My conversations with Bill had not yet come up with a weight of flat (floss) silk to use for the core of the gilt sylke twist. Again all these terms are difficult, there are many ways to measure the size of a silk thread. Tex and Denier are two of the most common. But those numbers aren’t often on the end of a silk tube so we didn’t have any reference points to work with. I figured we would start with an easily available source and then work from there to narrow in on what we needed to use.
There are two commercially available untwisted silk threads dyed in a range of colors that I am aware of. One is the fantastic line sourced by the Japanese Embroidery Center in Georgia and the other is the Soie Ovale line from Au Ver a Soie in Paris, France. Since we were already using Au Ver a Soie threads on the project, it was a natural decision to try their version first. At least we might not have to involve another continent in the transatlantic engineering fun!
A problem appeared right away, the Soie Ovale line is dyed in the color set for Soie d’Alger and Soie Paris. But we were working with Soie Perlee on the project. So we couldn’t just translate the colors one-to-one. UGGG. There are technical reasons why this is – but this is not a place for that discussion. Needless to say the color matching was one more challenge to overcome! But before that, we needed to figure out if the silk could be used at all. So a call to Lamora Haidar at Access Commodities (the exclusive distributor of Au Ver a Soie in the USA) was required.
Not many of you know Lamora, but if you love fine embroidery, you may owe her a debt of gratitude. Lamora is a passionate lover of fine historic embroidery and will often extend her business in ways that are truly irrational to save or re-establish a source for fine materials. I have truly appreciated her collaboration in the past to import materials I wanted to use and teach with and put them out there in easier-to-use packaging and US pricing.
I called Lamora as I knew from other ‘secrets’ we had been discussing, that she would be a willing partner in this folly. Lamora was excited and hopeful that my experiments with Bill would be successful. We also started the discussions – otherwise known as ‘horse trading’ that would be necessary to get this off the ground. Without going into extreme detail, you should know that business is business, no matter how ‘cool’ remaking something will be. If you haven’t ever manufactured something and gotten it through customs and figured out how to package it, well, you may naively think it is easy.
So we needed to think about "IF" it worked, who would buy the silk? How much would be manufactured? Would dyeing runs be made? Timing? Who would reel the finished silk off onto little spools? Would it go commercial? Would it be too expensive? Would there be a market for it??? Or should it just be a special run just for the project? Horse trading.