In this post, I will share a chronicle of the design process, as well as the techniques and tools that I employ to make scarves as Wearable Art Accessories. Here is a glimpse into the work that happens during the hours I dedicate to textile art. As I have mentioned before, I alternate between painting on silk and adding designs to the Geometric Botanicals collection of Wearable Art and my watercolor artwork for the Wheel within Wheel series.
I want to draw some inspiration from David Whyte as I set out to make this account of my work.
“Whatever the hour of the day, in our work we must do the right thing, in the right way, for the right end. The multilevel discipline involved in good work is the road to happiness and the pilgrimage to self-respect.” Crossing the Unknown Sea: A Voyage through the Hours of the Day (Chapter X)
One of the key steps for my work is to employ my own visual vocabulary to communicate through forms, textures and patterns a compositional arrangement that suits the media I am working upon as well as to create a work of art with a geometric botanical focus.
A second consideration is the key element of color – palette choices – It is worthwhile to see how color palettes distinguish and combine to bring about a compositional harmony and thru contrasts also balance.
The third concern is the selection of materials. Amongst the various silks available, my preference is for Chiffon and Satin. I use dyes and gutta and resists to paint on silk.
The fourth step is the actual process of creating a composition – it includes the tools of the trade and the process employed to make the design. I use a silk stretcher system, gutta and resists to apply the designs, silk screens and dyes.
Silk Painting, Stretcher and Gutta Resist Design Application, Painting with Dyes
Silk Screen with Dyes
Lastly, there is a steaming process that sets the dyes and fixes these on to the silk permanently. After the steaming of the silk, a rinsing and wash follows to remove the gutta and any excess dye from the fabric.
“Once the job is done, we encircle it, admire it – even if no one else can or will – clean up, and move on. Leaving the work to find its own place in the world is the mark of a good workman, a good workwoman.” Ibid.
The final step is quality control – it is the tying up of loose ends, adding those special last touches and ensuring that the work is complete and ready to be shared with others.
“We cultivate the discipline of care and attention to small, pivotal ways that have large, far-reaching effects on ourselves and others. Out of what is hidden we make the visible and then call it work; work that makes sense of the hours we are privileged to live.” Ibid.
I share this meditation to remind myself along with you that our work has value and meaning, even though at times the meaning truly is hidden from us. I hope especially to encourage fellow artists, but certainly aim to include others, who have found themselves challenged by “self-doubt” or mired by “so called failures.” Ibid.
“Thus we must build– Starting with the most natural territory of our own self-a work, an opus, into which something enters from all the elements of the Earth.” (Teilhard de Chardin, The Divine Millieu)
In solidarity, I extend my own reflection here on the value of persevering and remaining true to one’s work – an Opus, and then let it go and trust for it to find its own place in the Universe.
As a parting thought, I would also share another of the reflections I have discovered written by Teilhard de Chardin in Letters to Two Friends as an exhortation to cultivate our own true voices.
“For you, there is only one road that can lead to God and that is fidelity to remain constantly true to yourself, to what you feel is highest in you. The road will open before you as you go.”
For me, it continues to be primarily a visual language within the arts. In a future post, I will go over a similar overview of my work with Neckties.