I noticed this silk stuff is kind of big in jewelry right now. Most people are tying it in somewhere and most shops are carrying them. As a fan of fashion I like to keep up with the occasional trends if it fits MY taste. (I don't like someone telling ME what fashion is, I'm the maker of my OWN fashion style not some magazine. You think I want to dress like everyone else because TV says so?! Ugh, in the words of Eric Cartman from South Park Elementary.."WhatEVA, I do what I want!")
So I decided to look into this silk stuff and WOW can we say expensive?! I mean my goodness... most of them are hand dyed and because of the handmade ribbon and dying process that makes the pieces usually double the amount of a typical gemstone strand. Don't get me wrong I think the prices are accurate they're just not something I can personally afford. So I thought HOW CAN I DO THIS MYSELF? (As always)... So here's what I did...
I googled and found out you can buy the ribbons in white to be dyed..not bad, not bad, BUT before I spend the 5.99 it costs per 36" strand of ribbon I think I should practice first. Thanks to winning an online raffle for a Joanne Fabrics gift card for $50 I went online and bought all the tools necessary to dye some silk. Then I went out and purchased some silk fabric (which is not easy to find in this particular style of silk) that I cut into scraps to practice dying with.
Here's my mixed scraps:
Unfortunately I learned along the way (as I should) that you PrObAbLy want to keep your scraps on wax paper in a tray somewhere away from your dye area.. see you work with damp ribbon and apparently there were very minute traces of dye powders on my table that when I set my scraps down some pieces picked up the dye and became speckled like confetti cake. Teeny tiny mishaps but a lesson learned nonetheless.
I did NOT get a pic of all my solid colors; however, I did jump RIGHT into working with my scraps. I was SO excited so off I went and I created this:
I used a component from my friend Charlene at Black Mud Studios to create this piece with antiqued copper metals, dumorterite, Swarovski crystals and Czech glass rondelles. The scrap fit PERFECTLY. I was so TICKLED with the outcome!!
I also picked up a new technique. I'm not one for soldering (yet) so I was trying to figure out how I can seal my jump rings and stretched out split rings... as the professor said in Despicable Me when a new thought came into play... "Light Bulb" ... I saw my tiny 24G wire sitting here and thought..."AH-HA, I'll wrap the gaps to cover them up and wrap the split rings to reshape them after stretching them out" (It then occurred to me that this technique was in one of my component books and probably something people used ALL the time and I'm just now figuring it out. Late as usual!!)
I am always saying how I don't like that I don't have my own signature style yet stepping out of my box into something new like this piece just makes me so happy to not be conformed to a certain type of design. I like knowing I can appeal to different tastes because I'm not afraid to try something new. I guess that's what being a crafter is all about. I don't just make jewelry, I attempt to make other things as well. I love how some of it comes without even much of a thought. The ones that just happen to flow out of my mind and into my hands are the most rewarding of all. The ones I spend countless minutes/hours trying to complete also feel rewarding but discouraging at times too. Sometimes it seems like I'm just trying to make something happen instead of letting it just happen.
Once I laid this piece out to truly take it in I felt accomplished with a design but not with the ribbon. I used a thread zapper to singe the edges so that it would prevent the fabric from fraying too much and I was happy with the most of it but this silk dying thing left me so tickled yet frustrated because there's so much to still learn and do with it all. I'm not a very patient person but dying silk managed to work for me despite the time consuming process of my first attempt. I have many scraps left to play with of mixed colors and solid colors, some with and without the confetti heheh, but I look forward to what it brings to my creativity. I got a comment on this piece on Facebook, calling it a work of art and for the FIRST time I feel like my work truly was just that. I can't wait to share more workings with these scraps. I also can't wait to get more fabric to practice dying!!! Ahhh the joy of expanding your horizons!!! :)