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Silk Road To Happiness… never too cool for silk

 

The incredible heat and humidity lately has me thanking my lucky stars for the silk wrap skirt that was given to me many years ago.  I’m reminded of my mother in law when in her mid 50’s claimed that she needed to wear silk clothes to feel comfortable. The wonderful natural qualities of silk out-do cotton every time.  Humidity is not a friend of cotton… Wet T-shirt contest anyone!?silkworm+on+leaves

I was intrigued by the way silk feels and acts.  I read somewhere that when used as a pillow case, the amino acids in the silk can have a anti-aging effect on your face.  Uh, can I just swaddle myself in the stuff!!??

Even with all the potential of body temperature regulating and skin smoothing, there’s a sad fact about silk. The common production method of silk fibers is a cruel one.  Simplified: when the silk worms are still alive in their cocoon, they are dropped in boiling water to release the fibers of the cocoon.  The threads are then carefully pulled and wound onto spools for the next step in production.  The worms, now dead never get the chance to become the beautiful butterfly they were meant to be.

silk-ballsThere is an alternative to the killing fields of commercial silk production but you will really have to look for it. Ahimsa Peace Silk, produced in Fair Trade communities in India, this silk is ethical.  The mulberry larva are allowed to finish their growth into flying beauties and continue the reproduction cycle.  Their abandoned cocoon are collected, inspected for vacancy then painstakingly unraveled by caring, patient hands.

Sadly, wild eri silkworms are becoming endangered, possibly due to the same fate as honeybees.  The commercial use of silk worms too is unsustainable.  A couple only produce 50 eggs, so management is precarious if greed kicks in.IMG_20150724_164321

Research about silk also turned up that toxic chemicals and heavy metals like lead are used in the colouring of silks.  So, not only is ethical silk more desirable for fair treatment of living beings but also healthier if natural dye processes are used on the fabric.  But that’s a whole other post.

Excuse me while I attend to my bowl of ice in front of the fan.  I think there’s a hint of fresh air coming through the window.  In the meantime, feet up, silk wrap on, fan on full blast.  I’m dreaming of Ahimsa Peace Silk sheets and a cool night sleep.  Stay frosty my friends.

 

Fortuny Fetish … Get Your Edwardian Style On

 

Scheherazade

It’s not enough that fabulously design rich TV shows like Downton Abbey have dragged my modernist butt into the past… but now I have to deal with my crush on Edwardian stylist Mariano Fortuny’s stunning designs.  New obsession… Design Gods please help me!!

 

We were so fortunate and grateful to have won an LED desk lamp from Ottawa lighting specialists #Arevco.  Last week we dropped by their lovely new showroom on Clyde Avenue at Laperriere to claim our prizes.  Upon our exit I gazed up and there it was… a stunning chandelier which is befittingly called “Scheherazade”.  How appropriate… a very mysterious and sexy character she is.

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Designer Mariano Fortuny was born in Granada, the ancient Moorish capital of Spain, into a family of artists in 1871.  Trained as an artist in Paris after he his father passed away, he was successful producing beautiful textiles exploring inspiration from Egypt, China, Persia, Greece and South America.  He patented inventions in engineering and lighting as well as fabric and textile designs.  Mariano spent a great deal of his design energy on the stage with newly invented electric light.  This expanded into lighting fixture designs that incorporated dyed and hand painted silks with glass beads and silk chords… inspired by East Asia and Persian motifs.

Scheherazade in Modern

Fortuny’s designs are simply elegant works of art.  Whether a scarf, dress, chandelier or lamp shade, Fortuny has made his way into our psyches… and video screens.  Next time you swoon into a period drama … say of the 1920’s … challenge yourself to see where the costumers and set designers have been inspired by Mr. Fortuny.   Season 5 of Downton Abbey here we come!!

Fortuny Lamp