Farhat Khan's hand-painted silk scarves

I started quilting in 2006, when I joined Kenya Quilt Guild.  Later I served on the KQG’s Executive Committee as the Newsletter Editor for two years.  I participated in almost all the KQG’s yearly exhibitions including “The Quilts of East Africa” in Ailsa Craig, Canada, in 2008.

Africa inspires me, both the wildlife and African cultures are rich sources of inspiration. Whenever I can, I participate in African challenge quilts.  I depict hand carved wooden spoons, the Jacaranda tree, and beautifully carved gourds in my hand painted quilts/wall hangings.

Silk is a supple material and is loved by everyone. It is produced by silk worms. In places like Japan and China, people raise the worms to produce silk. The female moth lays about 500 eggs. After about 20 days the eggs hatch. The caterpillar feeds on mulberry leaves.  When they reach maturity, their body becomes translucent ready to spin a cocoon. A silk worm is capable of spinning up to 1500 meter single silk thread in 48 hours.

It may take more than a hundred cocoons to make a small silk scarf. It’s worthwhile to get a small piece of pure silk to make a scarf, likewise a very expensive pursuit, but once I am through with painting it, it pays my hard work off simply by looking at it.

Farhat Khan's hand-painted silk scarves

I started painting silk scarves and material to make my own clothing as a pastime. It felt so gentle to the skin that I started loving it. It seems that it runs in my blood now.  I am making an effort to at least let people know about it. Some of the samples that I made are shown in the pictures. Many are in the process of making.  Some I use to make quilted wall hangings.

Farhat Khan's hand-painted silk scarves make beautiful quilts

Pure silk absorbs color and is fun to paint on. Washing at home needs lot of pampering. Silk is washed with lukewarm water and is naturally dried. I do not wring the water out or deal with rough hands, a soft gentle touch is required. I do not iron directly. There has to be a cotton cloth between the iron and the silk. The best way is to get it dry cleaned but I have to give special instructions to the dry cleaner about ironing. It does not form static electricity as other synthetic fabrics like nylon do.

Find more information about Farhat, her fabric painting and quilting on Facebook.