Artist captures her garden by painting on silk

The one-of-a-kind, hand-painted silks of Wilton artist Ronda Lanzi will be featured and sold at this year’s ARTique Show, beginning Thursday, Nov. 20.

Ms. Lanzi first got into silk painting while living in London in the early 2000s, when she decided to take a silk painting class at the Royal Horticultural Society’s Wisley Garden in Surrey, a county south of London.

“I had done watercolors for years and thought the silk painting colors were cool — I liked how the dyes spread,” she said. “It was like watercolors but even more intense.”

After her first silk painting class, Ms. Lanzi decided to take the same course again six months later.

“The next year, I was living back in the United States but traveled to the south of France for a weeklong course,” she said. “I’ve been doing silk painting ever since.”

In the studio in her Wilton home, Ms. Lanzi creates scarves, pillows, framed art, and neckties, using 100% silk and dyes imported from France.

“I put the silk on a frame so it’s flat and then I use watercolor brushes. I usually do a base design with a background color, then an outline of the subject matter using gutta, which is made from tree resin and stops the flow of dye so I get a hard edge,” said Ms. Lanzi, who is a member of Silk Painters International.

“I then paint in my subject matter using French dye, and once a piece is finished, I steam it for about three hours to set the dye, then I rinse and iron it.”

Ms. Lanzi said she tends to use natural motifs as inspiration for her silk painting patterns.

“I have a lot of pictures from different gardens, including my own, that I use. I paint flowers, autumn leaves and landscapes — anything that kind of catches my eye,” she said.

“I have done some scarves that have had sunflowers, a landscape of pine trees and one with yellow orchids on a blue and green background. I do a lot with saturated colors — I like the bright colors you can get with silk and the dyes.”

Ms. Lanzi said the amount of time it takes for her to finish one of her products, and the amount she charges for each piece, varies widely.

“It can take anywhere from a day to a month, and the lowest I’ve charged was around $3, but most are between $40 and $300,” she said. “Things that are framed cost more because of the cost of framing.”

Ms. Lanzi said her silk creations are “all one-of-a-kind, with original art.”

“They should really kind of be viewed as that,” she said. “There aren’t multiples of each. Each one is unique.”

Ms. Lanzi said she sells more scarves than any other item and will bring a mixture of about 50 items to the three-day ARTique Show.

The show is sponsored by the Connecticut Clay Artists and will take place at St. Stephen’s Church, 351 Main Street, in Ridgefield.

The show opens with a free wine and appetizer reception on Thursday, Nov. 20, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., and continues Friday, Nov. 21, and Saturday, Nov. 22, from 10 to 5.

To learn more about Ms. Lanzi’s silk creations, visit rondasgarden.com. For information on the ARTique Show, visit connecticutclayartists.org.