A Silver Lining

My online shop has been up and running for over six years now and about three times a year I place an order for plain silk blanks. I use three different suppliers depending on what type of silk I require. All three companies offer plain scarves with hand rolled hems ready for dyeing. The two European suppliers, one in Belgium and the other in Spain, list my favourite silk twill including the classical 90 x 90 cm squares. The third company I use is based in the United States and they sell excellent quality flat crepe pieces.

Earlier this year I ordered 12 neckerchief sized squares and for only the second time in my years of painting silk I noticed one of the scarves had a fault in the weave.

Now you’ve probably guessed I do own one or two scarves that I have painted myself – actually most of mine are over 30 years old and date from the time when I was a fashion/textile student. Amongst my own collection the only red I have is a full 90 x 90 that was originally a peachy pink. It had been a gift to my mother and was returned to me on her death. She was of the generation that often wore their scarves pinned with a brooch and when I came to overpaint the peach with red (peach is not a colour for me) I noticed several of the pin pricks had become small holes. It was good to experiment extravagantly and boldly with red dyes, but I still didn’t have a wearable red scarf.

As you can now see, a faulty blank has given me the opportunity to get the red dye out again and go for it big time. The design is looser and has more swirls than my usual style with plenty of red and a dash of very bright fuchsia. Naturally, this neckerchief with a fault isn’t for sale (mmm, fortunately, it seems it’s fine for me though!).

But, as you may have already gathered, I do like this combination. And indeed, so much so I have painted another similar version on pristine silk. It, too, is the neckerchief size. A size I think works well when you feel like some bright colour, but not too much. An accent.

And, here’s the finished piece now available on my shop.

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Author: agnesashe

Artisan, blogger and passionate East Anglian working from home.

13 thoughts on “A Silver Lining”

    1. Thank you. I am all for embracing imperfections. My first boss used to say ‘Near enough is good enough’. Hopefully, now with pressure on global resources that will become popular again.

      1. Yes. Extending the life of an object or garment, or reworking things into something else useful, it is meaningful for our planet as well as good for remembering that nothing lasts forever in its original state, but can be revived or renewed and have another life (I feel I’m expressing this badly). I mean to say, it’s respectful and empowering at the same time to renovate things.

      2. Oh I absolutely understand what you are saying and agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment. In the past it was normal to reuse and repurpose, but at some point it became all about having ‘new’. Hopefully, those wasteful decades will turn out to be a blip and we will learn again how to stretch our resources and be proud and, like you say, empowered by our ingenuity.

  1. I’m glad you took the faulty product in your stride and didn’t expend too much energy with the seller. Wonderful how you turned that negative around into a very beautiful positive, and then leveraged the design into a saleable piece. It really gave you the freedom to express yourself. I love it.

    1. Yes, it was strange because I knew it would only be for me it did definitely change my approach. It is now my favourite scarf both the small size and, of course, all that red! You know I didn’t even consider contacting the seller as it was only one and every now and then faulty items slip through the quality control net. It always takes time and energy to complain, doesn’t it, and that has to be taken into consideration. I would probably have taken action if more than a couple were faulty. I have to pick my battles. Earlier this year I ordered those dahlias (just about visible in the background of one of the photos) as tubers. When they arrived they were all extremely withered and very poor quality and they weren’t cheap. I photographed each pack and emailed the supplier. There was no quibbling, they were apologetic and they sent me the whole order again. The second delivery was vastly superior and all have grown and bloomed.

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