Janey Harrington remembers the moment she fell in love.
It started with her brush touching silk, the creative juices percolating in her head.
Harrington still gets chills taking about what has become her passion and also, a new normal. “I felt like I was breathing the first true breath I had breathed in over 24 years. I absolutely love what I do,” says the owner of Silk Creations by Janey.
The self-taught artist follows her own process of layering dyes to create one-of-a-kind colors. Her eye-catching designs inspired by love on brilliant hues make the wearer feel beautiful because of their stunning look and luxurious texture. Flowers, including irises, tulips, magnolias, sunflowers and hibiscuses, along with dragonflies and abstracts, are among her favorite subjects.
“I don’t copy,” she says. “Each design is unique. I create art that can be worn, shown, displayed on a wall or over the shoulder in colors that will bring joy, love, and passion to everyone who has a Silk Creation by Janey.”
Harrington starts by stretching a white piece of silk to create a canvas on a wooden frame. Though edges of the fabric can touch the frame, the silk canvas must be suspended in the air. She draws freehand using a water-based wax resist before painting with the colored dyes that produce bold, expressive designs. It can take eight to 65 hours to create just one piece. Her abstract creations follow an even more tedious process.
“All of my abstract pieces are done with a complete purpose in mind,” Harrington says, noting some may have as many as 40 layers of dye on them to create a unique sense of movement all done by brush. “Unlike marbling, my abstract designs are all done by multiple layers of brush- applied dyes specific to every area on that piece of silk.”
Harrington did not grow up an artist, choosing the more practical route in college, graduating with a business degree from Virginia Tech. She raised two children, managed a powerboat business and earned a real estate license.
Finally enrolling in an introductory art class laid the foundation to teach herself everything she needed to know to work toward perfecting her own process.
Her passion and profession are one and the same now. Harrington creates in her home studio — an eclectic mix of tunes from Adele, Queen, Ed Sheeran, Trans-Siberian Orchestra and even Eminem along with many ectaras playing in the background. Or you might find her at Artful Dimensions Gallery in downtown Fredericksburg, where she welcomes visitors to watch and ask about her creative process.
“My life is very different now from what it used to be, and when my normalcy ended, I had to find a new normal,” Harrington says. “We evolve in our lives and I’m not just talking about age. Our interests and our passions and our abilities change. It’s important to look for new things to continue to find the joy in everyday living.”
When not in the studio, Harrington is selling her work mostly at venues in the Northeast, including art shows sponsored by Rose Squared. She’s been devoted to the shows since meeting Rose Squared founders Howard and Janet Rose years ago. She’s happy to take commissions that free her to use her creative license.
Find Silk Creations by Janey at Verona Park on May 20-21, 2023. Harrington also plans to return to New Jersey for one of the Rose Squared shows this fall.