Silk

Lightness, strength, gloss…

The history of Silk

Following silk route from discovery to the present day

According to an ancient legend, Chinese princess Xi-LingShi was the first one in history to notice the cocoon. One day, while walking in the garden and sitting under a mulberry tree, a coccon fell down… right into her cup of tea! When she tried to take it out, she suddenly noticed a silk string.

In the begining, the secret of producing silk was only in China and soon became very important to the Chinese economy and remained a Chinese secret for thousands of years, partly due to the Great Wall of China. The Chinese traded precious silk fabric to the rest of the world via the Silk Road. China exported it to other Asian countries through the deserts of Central Asia and Japan. In 552 A.C. during two of their missions, two monks smuggled cocoons inside bamboo canes into Persia.

In the 12th century thanks to Marco Polo, silk appeared in Italy. And in the 15th century, it came to France. The city of Lyon was in that time the main center of silk production, and opened branch offices in England, Germany and Italy. Since that time, there are still small silk producers and painters peddling their goods in the streets of Lyon.

Last century was painful for silk for two reasons. The first of them was an illness of the silkworm, and the second was the discovery of new nylon synthetic threads. It looked like the end of this fabric. Resently we can see the global comeback of natural materials, and, of course, silk. Fabric painting was, and continues to be, very popular in the far East: Kimono in Japan, delicate Chinese paintings and beautiful batiks from Indonesia. And now, the Chinese would like to be leaders one in production again, so we will see how successful they are going to be.

Production of Silk

Silk was first made by the Chinese about 4,000 years ago. Silk thread is made from the cocoon of the silkworm moth (Bombyx mori), a small moth whose caterpillar eats the leaves of a mulberry tree. The white cocoon is dropped into boiling water, and silk thread is unwounded. Each cocoon yields about 500 to 1,200 yards of silk. Often you can see tiny marks in silk. They are characteristic for natural silk which that been reeled off the cocoon. This gives silk its unique beauty.

Kinds of Silk

Dozens of types of natural luxury…

Silk Ponge, silk Habotai, silk Schiffon, Crepe de chine, Crepe Georgette, Organza, Bourette or Cord for suits, clothes, vests… etc.

Silk is an investment in fashion, never outdated, gives us „ something special“ that makes people notice. For a special occasion or a special feeling only silk can make you consider the value of silk in contrast to synthetics. Silk is natural, it feels good on the skin. It is non-combustable, which makes it ideal for babies and childrens wear. In fact, silk is used in surgical dressing for burns because it can be absorbed into the human skin. Do you know why silk cools in summer and warms in winter? It’s because silk absorbs moisture much more than syntetic fibres. In winter it holds a thermal shell against the cold and in summer the evaporation of moisture from the silk makes it feel cool on the skin.

Colours for Silk painting

Raw silk is yellowish to brownish…

In past silk was painted by the colors which were found naturally…from flowers, nuts or leaves. Today we use colors which are made in a factory, and we have two different types of them. The colors fixed by ironing with a hot iron or colors fixed by steam in a microwave oven or in a steamer. Both of them are good. During workshop I often use colors which are fixed after painting by iron, Their brand names are Marabu, Javana or Pebeo. Or Jacquard for fixation by steam.

Gutta

Gutta is a glue-like substance that is used to mask the fabric to prevent the paint from soaking certain areas. The original gutta is colorless. Other colors are black, silver, gold and whatever colour you want.

Techniques

From the very begining silk has been colored and decorated. Some of the techniques are shibory, blending or mixing colors, salting, the serti technique or their combination.

  • Shibory or batik are the oldest and the most well known techniques.The term “Batik” is an Indonesian-Malay word. Batik has come to be used as a process of dyeing fabric by making use of a resist technique; covering areas with a dye-resistant substance to prevent them from absorbing colors. The technique is over a thousand years old and historical evidence demonstrates that it was in use in the early centuries AD in Indonesia, Africa, the Middle East and in several places in Asia. Despite the fact that batik may have originated elsewhere, most observers believe that batik came from Indonesia, particularly from Java. As I noted at the beginning, batik is now a general term. Because of popularity of batik designs, many are used in a wide variety of fabrics. Many of them are called batik although they were not made by the resist method. Most batik fabric is now decorated and tailored by a machine, but there is still a considerable market for hand-made batik.
  • Blending or mixing colors – you need to have your scarf lightly damped with water and then only apply paint with brush. When the dye is applied to silk it begins to spread. This may be the effect you want, however in most cases, most artists want a more precise control of their design… such as hard lines and distinct shapes.
  • Controlling the flow of the dye is called the serti (enclosing or fencing) technique. You make a design with a resist called gutta.The resistance penetrates the fabric, and when it’s dry, it acts as a barrier, stopping the flow of the dye and defining. You can paint a picture using gutta with your own fantasy or preparing a picture. You have to be very careful and ensure that each area of color is completely closed by the gutta, otherwise will the soluable colors spread out into surrounding areas. This technique spread to France and Europe from Russia. Czarazian family numbers patronized this art form in the early part of the last century.
  • Using salt can make miracles. This comes as the last step when scarf ´s paiting is being finished. Salt absorbs humidity of the color and makes white and an limited spots.

Silk Health Benefits

Silk reportedly prevents wrinkles…

Silk is the queen of naturally occuring thread. It is thin, light, and strong and protects us from rapidly changing temperature – cools us in summer, and warms us in winter. Silk is airy, eliminates water, and absorbs the sun’s rays.

Silk is a protein fibre. Silk protein is one of the only few pure proteins. It contains 18 amino acids, which are similar to those, in human skin. Various studies have shown that silk can help to maintain the metabolism on the surface membrane of the skin to keep the skin moist and smooth. Chinese doctors say that being dressed in silk helps reduce stress, and live a longer life, because of the prevention of blood clots and the regeneration of cells.

Chinese scientific study found that silk has good health benefits.

In addition, it has subsidiary cure for certain types of dermatitis. Silk fabric can also protect us from the harm caused by ultraviolet radiation from the sun.

Silk is a kind of ecological non-pollutant natural fibre. It has unique features that are irreplacable by other fibres and artificial fibres. It is relatively resistant to ageing. Yarn-dyed silk fabric has been made to all kinds of luxury garments, arts and crafts works, and tour souvenirs. No wonder silk has been acclaimed by customers as “Source of Beauty”. So, what are the benefits of wearing garments made from silk fabric? The following four aspects explain the benefits of wearing silk garments:

  • Silk is comfortable to wear.
  • Silk is hygroscopic and readily absorbs moisture.
  • Silk can absorb sound, dirt, and is heat-resistant.
  • Silk is ultraviolet radiation resistant.
Nahoru