Freelance Writer, Ghostwriter for business, finance, technology

freelance writer, finance writer, ghostwriter, copyeditor, freelance editor Sharon Rockey is a freelance writer/ghostwriter for print and on-line media. She writes and edits for business, finance, technology, lifestyle and the arts. Visit her on-line portfolio and contact her for your next project.

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    David Ludwig could be called a master
    of artistic alchemy. With a paintbrush
    for a wand, he can invoke the very
    essence of art, poetry, music, and
    dance, stir in vibrant liquid colors and
    conjure up pure silk magic.

    by Sharon Rockey

    David's silk art appears in the most unexpected places adorning and complementing other forms of art, such as exquisitely painted silk veils swirled around seductive Middle Eastern dancers or draped as huge luminous backdrop scenes for ballet performances of The Nutcracker.

    While an ethereal quality blossoms in David's work, its roots are in solid ground. Before creating Silk Spirit in 1995, a company which presents new concepts in silk art, David spent 35 years as a residential architect. He is also an accomplished photographer and graphic designer, works in pastels and watercolor and has a passion for dancing.

    David's interest in dance stems from his own dancing experience beginning at age sixteen, as well as from supporting his four dancing daughters, the last of whom was a student of the Berkeley Ballet Theater. It was there that the seeds of Silk Spirit were sown. The Julia Morgan Theater, home to the ballet school, presents the unique technical limitation of having no "fly space", the space above the stage from which a backdrop can "fly" into the middle of a scene. David worked with the directors to find an artistic solution to this problem.

    He created light weight backdrops by painting scenes onto 45 inch panels of silk which were stitched together and held in long black velvet bags suspended above the stage. Some of the backdrops, like the one used in Act 1 of The Woodland Prince, are fixed, while the snow covered forest scene in the middle of The Nutcracker's Scene 1, gently floats down. All the sets are simply folded up and stored in small boxes after the season finale.

    Because silk dying was a new medium for David, there were surprises in store. The snow scene backdrop with its simple black on white color scheme, was damaged by floodwaters. Black dye ran and bled into patterns in lively shades of greens and blues, but all was not lost. The silk was cut into 36 inch square scarves, the edges were hemmed and David applied a thin gold line border with the words "Berkeley Ballet Theater, The Nutcracker, The Land of Snow" The scarves were sold as a fund-raiser and a second snow piece was created with the proceeds. At this year's performance, to the delight of ballet patrons, T-shirts are available displaying his image of the new snow scene and the words, "Celebrating a Season of Fresh New Snow."

    When David created the backdrop with for Act II of The Nutcracker, the piece won a national contest in 1995 and will appear in a book called "Fresh Ideas in Silk Painting" soon to be released by North Light Books.

    While his skills in silk painting were developing, David became interested in learning and performing Middle Eastern dance. Dance veils are an integral part of the performance, but the veils were nothing more than pieces of printed yardage. The scale and specialized ceremonial use of dance veils inspired him to create delicately detailed hand painted silk veils. After researching Arabian art, he found that floral or geometric borders were standard motifs and often included Arabic lettering.

    With this design in mind, David created beautiful veils with patterned borders laid out with gold gutta resist and accented with contrasting procion dye colors. Many include bits of poetry and meaningful quotations painted in a calligraphic style.

    His collection of silk art includes dance veils, silk shawls and capes as well as large scale theatrical sets, wall hangings and murals.

    In addition to his time spent successfully operating Silk Spirit, David is also a Senior Designer at the Marin County architectural firm of Jared Polsky and Associates. He currently lives in San Rafael, California where he shares love and life with his creative partner, Phyllis Woodward, an artist, published poet and owner of a companion business, "Say it with Silk", which provides a growing list of clients with her own beautiful silk creations.

    You can meet David by reserving space in his one-day silk-painting workshops held at his studio. With no experience necessary and all materials supplied, you'll come away with your own hand painted silk shawl or veil. And, as if that were not enough, where else will you get a chance to watch a geniune alchemist at work?

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