I recently attended Karen Selk’s Silken Kaleidoscope workshop, which was sponsored by the Peace Arch Weavers and Spinners. Karen is a wonderful weaver, frequent contributor to Handwoven Magazine, and founder and former owner of Treenway Silk.
In addition to the workshop, Karen was the speaker for the Peace Arch Weavers and Spinners Memorial Lecture. She talked and showed slides about her quest for silk as she traveled along the Silk Road in China, Asia, and India. Karen was willing and fascinated to visit indigenous weavers in their own communities throughout the Asian regions, learning all about silk, and developing friendships along the way. She also worked in partnership with manufacturers in the silk factories to research, develop and test exactly the silk yarns and fibres needed to supply the North American weavers and spinners with the silk materials we work with today.
Karen is a wonderful workshop facilitator and all-round interesting person. In the workshop we learned so many interesting facts about weaving with silk, as she regaled us with stories of her travels and adventures. Each participant wove eight samples on the looms, and we learned so much about working with different types of silk, how choice of weave structures affect the colour of the finished piece, and a whole lot about colour theory. We played with matt against shiny, thick against thin, and colour against colour as we wove our way through the samples shown below.
1. Analogous, moving from one neighboring colour to the next:
2. Monochromatic, using one colour with tints, shades, and tones
3. Split Complementary, combining the chosen colour (in this case, blue)and the two colours that surround the complement of the chosen colour (red-orange and yellow-orange)
5. Double Weave, contrasting thick and thin layers
6. Vibrating Colour and Weave
7. Medallions of silk, surrounded by natural cotton
8. 8-Harness colour and weave – pinwheels of silk and wool
Karen also had each person interpret a weave using an individual colour study that she assigned us. Mine was to use yellow-green in a trapezoid tetrad combination. So, that gave me yellow-green, orange, red, and blue-violet. Quite challenging! And here is my interpretation: