Silk art comes to Valley


H.B. Lawson

Linda Perue, center left, gives her students some instruction on their silk scarves while Pam Kraft, center right, helps to mix some of the paints for her students' silk paintings.

The Platte Valley got a dose of culture when Linda Perue held a silk scarf art class at the Saratoga Library and Pam Kraft held a class on silk painting at the Red Wagon in Encampment.

Perue showed her students how to trace and color patterns on white silk scarves that, according to Perue, "can make very nice, personal and inexpensive gifts."

Pam Kraft's silk painting class was a little more involved. Kraft feels silk painting is more of a fine art than a craft and had her students first paint a pear to teach them basic composition before they moved on to painting on silk.

According to Kraft, the story of how silk was discovered goes back to ancient China when "The wife of the Yellow Emperor was sitting beneath a mulberry tree and a cocoon from a silk worm fell into her cup of tea and it sat in that hot tea. Finally, she pulled it out with her chopsticks and the silk stretched into strands and she realized that it was very strong," said Kraft.

Kraft's students first sketched their individual designs onto tracing paper before penciling it onto the silk then applying a gummy and resinous material called "resist" to turn the lines into borders so that they could then begin coloring.

"It's out of my comfort zone and something totally different that I've never done before," said LeeAnn Stephenson about why she took the class.

Stephenson's silk painting was a silhouette of sandhill cranes flying in front of a full moon. "Sandhills are my totem," said Stephenson on her choice of subject.

H.B. Lawson.


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