San Tan Valley family gets creative with silk scarves, paint

Galvin Shockley, right, of San Tan Valley, pulls his scarf out of the water with the help of Oliver Greenwood of Mayu Silk Art. (Arianna Grainey/Independent Newspapers)

Galvin Shockley, right, of San Tan Valley, pulls his scarf out of the water with the help of Oliver Greenwood of Mayu Silk Art. (Arianna Grainey/Independent Newspapers)

Mayu Silk Art, a California-based company, and the Children’s Cancer Network of Arizona provided area families affected by cancer the ability to make their own handmade scarves. The general public also had an opportunity to make scarves, as a buy one-give one program to help cover the cost of the families making theirs.

Michelle Shockley and her son Galvin from San Tan Valley attended the event.

They found out about the event because her other son was diagnosed with cancer, and they are on the mailing list for Children’s Cancer Network.

“It sounded pretty fun, the silk scarves, making them and dipping them in the paint,” Ms. Shockley said. “It sounded like an exciting event to go to.”

Jo Coen, a part-time resident of Chandler, attended the public event with a few of her girlfriends.

They found out about the event because one of the women’s sons gave her a scarf he made for her. Ms. Coen loved her friend’s scarf and wanted one.

“I was most impressed with the fact that we learned that a percentage of the proceeds of these scarves are going to children cancer research and the foundation,” Ms. Coen, who herself is a cancer survivor, said.  “I think it’s delightful that children will be able to indulge in and participate in making a scarf or two for themselves or their mom.”

To make the silk scarves, a person picks out the colors he or she wants and then either can pick a pattern or do a free form design. The patterns are created by tools created by knocking nails into wood, to create a comb effect. The tighter the combs are and the more color added, the smaller, more intricate the design becomes.

“Just watching the paints change color and the designs it forms when you actually dip the scarves are pretty cool to see the finished product,” Ms. Shockley said.

“They sort of evolve in front of your eyes,” Ms. Coen said.

Phil Greenwood and Star McCain started Mayu Silk Art 14 months ago.

“My wife, Star, had done it as a hobby, for quite a few years,” Mr. Greenwood said. “We decided to try it out and do a few craft fairs and see if people liked it.”

Mr. Greenwood said that his favorite thing about the art is that anyone can do it.

“I tell people ‘We have had a 2 year old do it,’ which we have had many 2-year-olds do it. About 30 percent of our business is small children,” Mr. Greenwood said. “There is something real special when you get a 4 year old that has created something that they just can’t believe that they have created it.”

Even if you have no artistic abilities, you can make something beautiful in a matter of minutes.

“When you pick that scarf up and go ‘wow, holy cow, I didn’t see that coming,’” Mr. Greenwood said, “that’s the wow moment when everyone goes, ‘how does it stick’?”

This is not their first event where they give back, Mr. Greenwood said. They have done events with cancer patients and their families in Hoag Hospital in Orange County in California, adults with special needs and also Marines suffering from PTSD, he said.

Go online for more information about Mayu Silk Art.

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