MARGRIET SEINEN, who is a long time resident of Humboldt county, was born in the Netherlands and grew up there and in Canada. An interest in Art was always part of her life. After working various jobs including teaching grade school, she worked in fabric arts, making clothing, accessories and wall hangings. She made large soft fabric sculptures of vegetables, gnomes, flowers, life size Santas and others for department store displays and home decor. When she moved to Humboldt in 1981 she chanced upon some silk painting dyes and resist and thought to temporarily teach herself another medium. She fell in love with the process and the bright colors and has never looked back. Pillows, scarves, and clothing tumbled from the studio and were well received. When repetitive designs became tedious, Seinen decided to focus on more detailed challenging work, focusing on fine art silk paintings. Her interests are varied and include mermaids, fish, Nature divas, mandalas, flowers, portraits, still lifes, landscapes and scenery. She also teaches art classes including a 3 day mandala class.

Her work has been shown in galleries in The Netherlands, Vancouver, BC, Canada, Washington, Oregon,New York City, and California. Two of her pieces are published in “The best of Silk Painting ” by Janas and Tuckman 1994.


Silk painting is often placed in the category of “craft” or “fiber art ” with the emphasis on fabric rather than painting. Not to denigrate the true art that can happen in these mediums,in Margriet Seinen’s work painting is the point as in oil on canvas ( a fabric)The important distinction between silk painting and other mediums is that the paint used is an ink or dye which actually colors the silk itself and enhances the richness and luminosity of the colors. All in all it is a dance between sharp and soft edges, between a wet and “dry” brush , between a sweeping or delicate touch. The “paint” used is an ink or dye and is in liquid form.To control the flow of this dye I limit the amount of dye on my brush or use gutta serti, a latex based resist drawn in as a line that stops the flow of dye.

Silk painting is an ancient art dating back to 2600 BC in China

I use a 10 or 12 mummie (weight of silk) Chinese silk habotai as my canvas

When the painting is done it is wrapped in newsprint and steamed to set the color.  Then it is ironed and mounted on foam-core board to be framed

The longevity of an original painting on silk is similar to or better than a watercolor painting or pastel. There are Chinese silk paintings from 300 BC that are still intact. The most permanent silk dyes are still however subject to fading over time in bright light especially sunlight ,so paintings should be hung out of direct UV rays.Silk itself is more durable than other fabrics.Most of the old textiles preserved now in museums are silk. It is also naturally resistant to various molds and mildews.