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Ursula Schroter's Gallery   -   Artist Biography




Ursula Schroter

graduated from the University of Essen, Germany with the subjects 'Physical Education' and 'Arts with special emphasis on textile creation' for teacher ship. She completed her teaching degree with a subsequent two year internship at various school types in Germany.

In 1987, Ursula made first experiences with painting on silk. What started as an experiment became a long-term hobby and profession. She completed seminars for Silk Painting at the University of Bochum, Germany and several classes for silk painting in the US.

Ursula has been creating fine art paintings as well as functional accessories like scarves, clothing, jewelry and home decorations or cards on various types of silk using a variety and combination of different techniques.

Since 1993 Ursula not only has been an instructor for silk painting giving classes and private lessons, but has also been presenting her work in exhibitions and arts and craft shows in various countries (Canada, California, Germany). She has sold her wearable art at retail stores and her silk paintings at art galleries.

Ursula has received several awards for her paintings at monthly shows and open shows at different galleries and the San Diego County Fair.

Ursula has been an instructor for silk painting classes at schools and Community Centers and is currently teaching silk painting at her home in Escondido. She also offers private lessons.

She loves to experiment and to try new ideas on silk because of her fascination with the interaction between dyes and sensuous silk fabric. Most of her inspirations are drawn from nature and her environment. Her paintings include abstracts, landscapes and flowers as well as animals.

Ursula is a member of the Carlsbad-Oceanside Art League, the Hidden Meadows Artisan Guild, San Dieguito Art Guild Off Track Gallery, a member of the San Diego Silk Guild and Silk Painters International (SPIN)



Painting on silk is a very old technique of dying fabric that can be traced back until 1000 before Christi.

Silk was introduced in Europe by traders traveling the silk road. Silk painting developed way back in countries like China, Japan and Vietnam. During the second half of the 19th century traditional silk painting techniques started in France. However, for artworks silk was used relatively late although Gauguin and Picasso became enthusiastic about silk as a canvas.

Traditional silk painting techniques include techniques, such as resist (e. g. wax or gutta), effect (e. g. salt, alcohol, sugar, etc.) and watercolor (wet on wet, wet on dry). The established techniques were improved and extended by new techniques developed by several widely known silk painters, e. g. glass plate technique by U. Patel-Missfeldt; stop-flow primer (spray starch/magic sizing) by M. Muelhause-Schaeffer and K. Sistek, water technique by C. Rupp and D. Jean-Baptiste, just to name a few.

Historically, silk painting has been used mainly for clothes. However, today there exists a large variety of applications besides clothes, like pictures, pillowcases, jewelry, cards, etc.

Silk can be used as canvas. The brilliance of the color using silk dyes on luxurious silk is amazing. Every time a new painting is started it is breathtaking when the brush touches the silk and the dyes begin to flow. Typically one uses silk dyes or silk paints.

For this, the silk has to be tightened to a frame and is then painted using various techniques. Depending on the kind of technique just for the painting process it can take several hours for a bigger silk sheet.

When a painting created with steam-fixing dyes is finished the silk sheets are prepared for steam fixation by rolling them between two layers of paper. The silk is placed in a special steamer and “cooks” (stays in the steam) for about 3 to 8 hours depending on the amount of silk in the steamer. The steaming process not only sets the dye permanently and bonds it with the silk, but also develops the color to bring out all its brightness and intensity.

Then, the silk has to “breeze” for a couple of days. Subsequently, every piece is hand washed and rinsed under clear water to remove any excess dye. After ironing dry the silk has its natural softness and luster.

For my paintings I follow the procedure described above. Each single piece I create is hand painted on different kinds of silk, mostly with steam-fixing french dyes and sometimes with silk paints. Also, I like combining traditional techniques as well as extended new techniques and trying out new ideas, such as gold effect.

A silk painting can be displayed on the wall either as a loose wall hanging or as a framed painting that is stretched to a backing or can be mounted to a canvas.

After the long process of preparing, painting, steam setting and after-treatment a unique piece of art has been created.


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