Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Working with Silk
I spent today dyeing some silk- I seem to have lost my touch dyeing silk, I think I need to thicken the dyes more so that they don't bleed all over and result in little variation.
I have been reading the story of Gilgamesh- the oldest written story, written in cuneiform on clay tablets.It is thought that the tablets date from about 2700BC . The text of Gilgamesh is available as a pdf or on the web.
I want to know more about the history of Syria before I go this time - and I really want to make time to look at the Museum in Damascus. Also I guess I am researching as I want to make some work that evokes someo of the things I encountered on my last visit for Sense of Place. So how does this tie in with silk dyeing? Syria was of course on the silk road from ancient times and was the place that saw much traversing between east and west and Africa. Gilgamesh went on a great journey to discover his own mortality. I am fascinated by the wonderful carved Sumerian reliefs- the patterning and the obviously richly decorated robes and garments worn by the Sumerians. In fact the last time I was at the British Museum I didn't get beyond the Near East rooms- they were stunning, and I couldn't get over the fineness of detail. So keeping in mind the neatness of the carving I set out to make a travel rug for Gilgamesh. It is turning out nothing like I imagined- for a start the colours are different- I thougt rich royal blue ( or lapis lazuli - a semi precious stone much used by the Sumerians and still much loved in Syria today) stitched with red- but the blue came out too purple and not wanting to waste the silk I did a slight mindshift to emerald green. I had also thought handstitching but it wasn't giving me the right texture so back to the machine. The texture that I have created so far is quite wonderful- it feels so readable under my hand.