Thursday, January 12, 2012

Wondrous, Lustrous Silk

A new show opened in our gallery on Monday.  The theme is Wondrous, Lustrous Silk.  The jurors always select three pieces to highlight.  One of those chosen was Janet Barnard's silk paper clutch purse.

Janet says, "I became acquainted with silk paper making when, in 2003, I attended a silk paper workshop at Creative Strands, taught by Robin Russo.  The process was simple and the resulting “paper” was more like heavy fabric, which I felt increased its uses over that of regular paper. 

"The process begins with silk top of noil, bombyx, or tussah, either natural or dyed. I dye my own top using the same method as silk fabric, thereby having access to an infinite number of shades.  The top is then pulled apart and layered on netting, first in one direction, then at a 90 degree angle. This gives the paper added strength and prevents sections from peeling away or splitting.  At this point, embellishments of any type may be added to the surface – string, glitter, leaves etc. A top layer of netting is added to keep everything in place. 

"I wet the top with a mixture of soapy water to break the surface tension, as the silk can be difficult to soak through. Using a paint brush, I saturate the silk with a mixture of Artist’s Medium and water, which binds the silk together.  I hang it to dry, peel off the netting, and it’s ready to go. I’ve used my paper to cover hand-made boxes, for jewelry, cards, sculptures, and now purses."

Here's a sculpture that Janet made using silk paper:

It includes cocoons as an embellishment. These are not dyed; this is their natural color.

Janet has also used silk paper for collages.  Here is an example, "Complete This Series."

Next week, we'll feature another artist who works in silk paper.

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