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We know there are quite a few works in State of the Art with connections to Crystal Bridges’ permanent collection. But did you know the Museum Store has a connection to a work in the State of the Art too?


Much like Emily Erb’s artwork World Map, regional artisan Susan Tinker’s work uses the technique of painting on silk. Both women are drawn to this elegant fabric due to its lightness and flexibility. Susan has been a practicing artist for 50 years. Though she has a BFA in textile design, she originally never considered designing silk scarves. In 2012, a custom silk scarf was given to her as a gift by a friend. That scarf was the gift that kept on giving, as it sparked new inspiration in her. Susan’s friend generously shared her 20 years of knowledge and expertise of the various techniques used to paint scarves using this tightly woven and high-sheen surface as a canvas.


Susan’s rich and colorful designs come alive. She begins by layering French silk dyes onto the silk using a variety of methods. Squeeze bottles are used to flood the color over the silk. Patterns may be printed or painted. She may even draw more intricate designs such as dragonflies or butterflies. One of Susan’s favorite techniques is a decades-old watercolorist trick. It involves pouring sea salt over the wet surface. The sea salt creates more patterns and dimension in the color by lifting, pooling, and moving the pigment. The result is always unexpected. She also uses sponges, stamps, rollers brushes and even a cookie cutter. Just about anything can be used as a tool with which to print or paint.


The finished product is a piece of art to wear that will enhance any wardrobe.


We invite you to come and visit with Susan at the Museum Store on Saturday, November 15, from 10 am to 6 pm. She will be demonstrating her silk scarf painting technique throughout the day. Her scarf designs will also be on display and available for purchase. While you are visiting, you can also view Emily Erb’s World Map on view in the State of the Art south gallery!