March is Scarf Month at Crackerjack!!
March 2016                                         Issue #62

A selection of Paige Selden's marbled scarves

This is an article I published in one of our first newsletters, back in 2008. Since we are designating March as Scarf Month, I thought I would include it again!

Scarves - What do you do with them?

    I was thinking this morning about what a great thing a scarf is. Mine are in a couple of pretty, fabric-covered boxes I keep on my closet shelf. Of course, all of them don't stay in the boxes - there are always those which are current favorites and which have escaped and live outside or on top of the boxes. There are scarves that always get worn with a particular outfit and there are those which get worn at the neck of a coat for added warmth and a peek of color at my neck. These are the silks and the silk-like, the lightweight cottons and rayons, those you can fold and wrap. The diaphanous with no weight, but warm if wrapped several times around. The colorful bits of pattern you could never pull off as a skirt or dress, the ones with silver shot through, or sequins, or pompoms. There's the classic navy with white polka-dots which was my mother's, the silk with vintage dogs given by a long-ago co-worker, the leopard print I snatched up, and on and on. And then there are the winter, woolly scarves which provide not only warmth, but color on the grey Seattle days. These include the fake furs, the yummy soft wools, the fluffy knits and the polar fleece.

     Oh! Let's not forget a more recent addition to the scarf scene. Or is it an oldie by a new name? The must-have pashmina! Whether it is truly pashmina (the wool of a Himalayan goat) or not, the standard shape of this item is a long woven rectangle with fringed ends. Some are solid in color, a lot have wonderful woven patterns that vary from simple blocks of color to very intricate designs. These enter into the realm of wraps and shawls, a near cousin to scarves, but are as versatile and collectible. Again, even though woven, some are heavier than others, but all lend themselves to dramatic draping. They instantly give impact to an outfit.

     So, what does one do with all the scarves one has collected?

    Wear them, of course! Wearing pink and brown? A scarf with pink and orange can add some interest, pattern and a bit of a third color, and now that orange handbag will work! Does that all black outfit look too dour? How about a drape of color loosely tied around the neck? It could be any color that looks good against your skin, makes you feel pretty, or happy, or picks up some color in your jewelry, purse or shoes. A black and white scarf with a black outfit instantly adds freshness and sophistication. A bright red adds drama.

     I almost always wear a scarf under a coat, both for warmth and to protect my throat. But I love to play with that bit of color that shows at my neck. It has to go with the coat, of course, but you can again play with mood and the rest of your outfit. Maybe the fake fur gives a bit of glam, but if it's red fake fur, it's a different mood! A nubby woven plaid might go better with Westen boots than the burned-out velvet.

     What I love about scarves, too, is that they're relatively small. You can have a whole store's worth neatly folded in a couple of nice pretty boxes, or a drawer-full of tousled color and design. Scarves come in all shapes and sizes. There is your classic square measuring anywhere from just big enough to tie arund your neck, to one large enough to throw over your shoulders as an accent on top of a coat, or to keep you warm when you step out in that sexy strapless dress. And there are rectangles of every proportion imaginable. And then, of course, there are all the ways to tie a scarf! It can be casually tossed over one shoulder, or wrapped around your neck several times. It can hang long, it can be folded and woven back on itself. It can be tied to the back, or the side, or the front. It can look perky, sexy, cuddly, dramatic, chic, girly, soft, sophisticated, trendy, vintage. It can look like you and how you want to be that day.

     The right scarf can totally transform an outfit. It can totally transform your mood. That's a lot to get from a little scrap of fabric!

Above is a contemporary marbled silk scarf, by local artist Paige Selden: a subtle
homage to the Purple and Gold for a Husky fan!

     As I mentioned last month, we moved my mother-in-law, and in so doing, my sister-in-law and I discovered some beautiful scarves. Some were gifts from Crackerjack, and so were fun to see again. I kept several, which are now very special to me!

     A couple of them were marbled silk, by an Oregon artist who stopped making them as they were so labor intensive. We currently carry a beautiful selection by our own Paige Selden. Hers employ a more contemporary, bold aesthetic, although when I looked at some examples of old book binding, I was surprised at the modern feeling of some of the designs!

     Each marbled scarf is essentially a mono-print. This means each is a one-of-a-kind piece of art made by laying colors out on a thickened water medium, manipulating the colors, then carefully laying your silk onto the surface. The colors transfer to the fabric, you carefully lift it off the surface of the water and let dry. You can not use the same set-up again, but must clean it and re-apply new colors! 
Labor-intensive, indeed!  

A History of Marbling:
Marbling is a very old technique most of us are familiar with from the beautiful end papers in old books.

The earliest known examples of marbling date back to Japan in the 12th century, where a technique known as suminagashi, meaning "floating ink" was used to create papers. Some scholars believe this artform was practiced even earlier in China, though no known examples exist. Suminagashi is still practiced in Japan today.
Similar methods also arose in central Asia in the 15th century. In Turkey, marbled papers were used to help prevent document forgery, since the designs were impossible to replicate exactly. This gave marbled papers a greater significance within the powerful Turkish empire, and the tradition remains strong in countries such as Iran and Turkey.
Finally, these methods spread from the middle east to Europe in the 17th century, where various countries each made their own adjustments and created signature patterns. This is the period in which marbled endpapers became popular in bookbinding, and you can still find these in use today. (courtesy  

French book, circa 1735 
Combed design on paper, 1847 
Combed design, London 1828 


News you can use!

Scarf Tying Demonstrations: 

Saturday March 5th, stop by for an informal Scarf Tying demonstration. Have a scarf you never wear because you just don't know what to do with it? Bring it in to find out! Or peruse our selection for a new thing of beauty to add to your wardrobe as a Spring pick-me-up! 

Can't make it Saturday? We will be repeating this every Thursday evening in March, from 5 to 7:30.

So come in and get some pointers on using the fashion accessory the European women have known about for decades!   

St. Patrick's Day - March 17th  
Great card handmade in Tennessee!

Wallingford Center Annual Easter Candy Hunt featuring The Bubbleman!

Join us on Saturday March 26th at 9 a.m. for The Bubbleman, followed by a candy hunt at 10. Stick around for face-painting until 11:30 by two local artists!  
The Bubbleman_ photo by Joshua Huston_ Seattle_s Child Magazine_ Aug. 2015

Tintin News
2016 Tintin Wall Calendars!  

We still have a few Tintin calendars left, and since we're entering March, we are giving them away FREE with a $75.Tintin purchase! Need some Tintin? Now's the time to shop!

Crackerjack Contemporary Crafts  206-547-4983