When is a scarf more than an accessory? When it’s labored over for about two years.
It took artist and photographer Jason Kinney about that long to create his line of limited-edition screen printed scarves, Pauper Voile. Available at Frances May and on Etsy, each one was handmade at his Burnside studio and features an original print.
At about $150, they’re not cheap…so I asked Kinney for a few more details. After the jump, his inspiration for the clever prints, the totally modern way he learned silk printing…and a little justification for buying something pretty!

So what motivated you to make these pieces?

A few years ago a was in the McQueen boutique in NYC, and I came upon this beautiful silk scarf, about 50" square with a multi-colored cathedral window theme. I thought, wow, this can be my credit card splurge! $300, $350, it's mine! I looked at the price tag and my heart sank. It was $750. Sigh.

A couple of years later I came upon a small Sukie bandana that I purchased for $14. That, and the former recollection, got me thinking about doing some for myself, and if it worked, maybe I could sell a few. Initially I wanted to keep the price point down to around $50. Alas, all the work that ended up going into the project, and that goes into each scarf, ended up making each one more of an art/craft piece, thus, pricier.

The sailor print scarf:

I know it's been a while…exactly how long have you been working on them?

I started about a year and a half ago on the wood block piece while still in Charlotte, NC. I started on the screens about a year ago, here in Portland.

Okay, so your process is pretty complicated...can you break it down for us?

The designs are adapted from various sources. The cathedral window scarf is based on a medieval architectural drawing of a cathedral rose window. I was all for just copying the design and blowing it up for the wood block and screen, but this proved more complicated, involving tracing, making weird paper stencils, some freehand work. The sailor-themed scarf is a hot-tranny-mess of old found images, reworked like hell in photoshop. The scarf with the dancers on it is adapted from William Blake drawings.

The wood block is a 4' square piece of grade A ply with the design cut into it with a rotary tool. The screens I made from wood to emulsion, and that process is too long to reiterate here! Looking on the internet to find out how to silk screen on fabric, especially this large, was frustrating. One can find plenty on how to silk screen tee shirts and posters, but god forbid how to do it on a large piece of fabric. I did manage to find, on Youtube, an Hermes mall demonstration on how they do their scarves.

A gown from Gaultier Spring 2007 Couture, which informed the colorway of the sailor scarf:
I know we've talked about some of your inspiration...but tell me about it in more detail....

Art, fashion... the usual sources of inspiration. Sometimes I'm having a block on some colorway ideas, then I just turn to my library of art tomes and fashion magazines and the flood gates open. Another thing particular to the idea of a scarf: I love being at the fabric store and feeling the fabric, and enjoy it in that state of potential. A scarf is an excuse to have a piece of fabric be in that state of itself, something to drape about you.