PREVIEW: How to Create Silk Paper – s06e04 – TEST

September 22, 2020
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Using silk fibers in China to create paper on which to record official letters and documents dates back at least to the second century BC. Because it was so expensive to make, a reclaiming method of using old, pulped silk rags was developed. The pulp was spread onto a frame to dry and those results paved the way for what we now call Silk Paper. Today’s process is certainly simpler yet it still produces a luxe sheet that may be painted or stitched, shaped into 3-D objects, and so much more. It’s fascinating and fun!

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Have you experienced a childhood memory that seems to resurface in a new reincarnation later in your life? It’s funny, but SILK is like that for me.

My nuclear family lived in a house on a few acres of land where I grew into a wonderful friendship with a little girl who lived behind us. It turned out that my father had sold her dad the lot on which they built their home. To reach their house, they had a very long driveway called The Shady Lane. (Isn’t it funny to revisit the details that are decades old? Sometimes I stumble over a word that I use every single day, but I can always recall the name of the neighbor’s driveway!)

When I was playing at my friend’s house, her mother never seemed to cook like my mom did. I don’t remember ever eating a meal there but she always loved to come home with me for a meal. Although I have no memory of the smell of home cooking at their house, there was always a distinctly odd aroma. Years later I learned that both of her parents were entomologists - a word I loved to think about and mull over in my little girl's mind.

One day when playing with my friend, we went into a room that used to be a back porch. It was filled with strange containers that I discovered were the source of the unusual smell. I asked my friend what was inside the containers. Nonchalantly she replied, “Silk worms.”

Now, I had no idea what a silk worm was nor why anyone should have them, yet there seemed to be tons of them in that back porch room! It didn’t smell awful, just like nothing I recognized. To this day I don’t know if the smell was actually the worms or the leaves they were fed or the resulting moths and cocoons. I don’t know why they even had these creatures. Perhaps it had to do with a project for the University where they taught classes. Who knows?!

Fast forward many years. I worked in a fabric store where we sold many types of fine fabric including several kinds of silk. I learned about chiffon, charmeuse, gabardine, broadcloth, crepe de chine, and silk dupioni, which was my favorite. You might find it hard to believe but I still have scraps of those beautiful silks in my fabric stash! 😉 Once a “collector” always a “collector”!

After developing an appreciation for the silks that I carefully cut for our customers, I could tell them apart with only a quick touch. There’s just nothing like silk! I was spoiled forever!

Fast forward quite a few more years and imagine my delight when I realized that I could purchase silk fibers to use in my creative art adventures. In this class we will explore a fun process of transforming beautiful silk rovings into a type of paper that has properties of both fabric and paper along with a few memories of a little girl’s curiosity about silk worms growing in a back porch room.

Be sure to download your class notes and I’ll meet you in class.

Remember to Get Creative today! It’s Easy!


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Barb Owen

About the Author

Barb Owen

Barb is the founder of How to Get Creative, author of "Normal Doesn't Live Here Anymore", a specialist at playing in the art studio and has an unhealthy addiction to smiles. ;-)

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