Photography courtesy of Olivia Brabbs

Written by Ellen Davies of LND Events

York Explore Library has been fantastic hosts for 2018’s York Fashion Week and the Saturday workshop was no exception, this time with Meiji Designs.

Ruth and Natalie – the founders of the company were holding a Devore silk scarf making workshop for 8 of us and as soon as I sat down I realised just how much effort was needed to host such an event. I had a bucket at my station, filled with cloths, face masks, gloves and a wooden spoon and then surrounding the room were ironing boards, drying racks and a big industrial fan.

Everything was soon to be clear…. the ladies explained that in the process of making the Devore scarves, there can be a smell when ironing the solution and bits can flake off so the gloves, masks, goggles and the fan were all for our protection. The buckets were for washing our silk with and the spoon was for applying the solution when it came to one of the techniques.

We were given 3 sample material squares and shown different ways of applying the Devore solution such as dabbing, stencils and screen printing so we could use our samples to get testing before we moved on to our scarves because the effect is permanent and we didn’t want any mistakes!

I can’t tell you how grateful I was to have those samples. As my first attempt dried, I realised I had not applied the Devore solution strongly enough so only one half of a pattern came out, my second attempt was slightly better but I found out from Natalie that I’d probably not ironed it hard enough so because the heat hadn’t penetrated it properly, parts of the pattern were broken.

Third time lucky on my test meant I felt more confident for my main scarf so I applied a mixture of screen print and stencil techniques.

If you’re wondering why I am being so vague about the methods, it’s because I want you to attend one of their workshops to discover it all for yourselves. You don’t need any experience (believe me I am in no way skilled in art or crafts) yet you come away feeling like you’ve really achieved something and of course you get to keep your very own silk creation!