Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Reeling In Silk

The workshop was entitled simply, silk papermaking, but I had great expectations because the instructor is talented both as an artist and as a teacher www.joannebkaar.com. I love the feel of silk and looked forward to working with it. This table heaped with silk greeted me as I walked into the Castle Hill heritage center where the workshop was held.

All 7 of us grabbed a cuppa and sat down to watch a short introduction to silk. Silk worm cocoons look like tightly wrapped cobwebs. Each contains about a kilometre of very fine silk thread. Silk moths--a pale white, unprepossesing in contrast to the beauty they create, are born without a moth. They mate, lay their eggs and die without ever eating. The fruits of their labor--the offpsring-- may be destroyed to get at the silk while still a continuous thread, or silk makers may patiently wait for the original occupant to emerge before unreeling the silk from the cocoon.

We combined layers of the silk and wrapped our creations in a kind of latter-day cocoon--net curtains in which we soaked the silk fibers with cellulose, wallpaper paste without the fungicide, to create a sturdy, flexible paper. Once dried--in the photo below the day's work is shown lying on the floor waiting to be taken home and dried on the line---the material is flexible, sturdy, can be ironed and retains the bright colours of the silk as well as the sheen.

I unwrapped the first of my pieces today and was mostly pleased with the result. I already know how I would do things differently and have even bigger ideas for my next projects.
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At 12:00 AM, Anonymous ampiggy said...

oooh, sounds delicious. I'd really like to try this. I made paper once upon a time and it was rather rough but what fun it was. I still have the paraphernalia.

At 8:16 AM, Blogger landgirl said...

Cool thing is we can do this without too much paraphernalia. This Sunday will be pulp papermaking--more conventional tho Joanne uses lots of offbeat things like banana skins.

At 10:38 PM, Blogger Hayden said...

wow, this sounds so cool! I'd love to play with silk!


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