The transparency scale is an important element of DBD Silk Wraps and Scarves. Although silk becomes fairly opaque when folded, different silks have unique transparency potentials. Lighting makes it very easy to overrepresent transparency photographically, and transparency, like light itself, can change from moment to moment. Here is a scale of transparency for those of you ordering your silk by phone or online.
Silk Georgette: Most transparency potential. If you put your hand behind a lighter area of a silk georgette scarf and pick it up in a well-lit room, you will see not only the shape of your hand but some detail. If you wrap it like a sarong over clothing, it will not represent as transparent, only as magical and filmy (there are pictures of this range in the gallery, try Touchable Spica and Touchable Asterism).
Along with having this transparency potential, silk georgette is matte, smooth, and filmy. It can also slips slightly. On some hair (curly) you may need clips to keep it on your head. Others do just fine without. It is slightly fragile (something sharp can catch at it) and slippery. It is very gorgeous and flattering and filled with light, especially in the warm weather month.
Crêpe de Chine: Most translucence potential. If you put your hand behind a lighter area of a crêpe de chine scarf and pick it up under well-lit conditions, you will see the shape of your hand but not the detail. If you intentionally backlight it, it will become somewhat transparent. (The cover image for the Touchable Show gallery is Asterism in crepe de chine, which we intentionally backlit). In real life this is much less likely to happen. Many of the pieces and looks in this gallery were created for you with crepe de chine pieces, and as you can see in natural light against the body none of them are transparent and rarely translucent."
Along with having the most translucence potential, 12 mm crêpe de chine has a slight sheen, a very slight "pebbled" surface texture, and a great drape. These qualities give great and changing depth to color and imagery.
Silk Charmeuse: Opaque. You can make a light charmeuse piece translucent if you try really hard, but you really have to work at it.
Charmeuse is shiny and light reflective, drapes beautifully, has a noticeable right and wrong side, and catches great detail and tonal variety and depth when fine arts images are printed on it. It's a little heavier than georgette or crêpe de chine.
Silk Twill: Opaque. You can make a light-colored twill piece translucent if you really try, but you have to work at it.
Twill is substantial yet drapes beautifully, with a noticeable diagonal weave. It is durable, has a slight sheen, and has great tonal depth and drama. It is also the classic silk used for the Hermès silk scarf. Slightly heavier than georgette or light crêpe de chine, it's good all year round, particularly good in fall and winter, and can have a more formal, professional feel.
In summary, a georgette piece will definitely be light in weight and have a transparency potential and charmeuse or twill will definitely be heavier and opaque, while crêpe de chine falls inbetween .But unless you wear the lighter silks in a single layer against the body with a lot of light, the transparency tends to be minimal and what you are left with is the character of the silk type.
Aside from the illustrations here, you can scroll through the gallery images to get an idea of the potential range.
The other day, a preview image out of a summer Lookbook flew past my browser. I recognized one of my wearable art silk wrap pieces tied as a turban (not a turbine) on the model's head. But, really, it had been wrapped so creatively (that happens, and it's part of the point) that I myself wasn't sure which one it was.
So I texted Jo Carter, the proprietress and curator at physical element, in Portland, where you can currently find my stuff.
"Which one is that?"
"Drum Concert," she shot back
I smiled to myself.
When people look through my silk collection (fine arts photographs, printed individually on large silk rectangles and squares, worn however you like) they sometimes ask, "what's that one?" (pictured below). And this means Drum Concert specifically. This image tells the story of a Taiko drum concert. Visually, it flows with the rest of the collection. The content diverges.
Everything else in this collection has to do with water and power. Either it's plummeting to the ground or it is being directed, and harnessed in absentia, by a massive turbine (not a turban). The curves and power of the abstracted turbine blades infer the power of a river by default. Meanwhile literal raindrops filter across their weathered steel.
The drum concert is neither of the above. However, it was the first image I ever printed on silk. So it's actually the source.
It wasn't an image I ever intended to create, either. In Summer 2014 I was in the middle of a three- day weekend workshop with the amazing Aline Smithson whose many numbered assignments were partially designed to keep a person imaging around the clock. So, Saturday night, I was still looking for 1) something loud, and 2) to tell a story. Driving home, I heard a drum concert beginning in the park: done and done.
Eventually I printed the image, then draped it carefully it across the arm of my living room couch. It was huge. As I stepped out of the room and looked back to gauge the full effect, I was reminded of what a singular contribution graphic black and white can make to, well, almost anything.
I saw it would make a great duvet or throw. So I found a resource for printing in silk and added a few other images while I was at it. It was already something I had been meaning to do.
About two weeks later, a nondescript little white box came back in the mail.
Once I'd opened it, I sat down a minute to think. Because while they certainly did not look exactly like photographs, all the tests looked almost startlingly good.
And that's how Drum Concert ended up in this collection: the one that doesn't quite fit, but belongs. Because it's the one that started it all.
You never really know what's coming next, or where something is going to go (even if you think so). Which is, it occurs to me, why a good versatile silk wrap can come in handy.
This one looks pretty good covering a small end or altar table. I've done that. It looks great draped any number of ways on the body. And despite its large size (60x42") it also makes for a damn fine turban.
What will they think of next?
I can't wait to see.
Right now, yes, you can find deborahbergmandesigns at physical element (www.physicalelement.com) in NW PDX OR,. the town where I live and which is currently cleaving into two: the city that it was, and the one that other people who are just arriving imagine it to be. It's a transitional moment. We're on the brink of something. No one is really sure what that something is going to be. You might want to feel what that feels like while you can.
Speaking of things splitting in two, I am in the process of posting the silk collection on this gallery site for my out-of-town customers. It's certainly an interim solution, but a fairly efficient one. I am currently creating a dedicated e-commerce site for the dbd silk line, which will be its real home. That's fun, and it shouldn't be too long....