Thursday, January 24, 2013

Wabi Sabi Silk Flags

I found a big bundle of flag bunting in a garage sale many years ago. I have no idea of its purpose but that's another story.

My story is that I fell in love with the 12 very fragile silk flags that were scattered randomly along the lengths of the crudely sewn tape.


I lovingly patched and hand sewed the most fragile and torn sections and sewed them together to make a wall 'banner'. The silk was super difficult to work with as the machine stitching was at times tearing the fabric, as was ironing the flags. The dyes are very unstable and were coming off on the iron, onto other fabrics and at times even onto my damp hands. 
The finished work is nearly a metre square.
The title came to me as I was working.....
'The Fragility of Multiculturalism'





I took great pleasure in creating this piece - there is something about silk...the noble little worms giving up their lives to create beautiful, fine, lustrous thread which is woven into exquisite fabric for our pleasure.

It seems appropriate to include some photos of the processes - taken in one of the old silk factories which we visited in Suzhou, China, in 2011.


Boiling the cocoons to kill the lava and to remove the sericin.
Finding the end of the thread.
  Woven onto spools.


 Making silk caps,
into quilt filling.
 Weaving.

 A big Thank you to all those millions of grubs who gave up their chances of flying free in order to make the silk fabric that I love to wear.












15 comments:

  1. merci beaucoup pour ce reportage.. suivi avec grand intérêt.. j'ai travaillé sur soie un peu plus de 20 ans...en France dans les ancienne demeures troglodytes on élève encore aujourd'hui le ver à soie , le bombyx, qui mange les feuilles du murier..
    amitiés elf

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    1. TRANSLATION - thank you very much for this report .. followed with great interest .. I worked on a little silk for over 20 years ... in France in the ancient troglodyte dwellings are raised today the silkworm, the gypsy, which eats the leaves of the mulberry tree ..
      friendships elf

      Thanks Elfi - I will do some research on the troglodyte dwellings - fascinating

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  2. Well titled and lovingly repaired. Your photos from China are great Noela.

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    1. Hi Jo, It's nice to share the China photos in context.

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  3. Oh WOW! I love the flags, delicious Noela, and wow o wow, to see the spinning factory, that would have been really interesting. A big thank you to the grubs :-)

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    1. Hi Kim, delicious is how I feel about the silk as well X

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  4. Noela - such a wonderful story from start to finish!! Your work plus the worms - very special - silk is amazing so is your work!! Cheers!!

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  5. Thanks Wyn, gotta love those worms

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  6. You've done a nice job with a difficult fabric, Noela.

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    1. Thanks Dinah, sure was tricky, but I learnt a lot - hahahah

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  7. Noela have you thought the bunting that was bought at a garage sale, might just be signal flags that are hung from the rigging on a yacht....just a thought. Perfect title for the flags you have sewn together so beautifully.

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    1. Hi Sandra, that's what they reminded of but the other 'satin' flags are pretty random - not representing anything much - I have a feeling maybe an RSL was involved??

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  8. N- looks like another UFO - cleaning out the cupboards and finding stored treasures. B

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    1. Oh, yes indeed - much cleaning up and throwing out to be done in the studio. Can I add housework to the UFU list? - wash windows, wash floors, clean oven....................????

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  9. those flags are beautiful, and so is what you did with them. Have you come upon a way to stabilize/preserve them? It would be nice to keep them for a while, at least...

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