Baker creates awareness of nature through her silk art

Carol Baker, who was born in Los Angeles, now lives in Ormond Beach.

A vibrant flower that explodes onto a silk scarf is one of many scenes of nature and landscapes that silk artist Carol Baker captures.

"It’s like the wind hit a dandelion. It’s blown out. All different colors," said Baker of her "Windflower" scarf.

Her other unique silk art creations: "Ferns and Feathers," which can be worn as a scarf or displayed as a wall hanging, is draped tantalizingly next to her pillow, "Butterfly Psychedelic." They can be found in the Art Gallery of Viera in The Avenue.

Baker, who was born in Los Angeles, said her fascination with dyes and what they can do to a material began with dyeing rag rugs on a loom in the 1980s in the Ozarks.

By the 1990s, she was "drawn to the luminescence and watercolor-quality of the transparent dyes on the shimmering silk." Since 2015, she has lived in Ormond Beach.

The multi-step process includes ironing the silk. Then, she draws an image with a watercolor pen and uses a resist of Gutta to stop the flow of dye to make the boundaries for the colors in certain areas.

The silk is set to dry overnight. The outcome? Think Peter Max’s vibrant colors. 

Baker, a watercolorist, said when you apply paint on silk, it migrates differently than on paper. 

"You have more shininess on the fabric. It translates into a lot of energy."

When the colors spread on the silk, Baker said it’s magic. 

"It’s incredible. You have to be fearless. You have to let the color flow," Baker said. 

Baker wished she’d had more of a business background when she first started out. But, her longtime friend and fellow artist, Jane Benight, admired Baker’s promotion of her work. 

That’s something women need to do more of to achieve recognition for their work, said Benight who lives in Portland, Oregon.

When Baker lived in Little Rock, Arkansas in the 1980s, she was selected to create an ornament for the White House Christmas Tree.

"I want to take a page out of her book," Benight said in admiration. "She’s a very committed artist, and her designs are inspired by her love of the outdoors."