Monday, May 21, 2007


To me, there is nothing so sensuous as silk...although the sensation of chocolate melting in one's mouth comes close. Silk delights both the eyes and the fingers..and other parts of the body too if you are wearing it.

I don't know if it is the exotic connotations, with its Asian origins, but silk conjures up images of luxury, pampering and indulgence.

Silk is also a delight to work with for the artist/craftsperson. It has a wonderful combination of crispness and softnes, and colours blend beautifully and brightly into its fibres.

For a long time I have loved working with silk fabric (I have a special fondness for dupion), threads and ribbons. Now I have discovered silk paper.

Three years ago, at the Crazypatch Retreat in Canberra, I bought some little bags of 'silk throwster's waste' from a lady who had a stall there on the Sunday morning. I did not know what I was going to do with it, I just knew that I loved the look and feel of it.

Now I have discovered silk paper, or silk 'fusion' as it is properly called, and I am putting it to good use. I have obtained some carded tussah silk fibres from the Thread Studio in Perth...and I am itching to obtain a greater vartiety of colours as the ideas for using the silk paper keep filling my thoughts when I should be thinking of more mundane things.
The 'paper' is easy to make. It is easier than felting with wool fibres, although the silk fibres must be bound together with a medium, because they do not have the little hooks that wool fibres have, enabling them to bond together. It only takes a few minutes to produce a "page", although you must then wait a few hours for it to dry.

The first thing I am going to make are some silk leaves, ready for some of the pages of the fabric book Round Robin I am involved in. The throwster's waste lends itself beautifully to this, with its crinkles and curls and texture. Some of them I will machine or hand embroider to make the veins and outlines...but some of the finer pieces will just be delicate backgrounds for embroideries.
This is such an exciting and versatile medium, and I am going to have such fun playing with it, and embellishing it with threads, exotic yarns, ribbons, beads and other delights. I am dreaming of trees and forests, of seascapes and rockpools, rivers, sunsets, flowing hair from spirit figures, mists, mountains, waterfalls, gardens ......all in silk!


Julia said...

Mary,sounds wonderful!
I'm still waiting for my silk tops to arrive from QLD,
but reading what you are planning on doing, I'm itching to get going on this.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with you Mary, silk is just a pure delight - I love it too in 'any' form. Your silk paper is so pretty, bright and gorgeous - look forwards to seeing your leaves and embroideries on them.

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