Soul Silk by Simin
Meet Simin, an experienced Graphic Designer from the prestigious National Institute of Design, India. She felt that traditional methods of printing and mass production of scarves couldn’t add to the uniqueness and character that people deserved to wear. She wanted to create bespoke pieces of wearable art and took inspiration from the ancient art form of silk painting.
Tell us about your Artist’s journey to this point ~ I trained as a Graphic Designer (Degree from National Institute of Design, India) in university. Through my six years of being a student, my fascination for colour on textiles continued to grow.
Coming from a city that was (and still is) the textile capital of India, it was natural for me to be exposed to it on a variety of levels. Graphic design fuelled my obsession for print on textiles.
Soon after graduation I began my experiments with print on scarves. It was a good place to start as I have always been a great fan of wearing scarves. With ample access to block & screen printing, my first attempt was successful as a print job done well, but the satisfaction of what I had in mind was missing. That took me back to researching more techniques. I came across silk painting (which originated in China and slowly found its way to Europe and Asia). Unlike traditional methods that were available to me that could mass produce the same design, painting on silk made mass production of a design near impossible rendering each piece to be unique.
This was it! I could now create a unique scarf, something that could not be copied or mass produced easily.
I worked for a design house called Bandhej for a couple years after graduating and acquired a lot more knowledge on textiles and draping and how form and colour work while a piece of fabric is worn.
I’ve been painting on silk since 1999 and have also experimented with painting on cushion covers, garments and hand bags. Majority of my work is still done on silk scarves.
How do you navigate the art world? ~ Whilst I was living in India, I was continuously surrounded by artists, designers and creatives. Growing up in a family full of creative people from actors, puppeteers to cinematographers and graphic designers, it was only too natural be actively part of the contemporary art and design world. Moving to Australia 17 years ago, did have its speed bumps along the way. It is only with persistence and with love for what I do that has brought me this far in this beautiful country. Planning and finally executing my online store for my work has had its challenges but has been the most rewarding. Now for reaching out to more like minded people all over the globe.
I strongly believe that, the more artists and designers come together and support each other, whether through collaborations or even through an exchange of ideas it adds great value as a collective to motivate, inspire and create even more!
Do you pay attention to trends when planning a body of work or how do you approach creating a series? ~ As an artist it is sometimes difficult to go along and constantly pay heed to trends. As most artists, inspiration comes from the smallest things we observe to the endless imagination of one’s own mind. 90 percent of my work flows from the sheer love of what I create. As I have grown as an artist, I have come to realise that when my scarf is actually worn, the artwork is completed. I don’t follow trends or fashion by the book but as I sketch my work, more often than not, surprisingly it begins to take shape in line with some current trends. I do like creating a series of scarf designs based on a subject of inspiration. I believe it is important to tell a story through your work. Collections tell a story.
What motivates you? ~ As Graphic Designer turned Textile Artist, you will find that some of my work has influences from graphics, geometry, typography and calligraphy. I’m greatly influenced with how form and colour work when in movement, here movement is created when the scarf is draped.
I’m inspired by my surroundings, from nature to tribal art forms and from famous painters to my vivid imagination. Sometimes the simplest of observations of the world around me will motivate me to sketch out a scarf. From the forms and colours on a tree bark, to the zoomed in texture of my dog’s fur or from the shadows on a wall; there’s a beautiful scarf waiting to be painted. More often than not I tend to simplify the forms I see so that when draped, the completed artwork is not too cluttered.
How do you plan your art related activities each year? ~ It has been sometime since I’ve taken a serious look at planning my art activities. In the past I’ve gone with the flow of what was going on around me. In 2018 I decided to plan more of my activities so that I was better able to create collections in tune with seasons. After all, I do want my scarves to be worn and loved by my customers.
I have been very fortunate this year as I have actively showcased my work online, to be invited by my university overseas to have an exhibition of my work also followed by a small workshop in silk painting.
Being a mother of two beautiful teenage twin girls also plays a huge role in the way I plan my work.