In Ida’s shoes: “Birth of an Idea” series

I have been fascinated with silk cocoons since before I can remember. In my childhood, I painted them shades of orange that I produced myself from pulverized orange bricks mixed with water. At the time, that was the only color option available to me. Nowadays I use the best quality Old Holland paints, spoiling viewer’s eyes with an embarrassment of riches of the strongest, most intense colors.

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The artist’s hand demonstrating the six “wings” that inspire her work (Photo credit: the artist herself)

Indeed, cocoons have been featured in my art for quite a while now. Silkworms spin their fibers thousands of times around themselves in order to create their cocoon homes only to leave them behind upon maturing into adult butterflies. From there, I take the empty cocoons and from the hole the butterfly has left upon exiting the cocoon, I cut toward the center six times to form six “wings”. The idea is to get a shape as open as an open hand (the arm + five fingers), which symbolizes communication, openness and sincerity, but can also mean hope, giving, generosity or even propaganda. However the emerging shape awakens positive feelings in people, reminding them of flowers, which I like to accept as one possible imagining.

Then each of the “wings” of the cocoon is checked for strength, cleaned, sealed, painted and varnished. Finally, I attach them to a pre-painted canvas. Each completed piece of my artwork consists of 350 to 590 cocoons, depending on the canvas size. To create one composition, I work as hard as the silk worms! It takes approximately 1.5 to 2 months to complete each masterpiece.

For this particular series, I have produced 41 creations and am planning to produce a total of 100 new works. I accept only a few commissions annually as this allows me the space, time and freedom to develop my ideas. My next pieces will involve silk as well but in the form of unspun silk fibers. If the journey to my creations piques your curiosity, please follow my work and you will be positively surprised!

Ida and artwork The artist in front of her successful “Birth of an Idea” series next to the medium for her next: bales of unspun silk fibers (Photo credit: Jen Evans)

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