Listening to Raven Exhibit 1/1 - 2/26/23 Beth Shalom Temple Center Green Valley, AZ
Power Without Sacrifice
Full length Cape
designed and fabricated by Beth Surdut
Inspiration came from the feather capes of the Hawaiian royalty (alii). The longer the garment, the more powerful the wearer. Add the Maori kings and the women who chanted power into the capes, and the mask makers of Bali who believe their creations have souls. By donning a mask, a performer takes on its spirit.
The title refers to the fact that unlike the original tribal capes, no birds had to die for their beauty or ours.
Layer upon layer of color produces a depth and vibrancy unique to this medium. Hand-painted using French fiber-reactive dyes, American gutta serti mixed with gold flake, on Chinese silk.
I see my arm as a conduit from my mind to my hand, a direct channel. Most days the connection is clear; the white silk asks to be filled up with forms surrounded by gold, then painted with color and more color—the mysteries of life shaded, manipulated with brush and water, heart and mind.
My hand painted shirts, as well as my designs produced by Cooke Street, were featured in the exhibit Let's Go Hawaiian at the American Textile History Museum in Lowell, MA. I was also hired to design the entire exhibit of primarily vintage shirts.
Starting from the deck of an ocean liner, visitors experienced the enchantment shirts displayed in a jungle with a lava rock waterfall, a 22-foot long
Rainforest Aloha Shirt, designed and painted by Beth Surdut
As a freelance professional textile designer living in Hawaii, I could stand in downtown Honolulu at lunch time and watch my designs walk around on what I call "the business man's aloha shirt."
But when you wear a custom garment this gorgeous, strangers will walk up to ask "where did you get that!"
Moorish Idols and Coral, Hand-painted silk Aloha Shirt by Beth Surdut
Hibiscus Aloha Shirt hand-painted silk by Beth Surdut
Woodland Men's Shirt designed and hand-painted by Beth Surdut
Mango Aloha Shirt, hand-painted silk Hawaiian shirt by Beth Surdut
Yellow hibiscus--painted silk top.
Persephone in Winter 8" x 54" silk scarf