Silk is luxurious and sensuous, prized for its versatility, comfort and wearability.
It is the strongest natural fibre. Pure protein.
The shimmering appearance comes from the fibres prism-like structure
which allows silk cloth to refract incoming light at different angles.
Silks brilliant absorbency makes it comfortable to wear in warm weather and while active.
Its low conductivity keeps warm air close to the skin during cold weather.
When most people think of silk they will be referring to that woven from the only fully domesticated silk moth Bombyx Mori.
It is thought to be a native of China, has been cultivated by the Chinese for about 5,000 years, and is no longer known in the wild.
The finest silk comes from the cocoons of this species.
When cloth is woven using continuous filaments it is described as Pure Silk, and when woven using shorter lengths it is usually referred to as spun silk or Mulberry silk.
Thai silk is produced from a tropical race of Bombyx Mori. Thai silk is generally not as strong as Chinese silk, nor as fine, but it takes colour brilliantly. About 7% of cocoons are spun by two caterpillars working together, interestingly always a male and a female.
The fibre around a double cocoon is so entangled that it cannot be unwound in the normal way, and gives rise to a thicker uneven yarn, the Duppion yarn, which when woven results in fabrics with interesting and irregular surface effects.
The story begins with naturally white silk fresh from the spinners and weavers of this exotic fibre. The silk is stretched tight to provide a canvas upon which to paint.
Design is achieved by drawing onto the silk with a substance called gutta. Gutta acts as a resist as it penetrates the silk and forms a barrier against dye flow.
Thus can colour and design be developed upon the surface of the silk.
After completion, the silk is rolled up and placed within a silk steamer which heat sets the dyes.
The silk is then washed and ironed before sewing or framing.