About Silk Wallhangings

How are they made?

The silk wallhangings are made using a combination of silk screening and hand painting therefore, each wall hanging is unique. Jane is one of only a few artists using this technique that she has developed over several years of experimentation with silk screening and silk painting.

How do I hang them?

All the silk wall hangings come ready to hang on your wall or free hanging in the stair case, foyer ……………..

The wall hangings may also be matted and framed.  If framing is your choice,  just find a local picture framing shop that has experience with textile mounting.

A little more detail…..
The wallhangings come with thin wooden laths which are inserted into invisible sleeves at the top and bottom of each wallhanging. The sleeves are actually part of the wallhanging, folded over towards the back and sewn by a very skilled seamstress using coloured threads to render the sleeve almost invisible and definitively aesthetically pleasing.

Hanging-Method-1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Sample of invisible sleeve, as view from the front side and at the top of a hanging.)

The top lath is used to suspend the hanging from and also as a connection point for the hanging wire (similar to a  conventional picture). The top lath can also be replaced by a fancy drapery rod, givess a unique look.

The bottom lath keeps the hanging spread out (similar to a set of drapes) and also acts as an invisible ballast (f.y.i., It looks the same as the top, but in another location 🙂

Hanging-Method-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Sample of invisible sleeve at the top of a hanging, The wooden lath is exposed for descriptive purposes.)

Hanging-Method-4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Sample of fancy drapery rod instead of wooden lath.)

 

2.) Having said all of that, we also have silk prints which are laminated to an acid free, foam core, backer board and then matted with acid free, picture mat material, (i.e., looks just like a picture you’d buy at a art gallery without the frame and glass).

 

3.) Finally, we do make (on special orders such as Limited Edition Silk Prints) an oak frame into which the silk wallhangings are suspended. This frame is a nice piece of furniture and, therefore cost a bit extra.

Hanging-Method-3
Sample of Custom Oak Frame, as view from the front side.

How do I care for them?

Silk is quite easy to care for, gently hand wash using mild
soap then iron on backside until dry, you may also have it dry cleaned.
Typically silk is quite durable, however DO NOT USE BLEACH as it may react with the dyes and damage your silk wallhanging.
We use fade resistant dyes however, as is the case with any artwork, avoid
hanging in direct sunlight to prevent fading.
Proper care will ensure many years of enjoyment.

What are they made of?

jas SILKS use only the highest quality  SILK TWILL (10
or 12 MOMIE for the wall hangings).

What colours are available?

Most of the silk wall hangings are created in a variety of different
colour schemes. Please specify the colour(s) scheme you prefer when you order.

How long does it take to make/deliver a wallhanging?

The wall hangings are each created by hand, therefore limited quantities are available on an annual basis.
Delivery time will vary depending on the current order volume and the if the item is in stock at the time of the order (applies to SERIES and LIMITED EDITION Silk Wallhangings) and the type of wallhanging ordered.

Typically our delivery time ranges from 2 to 6 weeks.

What types of silk wallhangings are available?

SERIES

Defining Characteristics:

SERIES – Silk Wall Hanging have DUPLICATED silk screened images (e.g.,
Puffins SERIES, Chickadees SERIES, Humpback Whales SERIES  etc.) however,
every wall hanging is then hand painted.  This means that although
the image is duplicated the colour scheme is totally unique for each wall
hanging.

Production Technique Utilized:

SERIES – Silk Wall Hangings have reproduced image outlines using a
Silk Screening  process and are then Hand Painted.

Production limit:

SERIES Silk Wall Hangings have no ultimate production limit set however,
annual production for them is limited by the artists (Jane Sasonow-White)
productive capability and patience.

Availability:

SERIES – Silk Wall Hangings are available for all order methods.

ONE OF A KIND

Defining Characteristics:

ONE OF A KIND – Silk Wall Hangings have totally unique images and designs
that are based upon the artist own inspiration and creative expression.
The images are NOT duplicated as in the SERIES Silk Wall Hangings.

Production Technique Utilized:

ONE OF A KIND – Silk Wall Hangings have images that are either silk
screened and/or created  by hand using traditional Gutta Serta techniques,
they are then Hand Painted.

Production limit:

ONE OF A KIND – Silk Wall Hangings are One of a series of  One
(i.e., 1/1).

Availability:

ONE OF A KIND – Silk Wall Hangings are available for all order methods.

LIMITED EDITION

Characteristics:

LIMITED EDITION – Silk Wall Hangings are similar to the SERIES and
ONE OF A KIND – Silk Wall Hangings however, there IS an ultimate production
limit set for each design.

Production Technique Utilized:

LIMITED EDITION -. Silk Wall Hangings have  images that are either
silk screened and/or created  by hand using traditional Gutta Serta
techniques, they are then Hand Painted.

Production limit:

LIMITED EDITION – Silk Wall Hangings are One of a series of  Two
or more (i.e., 1/X).

Availability:

CUSTOM

Defining Characteristics:

CUSTOM – Silk Wall Hangings are similar to the ONE OF A KIND – Silk
Wall Hangings however, they are designed and created for clients with specific
requirements regarding size, colours, design etc..

Production Technique Utilized:

CUSTOM – Silk Wall Hangings have  images that are either silk
screened and/or created  by hand using traditional Gutta Serta techniques,
they are then Hand Painted.

Production limit:

CUSTOM – Silk Wall Hangings are created on a commission basis.

Availability: CUSTOM– Silk Wall Hangings are available for all order methods.

NOTE:

If you have a particular theme or colour scheme in
mind Jane may apply your design ideas when she creates ONE OF A KIND Silk
Wall Hangings.

One note here though, the creation/delivery time-line on this arrangement
can range from soon to ?????. It depends on the time of the request and
our current production status.

How is silk made?

Chinese legend tells how silk was discovered almost 5,000 years ago by Xiling Shi, the wife of the semi-mythical emperor Huanghi. Walking in the garden, the empress plucked a cocoon from a mulberry tree. The cocoon fell by accident into her cup of tea and she watched as a strong white thread unraveled. However it was discovered, the potential for such a thread was first realized in China, where silk fabric was being produced by 3000 B.C. A silk industry had developed there by the 14thcentury B.C.

The Silk Road, a trade route which involved many cultures and stretched from Nagasaki, Japan in the east to Genoa, Italy in the west, opened by 100 B.C. As its name implies, the major product being traded from east to west was silk, the manufacture of which the Chinese kept a closely-guarded secret. Other peoples in central and western Asia learned how to spin and weave the threads, but only the Chinese could supply the raw materials.

This situation altered in the fifth century A.D., when a Chinese princess married the king of Khotan, an oasis north of the Plain of Tibet. When the princess left her native land and traveled west to her bridegroom, she carried, smuggled in her headdress, silkworm cocoons and the seeds of the mulberry tree on which they feed.

Silk spread even further west by similar ploys. In 552 A.D., Persian Christians visiting Khotan hid silkworm cocoons in their hollow walking sticks, subsequently delivering the means of silk cultivation to Justinian I of Byzantium. Though this story is the stuff of legends the fact remains that silk production began in the Byzantine Empire at that time. From the sixth to the thirteenth century, the silk brocades of Constantinople were highly sought.

Sericulture (the craft of producing silk and its cloth), gradually spread through western Asia and Europe. By the 15th century, France and Italy were the leading manufacturers of silk in Europe. Due to religious persecution, large groups of skilled Flemish and French weavers fled to England, and an industrial complex for silk weaving developed at Spitalfields in the 1620’s.

Silk has many properties which contribute to its reputation as a luxury fiber. It has a beautiful natural luster and will take dye readily. Almost as strong as cotton, it is more elastic than either cotton or linen. It will absorb up to one third of its own weight in water without feeling wet to the touch, and is a warm fabric despite its lightness. Silk has some negative attributes as well. It is easily harmed by sunlight and certain chemicals, including the salts in human perspiration. It is a poor conductor of electricity, which contributes to its reputation for “static cling” in dry atmospheric conditions.

