By REBECCA HAZEN
Silk banners now hang in the Dade County Public Library, a community art installation as part of the Art4Libraries project.
Throughout February and March, Claire Vassort and Anna Carll, part of the 2CREATE TEAM, held classes on silk painting and paper collage at the four libraries within the Cherokee Regional Library System.
Vassort, from Dade County, guided and helped community members make silk banners for the library, in a project called “The Silky Way.” Carll’s project was called “Collage Your Way.” The collages will be installed at a later date.
According to the Cherokee Regional Library System’s website, chrl.org, “Claire Vassort has been a silk painting artist for over 30 years and teaches silk painting workshops to groups and individuals.”
“In 2019 I did a project called Silk and Shades at the Chattanooga Broad Street branch of the Library. That was similar – offering free classes, and then coming up with an installation that would bring everything together. After that, I thought it would be really cool to bring that to my community as well,” Vassort said. “I got in touch with my friend Anna Carll, and together we developed this program.”
The Lyndhurst Foundation and Georgia Council for the Arts funded the program.
The process of the silk painting includes the use of gutta and inks. Gutta is a thick solvent-based substance and is used to draw outlines. These outlines act as a barrier for the colored ink that is then painted in, so the ink does not bleed together.
According to Vassort, the process of silk painting has four steps, and the community members worked on the two middle steps. These steps are stretching the silk, drawing the gutta lines, painting, and a color setting process.
The prompt for the project was to make banners that would act as a wayfinding system for the library.
“This has two purposes. One to mark the different sections, but also to invite people to discover sections that they haven’t gone to before,” Vassort said.
There are 19 of these colorful banners now hanging at the Dade County Public Library.
Jennifer Blair attended the silk painting classes at the library.
“It was super fun but also challenging,” Blair said. “This is a hands on opportunity. It is so impactful for artists to provide the resources.”
“My hope is that they can see, that by joining forces, we can do something greater than we can do on our own. The focus of the classes is on collaboration. This is about community and collective effort,” Vassort said.