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Linda Stearns

Was I born with a pencil in my hand? No, but by age 10 I was enjoying trying to draw horses, which was my inspiration. One of my favorite gifts at Christmas when I was 12 was a paint set that included 50 (well it seemed like it) different colors and tones and the packet of pictures of birds that I could paint. While the set did not teach me to draw, it introduced me to a wonderful exploration of colors. 
The exploration of painting on silk was the result of a class at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Deer Isle, Maine in the spring/summer of ’81. My eldest daughter, Shawn, kept me company and helped me set up our tent for the extended weekend journey into French painting on silk by Ellen, a professor at the Parsons Institute of Design, New York City. It was a largely unknown technique at the time, imported from France where the art was very skillfully developed via the White Russians. Shawn played around the island by day and I learned what Ms. Ellen had to teach; it was blissful. 

Silk offers an alive and rich surface that creates interesting challenges when used as a canvas. And, while I have interest in many crafts (making cards, jewelry, pottery, baskets, knitting, tie-dying on cotton, figuring how to recycle items for us), I have tried to stay focused on learning more about surface design and the chemicals which contribute to exploring design and color expression that silk demands.
Technique often becomes my focus: mono printing, drawing and painting, multiple dying, stamping, over-dying, just whatever I can think of to put interesting texture and color and often picture on the silk. I do scarves a lot, larger pieces such as the ruanas and cocoon coats, pillows, ties, table scarves, flat art to frame and even “miniatures” that can be placed on paper to create a card. Subject matter in my designs quite often relates to gardening and flowers, but other times it is an elephant, bird or tiger; then I need a break from the disciplined line and work in the abstract. Silk painting is a time of enjoyment and exploration. I genuinely hope those who buy and wear, or display my designs on silk catch that same experience.

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