Silks


Handpainted by Marilet, using all natural dyes on Ahimsa Silk, in her studio in California.

Marilet Pretorius all natural dye on silk process components. 

“As soon as I touched this silk, I was in love. I was immediately inspired to create something unique and beautiful with it.”

Marilet Pretorius

This silk is an Ahimsa (vegan) silk, the caterpillars completed their life cycle uninterrupted during the process of harvesting the silk threads. Made by Indian families who work together: planting Castor Bean plants around the perimeter of cotton plots (the Castor Bean plants serve as a natural insect repellant), raising the caterpillars, and collecting the cocoons once the caterpillars have taken flight as moths. The cocoons are then delivered to a small mill that degums them, pulls them apart, and spins the silk on the same cotton spinning machinery used for the local cotton. After that it is woven. The result: a strong fine cloth with a slightly golden hue and a soft hand. It is embedded with the stories of the many hands that proudly contributed to all the stages resulting in its existence.

Honoring the cloth, Marilet decided to paint imagery onto it using all natural dyes. She researched and experimented until all the different elements finally came together: the silk, the dyes, and the imagery.