Silk (iOS)

What an elegant–and elegantly-simple–app this is!

The premise is just as simple: spin silk in 20+ colours with 20+ brushes. 

When I say “spin,” I actually do mean SPIN, for the less-intricate brushes don’t put down colour in a single stroke, but in a manner that feels like casting a net. 

Like the notion of gathering and then flinging a very small skein of fishnet. And the cool part is that the baby net does not stop moving for a second after you’ve discontinued the application of pressure (via stylus, digit, or Apple Pencil). 

In fact, here:

I do realise, by the way, that some serious artists (or even people who are pursuing that goal) consider that to be a drawback rather than a cool thing, but Silk (like a very few other apps that also keep “spinning”) is not the sort of software or app that most artists could theoretically create on (and earn a living with) for years on end, exclusively, anyway.

Had I any less affection for this app, I might use the words novelty, or gimmick, even; in fact, a detractor might call this a glorified spirograph. And in the hands of certain users–those who gravitate toward the more intricate brushes every single time, for example–it could appear that way. 

This calls to mind a question I’ve long asked myself, namely: “how much of the work does one have to do in order to be considered the primary artist of a work?”

For example, if a toddler were to jab the screen of an iPad belonging to her parent or aunt or uncle–at their instruction or coaching or bribing (or terror that she would actually drop the pricey tablet)–and Silk churned out a lovely design that ended up winning an art contest, who is actually the winner of the contest? 

The owner of the tablet, since he or she was (ostensibly) the purchaser of Silk (or the iPad itself, even)? 

The toddler who jabbed the screen – regardless of where the idea to jab the screen came from in the first place? 

The person who DID have the idea of opening Silk on that occasion (for whatever reason)?

The person who submitted the image to the contest?

Or the creator of the app? After all, was it not that app-creator who did all of the heavy lifting? In other words, without her/his app, that design would not have happened in such a manner. (Put another way, could it not be compared to someone who picked up the camera for the first time and just happened to get a candid shot of a photogenic celebrity and then won Photog of the Year? Or a person who took a snapshot of a pyramid or a gorgeous botanical garden or even some random picturesque scene in the country? Certainly, the composition and the cropping and the colors, among other things, determine how aesthetically-pleasing a particular image is (leaving for a moment the whole “beauty in the eye of the beholder” thing). 

My point is, however, to do with taking credit for beauty that one did not create. Like, if I took a Polaroid of the Mona Lisa would cafepress or Zazzle allow me to print “my” image on a single shirt? Further, would they allow me to sell that shot and get the full royalty for it? (How about if the Polaroid was of a celebrity who is alive, or the work of an artist who is also living?)

On the other hand, it could be argued that someone else’s hands or stylus may have produced a very different design. 

A decidedly-not-award-winning design, I might add.

Like any or all of these, in fact:

Anyway, enough talk of philosophy, and back to our regularly-scheduled program!
The brushes look like this:

The colour-choosing thing looks like this:

And your drawings might look (something) like this:

Mellow music lowers your blood pressure as you spend, like, half an hour (or three) trying to figure out how to, um, spin the strand of silk in the direction that best suits your artwork.
(Which actually means, “reconstructing your heretofore-lovely images, which have been ruined by your enthusiasm,” which actually means, “YO, Sall! You REALLY have this problem with quitting whilst ahead. Settle down, already!!”  


The silk is just so flaming SPARKLY, I simply can’t help it! It’s like glittery thread or something, except not the kind of glitter that’s as big as your fingernail, practically. Oh, a better way to think of it is like liquid glitter, maybe. 

But, like…

Why waste your time thinking about it when you can just download the app and find out for yourself, though?! 

(No, I’m not getting kickbacks from them. And I do believe that Silk was free when I downloaded it, though I’ve been noticing pretty large fluctuations-of-price in the App Store, of late. 

Summer sales? 

Who can say? 

I sure can’t. 

But I *can* say that I’ve had a field day with this app, and you might, as well. 

Here’s hoping that you do!