cm Hand painted on sand washed spun silk.

This is a collection of silk hangings have been inspired by a research trip to ESSAOUIRA, a small coastal Medina town in MOROCCO. 

This series, initial commissioned to be part of The Scottish Gallery exhibit in  SOFA Chicago (USA) in 2002.  These initial early pieces then acted as a catalyst for further works and consequently exhibited in the UK, USA and resulted in further commission work. 

Developed from a series of primary source drawings, which were done on location in Essaouira, and backed up with inspiration from secondary source, and objects taken back from Morocco.

Jane Keith Essouira sketch panels for Essouira wallhangings

'sketch panels' these are small scaled down process led development 'sketches'  developed initially from drawings, act as prerequisites to the larger more resolved pieces.  They help determine, colours, composition and layering, which will then be further developed for the final larger pieces.


The ornamental adornment of the antique Moroccan rugs, and the beautiful long skinny ‘Berber’ woven strips often hung and displayed around Moroccan Interiors, was a great inspiration for this piece.  Jane has tried to emanate the repeating patterns by layering up acid dyes in a similar way, reapplying colour on colour and distressing the application each time using a combination of techniques. 

Jane Keith 'Berber stripes' 130cm x 130cm

 Using the highest quality silk, the wall hanging was entirely hand painted, printed and handmade to exacting standards.  It is completely unique.  The hanging was gradually built up with layers of reductive acid dye and illuminant acid dye which was applied by hand painting; mono-printing and silk screen printing techniques.  It has gone through a rigorous layering process of applying dye; fixation; and finishing approximately four or five times before it was finally complete.

Jane Keith Essouira wallhanging work in progress

In the studio, you can see the small sketch panels pinned up on the wall behind the print table.  These are small A3 sketch panels on silk which I do before working up a hanging to scale.  I treat them like sketchbook pages on silk, experimenting with colours, imagery, scale and composition.

CARE OF THE HANGINGS: The hangings are coloured using acid dyes which are sensitive to bright sunlight, (where possible) should be kept out of intense direct sunlight.  All hangings can be very carefully hand washed in cold water, with a mild detergent, ensuring there enough room for the fabric to move freely in plenty of water.  Keep changing the water regularly so the water always remains clear.  Gentle 600 spin speed, and line dry. Lightly press on the reverse of the hanging with a steam iron, (attention should be taken not to let the iron come in contact with this label).


Essaouira hand painted ties

I also produced a spin off collection of hand painted silk ties, using the colours and imagery researched from the Essaouira trip.  Again they focus on the vibrant graphic qualities of the horizon lines in the boat yards, with small details of imagery usually taken form tile patterns and birdcages.

Jane Keith hand painted essaouira ties - original collection

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