Searching for silk brocade

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Customer
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Joined: Nov 3, 2007 9:23 pm

Searching for silk brocade

Post by Customer » Nov 5, 2007 2:13 pm

I am an arts conservator with the constant problem of finding a silk brocade supplier. We restore Japanese and Chinese screens, scrolls, and much more. It is a problem when the silk needs to be replaces with new brocade to match existing brocade. Any leads you have on suppliers would greatly be appreciated, not only by me, but but countless customers that need art restoration to cultural artifacts.

Sincerely,
Amber Anderson
Arts Conservator
Eastlake Galleries, Inc.

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Gary
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Posts: 6091
Joined: Oct 30, 2007 11:30 pm
Location: San Diego / Beijing

Post by Gary » Nov 5, 2007 2:31 pm

This will perhaps not be the most pleasant answer.

The supply of silk brocade in China defies all logic. If you buy one pattern and color shade one time, you may never see the same pattern and color again (forever). When we find a batch of silk that we like, we buy the whole run from the mill (about 10 reams or more).

Custom runs are available, but you may get what you want or you might end up with something completely different. This is why we simply wait for a run to be available, inspect it, and buy the whole lot.

These facts mean that matching the pattern and color shade of an antique will be nearly impossible.

I figure it's better to give you an honest account, rather than make it sound all cheery.
I've been struggling with this problem for over 5 years now. There are only 3 suppliers of silk brocade that is made specifically for artwork, in all of China (that I know of). One of them cannot be trusted at all. The other two still fall into the above description regarding how and what they supply, as well as reliability.

If you are mounting (or re-mounting) completely by hand, you might want to consider J.B. Silks: http://jbsilks.com/jbsilks.htm
Their quality is excellent (they inspect everything carefully) but the brocade they offer is quite thick. When I was desperate for silk about a year ago, I bought a bunch of silk from them and shipped from the USA to our workshop in Beijing. The thickness made it hard to work with, but it's good-looking stuff. They can send you a sample book, or sample cuts upon request. One good thing is that they speak English, so at least you can communicate with them. All of the suppliers that I speak of in China will only be able to speak Mandarin (both on the phone or in person).

Cheers,
-Gary.

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