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Joy Light illuminates silk

Joy Light has been designing and creating silk scarves since she moved to Ashland 17 years ago where she now has her home studio. She has created a livelihood from her skills and her love of nature, silk and the effect that light has on these two.


Silk has a luxurious translucence that perfectly radiates the richly saturated colors I use. Every design seeks to capture energy, enthusiasm and light,&

says the artist &

150; whose name, by the way, is not a name chosen for business or spiritual reasons.


It sounds like a New Age name, I know, but it&

s my given name. Joy&

s my middle name. Kristen&

s my first name, and Light is my father&

s and my maiden name.&



the artist writes on her Web site, is the &

pathway to my artistic inspiration. For it is only through light that we can appreciate the soothing qualities of nature&

s organic images and seasonal colors.&

While the artist&

s name serves her well as inspiration and apparently as part of the marketing of her work, it is the blending of nature&

s patterns and silk with her French dyes that has her saying, &

I never get bored. I have more ideas than I can actually do.&

And that&

s saying a lot given that each scarf and ruana in Light&

s collection is an original, individually designed and painted by the artist.

Asked what she loves most about her work, Light quickly replies, &

The fiber, colors, the texture of silk. There&

s something about the way silk reflects light and makes colors vibrant.&

She creates her scarves and ruanas using mostly a technique that she plans to teach in her upcoming workshop, a watercolor technique using salt and gravity. She also uses dry brush and folkloric stamping techniques. The latter are used to create the iridescent scarves in her popular Peacock collection. Many of her designs are inspired by Ashland&

s natural beauty. Leaves collected at Lithia Park, for example, inspire the vibrant leaves outlined with gold on a jacquard silk with a sea foam background.


— —

Name: Kristen Joy LightHails From: Reading, Penn.; Ashland since 1989Age: 43Training: Self-taught.Niche: Wearable art; hand-painted silk.Claim to Fame: &

My mentor and former room-mate is Oprah Winfrey&

s — chef.&

Inspiration: Nature, and the book, Earthsong by Bernhard Edmair.

However, it is the aerial images of earth that provide most of her inspiration: photographs taken by satellite and airplanes of oceans, river deltas and fiery volcanoes, to name a few.



s a book I leaf through everyday, Earthsong by Bernhard Edmair. It&

s a wonderful book with aerial images of the earth. I&

m mostly inspired by whole patterns of nature,&

she says. The flowing patterns in an iridescent blue scarf may be reflecting tidal movements of an ocean, for example, she adds.

While the silk kimonos and obi displayed in her home, reflect how she is &

intrigued with the Japanese culture,&

it wasn&

t this interest that led her to silk.

It was rather Rosie Daley who would later work as Oprah Winfrey&

s chef and author one of the best-selling cookbooks of all times, &

Cooking with Rosie: Oprah&

s Favorite Recipes.

The two women were room-mates, both struggling single moms, in California when Light became fascinated with Daley&

s textile art: &

I begged her to let me see her studio, but she said nobody got to go in there, that it was her special place &

133; she was very secretive with her studio &

133;. Just as I was moving to Ashland, she showed me her silk painting materials, but that was it,&

says Light with a chuckle, adding that this was all the nudge she needed to begin teaching herself the art, immediately settling in Ashland.

Light doesn&

t recall having any special interest in art before she was inspired by Daley&

s textile work and started silk painting in Ashland, but she does recall when she was a young girl that she enjoyed drawing girls in dresses.

Light says she also enjoys teaching the silk painting process, teaches annually at her son&

s elementary school and is giving a workshop this month to those of all age.



s really neat to see how people express their creativity through color,&

she says, adding that she won&

t hold back any secrets in her class, that she will &

show exactly what I do and use all the real materials.&

The workshop participants will make Tibetan prayer flags.

She recalls the most important lesson she learned at a workshop, taught by an instructor who has interned in Japan: &

Trusting the process of trial and error with experimentation.&

Those interested in the silk painting workshop set for 10 a.m. to — p.m., Saturday at Ashland Art Works, can call Light at 488-2090. Her silks can viewed at Ashland Artworks or online at www.joysilk.com.