Ann Marie Adams’ hand-painted silk scarves are elegant artworks that can elevate any outfit.
Ann Marie Adams creates small silk squares and rectangles that can transform an outfit into something new or elevate it from casual to more formal. Her floral designs are wearable gardens, and her abstracts are breathtaking examples of how a trained mind and hand can bring beauty into everyday life.
This Sunset Ridge artist’s work caught my eye when she displayed a sample of her scarves in the exhibit case at Southwest Brunswick Branch of the Brunswick County Library in February 2019. The floral designs were like soft, foldable Impressionist paintings. Adams’ use of classic Greco-Roman scrollwork in gold on a delicate silk scarf was breathtaking. I had never seen such artistry on cloth before. Her high level of skill and ability to create such brilliant, original and classical designs is not surprising considering her background.
“My formal introduction to art began in high school with a teacher who suggested I take some classes at Pratt Institute,” she says.
Adams holds a degree in textile design from the prestigious Pratt Institute. While living in Connecticut, she designed wall coverings and fabrics for many companies and won awards for her oil paintings, her work on enamel and in photography. A consummate professional who constantly challenges herself to improve, Adams began to work in painting on silk while still in Connecticut, training at the Silvermine Crafts School and the Brookfield Crafts Center in that state.
After moving to North Carolina, Adams continued her work on silk, mostly making scarves but also creating earrings and camisoles. She began to sell her scarves to neighbors who saw the beauty she created and quickly became customers.
No two pieces are alike. Each is hand-crafted with an original design inspired by her travels in Europe, Russia and the Caribbean or instigated by a specific request from the person purchasing the item.
Adams explains that there are several steps to making a scarf. “I work on three or four at a time,” she says. “Each one is different because each is hand-painted, freehand. The process includes two hours of steaming to make the colors more brilliant and hand washable. I add gold accents last and set the with an iron.” She notes that her paints and the cloth must be special ordered.
Maureen Keating, who plays Mahjong with Adams, says that while playing the game at Adams’ home she saw the scarves and immediately bought four — one for each of her three sisters and one for herself. “I love the way Ann outlines the flowers — they are so pretty,” she says.
Sandy Belcher, a former neighbor in North Carolina, agrees. “The colors and the patterns attracted me to her work. What she makes is so elegant. She spends a lot of time in the business designing things, and she is very good at it.”
Belcher adds, “When I lived in Sunset Ridge, we started playing golf together. I saw her scarves for the first time at a local crafts show, and I loved her designs. There were several that I wanted to purchase, but there was one I particularly loved so I bought it.”
Adams’ scarves range in price from $40 to $100 depending on the size and on the difficulty of making the item. She recently began selling her work through the Sunset River Art Gallery in Calabash. If you want a custom piece you can contact her through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.