Here is Lucy teaching in her Sashiko workshop at Slow Fiber Studios in Berkeley, CA. She gave invidivual attention to anyone who needed it. The workshop was 2 1//2 days. I had one day free before it started after I got back from Japan. Traditionally white cotton thread is stitched on cotton indigo fabric.Here near the end of the workshop she was showing how she stitches on paper that she paints and stitches on. Her art work is fantastic–sometimes has gold leaf and sumi ink. [click photos to enlarge]
A nice picture of Luci.
This is a square cloth used in Japan for wrapping things–called a furoshiki. The pattern technique is called sashiko. It is entirely done with running stitches. We learned about the culture of sashiko and the ins and outs of stitching. There was a lot more to it than one would think. Note that the corners are reinforced with the stitching.
This is how the furoshiki is tied to make a bundle for carrying things. The corners are reinforced where the knot is to be tied.
Here you can see the corner fringes where the tie was made at the reinforced corners.
I bought this little baby’s top at an antique store for $20 because it was so terribly soiled, thinking I might use it for patching. Yoshiko Wada would have nothing of it. “that was a very healthy baby”, she said and the stains are testimony to that. You should wash it and then stitch on patches to cover the spots. She suggested I use my own woven scraps. At first I rejected the idea, but came to love it. I dyed some of my scraps in indigo and turmeric and stitched them on. It was so pleasurable doing the composing of the patches and the stitching, too. I have lots of spools of sewing thread in my studio for weaving so I could match the colors quite well. My stitches aren’t all beautiful, but they got better with practice. [click photos to enlarge]
Sunday was another chuck full day..New in the morning and old in the evening, both stunning.
We drove out from Tehauntepec to Juchitan, about ten miles northeast. It is a town and on the map that had a big market in the square and lots of people were out because it was Sunday. We visited a contemporary embroidery artist. The pictures show how unique and gorgeous her work is.
Back home in Tehauntepec we visited a man whose family has been here for generations. He inherited the family’s huge home. He showed us his amazing collection of embroidered skirts and huipils. One after another along with commentary. The blank area on the chest was very large on the old pieces so there was space to show off gold jewelry. Today there is always a blank, un embroidered area as a token space but small.
Mr. Jose Manuel Villallobos showed a few of the white pieces with the ruffle that goes around the face and fake arms which dangle in front and in back of the body. These intrigued me at the textile museum on the first day. You’ll see photos of them being modeled. They are worn surrounding the face going into church and over the head and over the shoulders and back when leaving the church (as I understood it).
His house was lovely and very spacious. One area had two old, old floor looms all with features that old European looms had like I wrote about in my books. And like my own looms have that Jim Ahrens built.
We had dinner there. I feel full to the brim spiritually, mentally, and full of a wonderful dinner in a Mexican setting.
I forgot to tell about the beginning of the day when we visited Zenida Ortega Martinez before leaving our town of Tehauntepec. She showed embroideries that her mother made and ones she made herself besides her large collection. She also showed how she could balance a glass on her head. She did this with a full glass again at dinner.
Tomorrow is another day of hours on windy mountain road to Mitla. We retrace our way back toward Oaxaca about 3/4 of the distance. Mitla is at a junction of a small road heading northeast.
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Saturday we went to see two embroiderers in the village of San Blas. You would never have known such lovely work was behind the unmarked door to our first stopping place. Lucia LopezSarabia worked on a treadle sewing machine working on the wrong side of the cloth. It was velvet backed with polka dotted cotton fabric. The style for the village women was to have the hole for the neck be as small as possible and also the armholes I don’t know how they could stand those heavy tight garments. The second embroider worked all by hand. There is a photo of a finished piece which is one half of a skirt.
The last stop was to see weavers. We walked up a sandy path and found a delightfully shady area and a woman at her loom. Notice the strap around her hips. That is what makes it a blackstrap loom. She picks up threads with a stick to make the patterns. Yesterday the weaver used a needle for that. Another weaver sat under the tree and unrolled her loom to show what she had woven. There were things from the local weavers to buy. The main weaver’s house has a thatched roof. We saw several in the area.
The warping board seemed primitive but would do the job to measure out the threads for the looms. – Click 1st photo to see album.