Soft And Silky

August 15, 1993|By VIDA ROBERTS

Ages ago, silk was the precious cargo of trade caravans, destined to be worn by princes and their favorites. Intricately wrought garments of silk from those days can still be seen in museum collections, permeated with history and the artisan's touch.

Today, local textile artist Judith Bird revives old dyeing and assembly techniques in a line of patched silk scarves that are crafted with a delicate sensibility.

"I do all the dyeing to achieve a depth of color, a patina, that has a glow like something that has happened over time," says Ms. Bird. "Although the pieced scarves are new, old quilting techniques give the fabric a sense of specialness, of something old."

The 44-inch squares of silk crepe and Charmeuse are bordered in squares and stripes, and although some share a color family, no two are exactly alike. Individual colors can be ordered to suit a mood.

Ms. Bird studied textiles at the University of British Columbia, but, she says, nature's way with color is the best design teacher. "There's excitement in putting color together and then seeing it worn in an exciting way."

SCARF $275 AT GAZELLE LTD. AND AT JUDITH BIRD STUDIO BY APPOINTMENT. EARRINGS BY BARBIE LEVY, $220 AT ZYZYX. STYLING BY BLUE. MODELED BY JOY RATERMANN.

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