It is important to know the properties of the type of fibre you are getting, because the type of fibre has some bearing on the method you will use to create the paper.
There are nine types of silk fibre which can be purchased;
- Tussah silk tops
- Mulberry silk tops
- collected fibres
- Silk hankies
- Silk rods
- Cocoon strippings
- throwster's waste
- Sericin fibre
Here are some pictures and description of these fibres to help you
Tussah silk tops are made by silkworms that are not fed on mulberry leaves. They are slightly cheaper than mulberry tops and have slightly less sheen. This might be an advantage if you want a more matte appearance to your paper. Because these fibres have been processed, there is little sericin left on the fibres and they will not bond together tightly on their own.
The other method, used in manufacturing, where the cocoons are reeled, or wound as single threads, involves smothering and killing the worms so they do not break the threads as they emerge. I don't think I could purchase these cocoons.
Cocoons are often used just as they are for dimensional work by fibre artists. They can be processed into hankies and fibres, however, the availability of these other more useful forms makes this process a bit tedious and they are such a beautiful shape and texture as they are.
Silk rods are a very useful, sericin rich fibre. They can be used in all methods to make silk paper, but can also be used on their own to make dimensional work in fibre art. They are the fibres which stick to the rods of the machinery during processing and are cut off frequently as the silk is processed.
I hope this extended introduction has given you the information you need to make some silk paper.
The next post will start on the actual making, finally!
Below is a list of the references I have used so far in this series.
If I find any more good ones I will add them to the following posts. I will also try and give you an idea of which references have which techniques. (I will use the numbers below, then I'll know who hasn't read these intros, LOL)
- Rollerson, Dale. (2011) Silk Paper Making. Thread Studio leaflet. www.threadstudio.com
- Lawrence, Sarah. (2008) Silk Paper. North Light Books.
- Hedley, Gwen (2010) Drawn to Stitch. Interweave.
- Grey, Maggie and Hall, Isobel (2010) Mixed Media new Studio Techniques. D4Daisy books.
- Holmes, Val (2006) Creative recycling in embroidery. Batsford.
- Beck, Jean Raffer. Quilting Arts. 25. pg. 62-68 Textural Surfaces for Stitch.
- Hughes, Angie (2007) Quilting Arts. 29. pg. 50-57. Textural Book Wraps.
- Clasper, Carol. (2007) Silk Paper Making Tutorial. Downloaded from; http://carolclasper.blogspot.com/2007/09/silk-paper-making-tutorial.html
- e-How. How to make silk paper. Downloaded from http://www.ehow.com/how_2321852_make-silk-paper.html
- Spiral Dyed Downunder (2010) Silk Paper Instructions. http://spiraldyeddownunder.blogspot.com/2010/07/silk-paper-instructions.html
- Meinke, Debra Olbrantz. Silk Paper Making Instructions. http://www.meinketoy.com/silk_paper_inst.htm
- Trenway silks The Inside out of Silk Fusion. http://www.treenwaysilks.com/inout_fusion.html
- Ten Two Studios. (2005) Making Silk Paper. http://gomakesomething.com/ht/papermaking/silk-paper/
- e-ssortment Learn the origins of silk, and how to make silk paper.
- McCaffery, Bonnie. Fantasy fabric. Vidcast 02. http://bonniemccaffery.com/VC002.wmv
- Miller, Vicki. (2011) Organza, collage and entrapping. http://victoriaedm1.blogspot.com/2011/05/i-have-been-hard-at-work-on-renovations.html
- Welsh, Vicki. (2010) Technique of the month – Using bits and pieces. http://threecreativestudios.com/freeprojects/tom/bitsnpieces_TOM.pdf