Painting Flowers - Mandy Southan
Colour Mixing - Mandy Southan
Decorative Effects - Leonard Thompson
Dyeing Devores - Caroline Munns
Silk Choker Necklace - Linda Graves
Wax Melting Pots - Jill Kennedy
Gutta Pro-liners - Isabella Whitworth
Javana Air Pen - Isabella Whitworth
Microwave Dyeing - Vera Dreyfuss
Painting Borders - Tessa Barnes
Ten Top Tips - Jill Kennedy
Transferring designs - Anon
Free-style landscapes - Marianne Nash
Painted Silk Poppy - Mandy Southan
Magic Lettering - Leonard Thompson
Painted Lilies - Mandy Southan
The Silk Road - Mandy Southan
Aspects of Design - Leonard Thompson
Selling your work - Ian Bowers
Japan: Textiles - Mandy Southan


GUTTA PRO-LINERS - Isabella Whitworth

Old Stumpies - and the New Pro-Liner

Two applicator types compared.
The separate cap is fitted to the spout top after removing the nozzle.


A year or so back I bought some gutta Pro-Liners to try out. They were much longer than the stumpy little applicators I had always used and the barrel plastic was softer. As it happened, I was running courses at the time and two students attending had mobility problems. One had suffered a severe arm injury and was learning to use her 'other' hand. The other, an elderly lady, was arthritic and had very little strength in her wrist. Both of them found the stumpy applicators hard to manage, partly because the plastic was so hard. The arthritic student declared sadly that she couldn't carry on working with hers.

Top picture: Note lower hand-angle with the Proliner, a less clenched hand and straighter thumb

Second picture: Stumpy applicator

In the way things sometimes 'click', I remembered the Pro-Liners awaiting their sea-trials and loaded them with some gutta. Instant improvement for both students! I observed that it wasn't just the softer plastic that helped but also the position of the hand relative to the silk when holding a longer-barrelled, softer applicator. It looked less stressful and allowed more relaxed movement.

Everyone uses an applicator in their own way, of course, and I wasn't sure they'd work for me. I thought I'd try them myself in my normal studio work as I wanted to avoid, if possible, any problems with my hand after 17 years of silk-painting. I welcomed anything which reduced hand tension. Now I use them full time and I have found them easier to clean too, because there are no right-angles in the barrels. The 'old stumpies' have been pensioned off as applicators for occasional-use coloured guttas.

Incidentally, painters with hand / wrist problems might also consider an air-pen, something I have never tried. Do write in to the Journal if you have used one of these, and tell us how it works for you and your painting.

Isabella Whitworth

Gutta Pro-Liners are inexpensive and obtainable from George Weil & Fibrecrafts (
They call them 'Squeezy Gutta Bottles' in their catalogue. You buy them separately from the nozzles which you may need to replace to fit, depending on your current design.