Who would have thought that choosing dress up clothes for children could be a doorway to meaningful learning and in turn a beautiful existence. As can be the case with these small everyday things we choose as a mother, they can actually be life defining, I struggled and fought to eradicate less than thoughtful mass-produced dress up clothes from our life and replaced them with a few simple and beautiful items from Sarah’s Silks. In the process of culling and rejecting the pesky Disney princess type things, I tried to stay positive and even though I wished I had not let them into our home in the first place, I found strength in sharing knowledge with the children about why they were not the best choice for us and I found relief in teaching the history and process of silk with the girls. The history of silk and Sarah’s Silks was far more rewarding than the history of polyester and Disney merchandising. Both very interesting of course, but one is clearly aligned to the life we want to lead.
The story of how silk was discovered unfolds like a folklore with an element of chance and co-incidence. According to Chinese, Empress Hsi Ling Shi, wife of Emperor Huang Ti (also called the Yellow Emperor), was the first person to accidentally discover silk as weavable fiber.
One day, when the Empress was sipping tea under a mulberry tree a cocoon fell into her cup and began to unravel. The Empress became so enamored with the shimmering threads, she discovered their source, the bombyx mori silkworm found in the white mulberry tree. The Empress soon developed sericulture, the cultivation of silkworms, and invented the reel and loom. So began the history of silk and whether or not the legend is true it is certain that the earliest surviving references of silk history and production are in China. For nearly 3 millennia the Chinese had a global monopoly on silk production.
Demand for this exotic fabric eventually created the trade route now known as the Silk Road, taking silk westward and bringing gold, silver and wools to the East. It was named the Silk Road after its most valuable commodity. Silk was considered even more precious than gold!
As a lover of textiles I can only imagine how exciting it must have been in this era to hear of silk and touch it for the first time. Still to this day silk is considered a precious fabric and rightly so. The process of making silk involves much handwork, and of course the sacrifice of the life of the moth, as in most cases the cocoon is boiled prior to the moth nibbling it’s way out of the cocoon so that the continuous single silk filament stays in tact. There are plenty of interesting videos to watch about this process, and for some of you, the awareness of how most silk is made will be too much and you will sit on the vegan side of the fence, which is understandable, or you will be like me and sit with the awareness and education and find respect for the customs and it’s place in the history of mankind. Silk will last lifetimes if it is valued.
The story of how Sarah Lee Started her company Sarah’s Silks came from a love and sensitivity for her child. Reflecting on her oldest son’s early childhood Sarah shares a story of her son’s imagination play. “Mom, I am a turtle today. I NEED some green to wear.” and “I need some wings to fly today, blue ones!” Or “Logan is doing a play with me, she is the princess and I am the knight. We need some pink, purple and red colors.” First she reached for an old silk scarf as her son loved the smooth, silky feel. (Finally something he didn’t declare itchy!). Soon after she found herself dying squares of silks to support his play.
I find the fact that Sarah’s Silks can work in a variety of ways across the scope of childhood play wonderful. One play silk can have many uses, and supports creativity, where as one Disney dress may only ever be for example “Elsa’s” dress. This golden reason alone shines brightly, but in addition, there is a reason why we have the saying “As soft as silk”, because silk is ever so wonderful to touch. One thing many people do not know though, is that silk is a protein fiber, like wool and has high tensile strength. All these qualities are the reason why silk is historically rich and why Sarah’s Silks are great for child’s play.
Sarah’s Silks offer more defined dress up clothes, and other toys too. Maya is wearing the princess dress, and playing with the rainbow veil, that she used as a veil, and then a cape, and then added it as a belt/skirt over the princess dress. They also offer dyed cotton options. The girls use the silks daily when doing their “set ups” and I have shared more images of them playing with Sarah’s Silks when writing about Collecting Earth Friendly Toys.
It is wonderful to look to at the history and also take the future into consideration too, and with Sarah’s Silks items they will not end up in the charity bag or as landfill that does not decompose, they will be held onto for grandchildren or given to friends you love. Silk is more expensive than synthetic imitation but by investing in it you making them smart, creative and beautiful.