Reel and Weave: The Silkspinner's Story: Part 3

In part three Karen explores India and visits both the giant tusser moth and the Salvi community, makers of a famous double silk ikat known as Patan Patola.

“In God we have faith, in Silk we have trust” reads a yellowed piece of paper taped to a framed picture of Mahatma Gandhi surrounded by a garland of dusty tussah cocoons. The paper sits in a Central Silk Board office in Bhubaneshwar, India.

It is evidence that silk has provided hope, trust, exquisite cloth, and a family income for many people in Asia throughout time. The tale and wonder of silk are the transformation of caterpillar and moth but also the stories of the people who raise the caterpillars, reel the yarn, weave, colour, and decorate silk textiles.

These rich traditions of raising the fibre and working with cloth by hand continue to be important aspects of the economic, social, and ecological fabric of many areas of Asia. Join Karen for a personal journey into the jungles, villages, and sustainable cottage industries of the world. Learn about the lives of some of the most skilled cloth artisans in the world through an extravaganza of visual images and tales. This captivating evening will be one to remember.

Karen Selk

Karen Selk has been a textile designer and artist since 1972. Her primary focus has been weaving and fusing felt with silk. As managing director of Treenway Silks, she designs and develops new yarns, fibres, kits, and colour palettes. A former director of product development for, she also organizes and leads textile and cultural tours to India, Bhutan, and Laos.

A quest for knowledge of all aspects of silk has taken her throughout Asia researching the history and heritage of silk traditions. She teaches and lectures worldwide and has produced numerous magazine articles, an educational poster about the life cycle of the silkworm, and a silk fusion DVD. The cloth, culture, and people of other countries as well as the life in her own garden are the source of Karen’s creative spirit.

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