When you paint on silk – as soon as the paint hits the fabric, it has to be perfect – there’s no room for error.
I have painted more than 300 ties, but I have never painted the same tie twice. Every one is unique, one-of-a-kind.
It began when I wanted to make a tie for myself. When I get an idea like that, I start experimenting until I can create exactly what I want. Once I started wearing my tie people started asking me to make a tie for them. Everyone had their own ideas to give me inspiration.
I start with a plain black silk tie and a selection of fabric paints in metallic colors. Even though the main part of the design is on the front where it will show from the knot down, I fill in the entire tie with the design. You may not see the part of the tie that is under the collar, but you will know that the artwork is there.
I will do research on the images that I want to incorporate but I always add my own original touch to every part of the design. Sometimes I draw out the details in advance, especially when I’m creating something new I’ve never done before. But mostly I just paint directly on the tie.
Most Masonic-style ties include fraternal symbols such as the square and compass, the rose croix, a specific degree, lodge numbers, and the like. People ask for personal symbols that represent their hobbies, professions, interests. I have painted ties with an eagle, a baseball, a mallard duck, drums, a mandolin, an old-time 1800’s locomotive, mountains, pipefitting tools, a walleye – whatever people want. Many customers include their initials or monogram.
Once the larger parts of the tie are painted, I fill in the tie with all kinds of patterns -- zig zags, flames, interlocking shapes, stars, curves, spirals, tribal, and grid work. I just paint wherever my imagination leads me. That is what makes the final result so unique.
Like any original work of art, each tie is signed and numbered before it is delivered to its new owner.