New Designer Silk Scarves Develop
by Jill Booth
(Port Douglas, North Queensland)
On New Year’s Day I was collecting seaweed from the beach for my garden (it acts as an ‘all in one’ mulch and fertilizer). I had the whole beach to myself as I scanned the high-tide mark for juicy pieces of seaweed to pick up and hang in the wind to dry.
Crash! Suddenly, there I was, lying on the sand, a huge tear in my shin from where a submerged old tree branch had ripped off a lump of skin. Blood poured from the gash as I hobbled home to inspect the damage. Not such an auspicious start to 2013!
I’m telling you this to explain that all planned engagements, such as playing with grandchildren, picking mangoes and lunching with friends had to be cancelled as I sat at home, the injured leg raised on a stool, my only outings being visits to the kind nurses and doctors at the local medical centre. January was very hot so the air-con ran almost non-stop. Sounds comfortable enough, though, doesn’t it?
What this enforced confinement meant was that, at last, I had a good block of time to work on some new silk scarf designs, which had been fermenting in my head for quite a while.
Friends and clients have been asking me for a choice of colours for the scarves, the current ones being rather bright ginger flower designs in reds, pinks, yellows and greens – beautiful, but where were the mauves, purples and blues?
So how would this scarf design process work? First of all I had to decide on a subject. I had heaps of drawings of flowers as well as photos of flowers from my garden and, after all, they were all around me so all I had to do if I wanted to check colours, shapes or forms, was to go outside.
I also toyed with the idea of an ocean series, which would invite the use of soft blues and greens, always fashionable. In the end I decided on tropical flowers as the subject and, rather ambitiously, planned to have twelve scarf designs, which would feature various color-ways, but which would look good together if they were combined as a wrap, large scarf or sarong. The ocean series could follow at some time in the future (but not dependent on my sustaining an injury – I am so careful where I put my feet these days!).
I thought that I would do something a bit different this time and have some fun in the process. My computer is chock-full of photos of my paintings, drawings and photographs so I printed those of flowers, or the nearby jungle, that seemed as if they would look good together. Some were photos of abstract textile designs or oil paintings, which I thought might add textural interest.
Then the play began as scissors chopped away, color sorting began and collage ideas emerged. This process helped me to plan placement of colours and shapes to achieve a harmonious, but interesting, balance.
Once the collage was glued in place the oil paints took over, first the opaque colors, covering, changing and modifying. Transparent colours followed to enrich and give depth. Finally it was done, scanned and posted to my clever printers in Sydney for suggestions and quotes.
Want a preview? OK, I shall build that page right now!