Producing silk is a complex and skilled operation which has taken centuries to refine. The silkworm moth (Bombyx mori) has been domesticated for centuries, and the result is a creature which is bred and raised on farms, with wings too weak to fly and legs unable to crawl more than a foot or so. Silkworms are totally reliant on humans and thus a very labor-intensive prospect.

Although most silkworms raised for the industry are killed before they undergo metamorphosis and emerge as adults, the powdery white moths which do emerge from their cocoons have one primary function in the few weeks they remain alive: to produce the next generation of silkworms. In the wild, pheromones secreted by the female help guide the male to her; in captivity, the same odors exert the same fascination. After mating, the female lays 500 yellow eggs, each the size of the head of a pin, which are attached to any surface by the sticky substance accompanying them. Eggs can be stored in cool conditions by farmers until it is time to hatch them, then transferred to incubators.

The larvae which emerge from the eggs about 20 days later are an eighth of an inch long. Feeding is the primary activity of the larval stage, which lasts about 25 days. During this period, the worm molts four times, becoming much larger each time it sheds its skin. At the last instar (the period before or after molting), the larva will have grown to 10,000 times its hatching weight. The worm eats almost continuously, fed on the leaves of mulberry trees brought to them by the farmers. As the worm grows, its special silk glands grow as well, eventually comprising one quarter of the larva’s mass.

At the end of the fifth instar, the worm stops eating. That is the signal for the farmers to transfer larvae to specially-constructed frames which will provide support for the worm’s construction of its protective and valuable cocoon.

By this time, the worm’s two silk glands are fully developed, and it begins to exude silk from both at the same time, as well as a sticky substance called sericin to bind the two threads together. The silk is liquid in the worm’s body, but hardens into a thread in contact with the air as the larva moves its head in a characteristic figure eight pattern.

After constructing a support system composed of short threads, the worm begins spinning its cocoon of a single, continuous thread of silk over a mile long. Constructed from the outside in, the cocoon takes over two days to complete. The worm then enters its pupae stage, which, if allowed to continue, will result in an adult moth in about three weeks. Most of the insects, however, are killed in the pupae stage, as they damage the cocoon when they emerge as adults. Roasting the cocoons in a hot oven is a malodorous process which kills the animals without damaging the silk they have spun.

To transform cocoons into cloth, workers boil them to release the sticky sericin on the outside. Next, since an individual silk thread is too fine to handle, the threads of as many as ten cocoons are wound together onto a reel, sticking together to form one long, strong thread. From then on, the silk can be treated as any ordinary fiber, either woven or knitted with the possibility of a wide range of textures and quality.

Although Stuart monarchs encouraged the production of silk in Virginia, the specialized labor force required, limited diet of the silkworm (the larvae did not relish the native mulberry trees) and the development of tobacco as a more successful cash crop ensured sericulture’s failure in the colony. Today, most silk is produced in China, Japan or Korea, with small quantities harvested in Russia and other countries.

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Beverly, Robert. The History and Present State of Virginia.

Clark, Alice. Working Life of Women in the Seventeenth Century.

Davenport, Elsie G. Your Handspinning.

Diderot, Denis. A Diderot Pictorial Encyclopedia of Trades and Industry.

Fannin, Allen. Handspinning: Arts and Techniques.

Johnson, Sylvia A. Silkworms.

Kluger, Marilyn. Your Handspinning.

Meyer, Virginia M. and Dorman, John Frederick. Adventurers of Purse and Person.

Neil, Edward D. History of the Virginia Company of London.

Ross, Mabel. The Encyclopedia of Handspinning.

Reid, Struan. The Silk and Spice Routes: Inventions and Trade.

Rouse, Parke. Planters and Pioneers.