Jazzy Scarf, hand dyed silk

Art To Wear
The Magic of Hand Dyed Silk

Traci Paden

Squares Scarf, hand dyed silk

Monarch Poncho, hand dyed silk

Dots Jacket, hand dyed silk

  Traci Paden, the gallery’s featured artist for April, creates gorgeous contemporary silk jackets, short kimonos and scarves. She completes every step of the process herself, starting with a roll of white silk fabric and ending up with colorful items featuring her unique original designs.
   She begins with white silk stretched lengthwise. Paden draws her design with resist which she makes from the yuca plant and then paints colorful silk dyes into the areas separated by the lines of resist. She also utilizes other methods, including batik and shibori. After the silk has been designed and painted, it is rolled into sheets of blank newsprint and steamed for 6 hours. This procedure locks the dye into the fibers. The fabric is washed, rinsed and prepared to be sewn into garments. Each scarf and garment is cut and hand sewn by Paden. Some of her popular designs are Monarch butterflies, dragonflies, poppies and a jazz motif featuring a keyboard. A video of her fascinating working process will be showing continuously during the opening reception for her exhibit, Art to Wear, on Friday, April 7, 5-8 pm.
   “From the day I discovered painting on silk with dye, I felt I had found magic,” she explained. “I thought about it all the time; it invaded my dreams each night. I became so passionate about painting on silk that I made it my career. That discovery was over 20 years ago and the full-time career that followed began in 2001.”
   Paden holds a Master’s degree in Design from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She taught art in New Orleans and at Colorado Mountain College, among others. She moved to the Chattanooga area after marrying a native. Paden is a veteran of many art festivals, including the prestigious New Orleans Jazz Fest and the Coconut Grove Art show in Florida, where she travels to sell her distinctive silk clothing and accessories. She also exhibits her work in galleries in Laguna Beach, California; Jupiter, Florida; and Anchorage, Alaska. Traci Paden’s work will be featured in a cover article in an upcoming issue of Silkworm, an International magazine for silk painters.
   Meet Traci Paden and try on her beautiful hand dyed silk clothing and scarves at the opening reception for her exhibit, Art to Wear, on Friday, April 7, 5-8 pm.