Silk Scarves Serve as Canvas for Local Artist

Inspired by nature, the wearable art of Priscilla Kromnick is adding a splash of color to the Reyes Adobe holiday store.


While the Agoura Hills Cultural Arts Council’s vision is to create an environment where the arts become woven into the fabric of Agoura Hills, one of its members is weaving her own vision of beauty into handmade silk scarves.

A creator of wearable art, Priscilla Kromnick will be one of 20 artists to feature their wares at the Reyes Adobe holiday store, set to kick off for this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Her work is featured in numerous museums and galleries from L.A. to New York, including the Four Seasons Hotel in Westlake, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Calais & Co. in Ojai and del Mano Gallery in Los Angeles. Kromnick is also a member of the Cultural Arts Council, which was founded two years ago.

As a fiber artist with an affinity for watercolor, Kromick is a colorist who utilizes the flowing canvases for her artistic expression, a suitable medium to imbue with amorphous forms derived from nature. Working from home, both in her living room and studio, Kromnick spends three hours on each scarf.

One of her favorite methods is a 600-year-old Japanese technique called Arashi Shibori, or “the language of stripes.” Consisting of folding and twisting silk before wrapping it and binding it around poles, traditional Shibori artists utilize only one or two colors.

Kromnick makes the method her own with a signature use of multiple hues, creating a tie-dye effect that’s distinctly California style.  

“Watercolor is really my favorite form of art, whether it’s on fabric or on paper; I love it. And I love the mistakes that watercolor makes. I don’t use gouda, I don’t use resist... I like the way dyes flow. I like the way they run together and create colors,” she said.

Another series that exemplifies natural forms with a completely different look is available at the Thousand Oaks-based metaphysical shop, The Hummingbird and the Honey Bee.

“They have a lot of really high-end minerals and beautiful stones, and so they commissioned me to do scarves that looked like the stones,” Kromnick said. “They’re called Inspired by Nature. All of my scarves are inspired by nature, really.” 

Born on the east coast, Kromnick earned an art degree in fiber art and printmaking from the University of Maryland. Starting with batiks, Kromnick went onto weaving, spinning and printmaking before finding her passion.

Although she used to weave her own scarves, she now sources hand made scarves ranging from 100 percent silk to rayon (“which really pick up color”) and velvety silk-rayon blends (“which make the foreground really pop”).

Like a painter, Kromnick starts off with a blank canvas that she then stretches out before applying French-based water dyes with a brush, natural bristles only. For the velvet scarves, she also incorporates fabric markers.

Kromnick and her family moved to Agoura 16 years ago “for the schools” and was art docent at Willow Elementary.

“I helped with costuming at Lindero Middle School, creating costumes for the musicals and then at Agoura High, I was vice president of the PFC, music boosters and theater boosters,” she said. “When my youngest daughter was in high school, I thought 'I need to start doing this for myself.'”

For the first time, the council is sponsoring the Reyes Adobe holiday store.

“The cultural arts council is not only trying to promote culture in the area, but trying to engage the artists that live around here and that’s one of the things we’re trying to do with the holiday store,” Kromnick said. “We’re trying to bring in local artists--there are all these amazing local artists that nobody knows about.”

The holiday store will showcase a diverse range of works, from photographers to painters and more, with 25 percent of the event’s proceeds going back to the Cultural Arts Council and the Reyes Adobe.

“It’s so exciting to see all the local artists in one place and actually have items for sale, and it’s very affordable," she said.

Most of the items are priced under $100. Kromnick’s own Shibori-style scarves run in the $60 range.

“The cultural arts council is trying to promote culture in the area, but we’re also trying to engage the artists that live around here and that’s one of the things we’re trying to do with the Art and Gift Gallery. We’re trying to bring in all these local artists, there are all these amazing local artists that nobody knows about...Reyes Adobe gets better every year,” she said.

The  also called the Art & Gift Gallery, will be open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. starting Saturday and running through January 6 at the Reyes Adobe Historical Site, located at 30400 Rainbow Crest Drive. Free gift wrapping is available.

Kromnick will also be displaying her wearable art at the 2012 Holiday Home Tour Boutique in Westlake Village. Taking place December 1 and 2, all proceeds from the boutique will go toward the Cancer Support Community Valley/Ventura/Santa Barbara. 


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