Magick and Symbolism of Silk

Magick of Silk: Wealth, luxury, softness, smoothness, prestige, transformation, magical insulation. It’s been said that silk is a ‘natural magical insulator’, meaning that it will keep magical energies contained within itself and protects its contents from influences of the outside world.

Silk has always been considered the most precious of natural fibers and perhaps also the best known thanks to its particularly ancient history.

In the collective imagination, silk will always remain linked to the history of China and the famous Silk Road; on the other hand, for many centuries the activity of silkworm breeding remained the exclusive prerogative of China, even if starting from the thirteenth century the silkworm and the elementary notions of the procedure for producing silk also arrived in Italy where the cultivation of mulberry trees began to develop and real spinning mill activity.

Up until the beginning of the 20th century and until after the war there were still farms in Italy that bred silkworms but over the following decade they all rapidly disappeared due to the poor economic performance of this extremely tiring activity.

In the following years in Italy we continued the tradition of silk weaving by purchasing the yarn mainly from China which is the world monopolist on this yarn market even if there are some small spinning mills that produce excellent quality yarn in South America; it should be noted that in the last decade some small entrepreneurs and cooperatives have reintroduced sericulture in Italy.

We all know something about the millenary processes of silk yarn production, from mulberry growing to the larva with a thin slime which will then form the cocoon, the unraveling phase has been the condemnation for centuries by the hands of Chinese girls, but not all we have more precise information on how the yarn ready for the loom is obtained.

The transformation into yarn is obtained through twisting which is an indispensable and fundamental phase for making the natural fibers resistant and usable. This is achieved with the use of a machine called a “twisting machine” through which the raw silk thread is given the necessary twist to avoid the separation of the various filaments obtained from the cocoon. 

The main silk yarns are organzine, crepe, twisted for the weft of various garments, bourette, tussah and shappe.

The characteristics of silk of resistance, brightness, lightness, softness and insulating power are known; a pure silk garment will be warm in winter and cool in summer!

Silk fabrics are distinguished primarily in piece-dyed, raw or cooked, and yarn-dyed where the yarn is dyed before being woven on shuttle or jacquard looms and can have plain weave or even nattè or ottoman type.

Among the piece-dyed fabrics, perhaps the most popular is crepe de chine for shirts combined with chiffon of incredible softness and finesse; silk organza, instead dyed raw, is widely used for wedding and ceremonial dresses with which vaporous multi-layered skirts or flounced pleats are made.

The yarn-dyed fabrics are certainly the most delicate but also the most precious and with a structured hand suitable for sartorial creations and really important clothes; the best known are taffetas and duchesses; less known but equally valid as regards the particular structured hand of the yarn-dyed is the mikado, a fabric widely used for making wedding and formal dresses.