We found this wonderfully intersting paper in an antique textile shope in Tokyo (Morito).
It has hundreds of “skins” from the nests of tiny bugs. The Japanese call them bag worms or Minomushi.
They are beautiful in of themselves but to see them sewn into a long obi is mind boggling.
Here is a detail. Can you see some of the tiny stitches?
This is a fragment of an obi that was given to me years and years ago. I always thought it was from silk cocoons but could never figure out how. Now I see that it is also made of Minomushi.
A detail of the obi fragment.
This piece is one of two I have by Adela Akers. She weaves narrow strips on her 4-shaft floor loom. Here are two stitched together with black horse hair woven in. Between the folds she has attached little red twigs from a tree in her yard. The red is the natural color, she painted the black color. The piece is 12” wide by 14” tall. [click images to enlarge]
This is another piece woven by Adela. Here, three strips are joined. Again, she has woven in horse hair. It is about 12” x 11”.
This piece is by Sandra Greenlee. I love the simplicity/complexity, borders, everything. She weaves in the black patterns using inlay technique. I read that she opens the shed then decides what black threads she wants to lay in, each weft at a time. Originally I thought she had a jacquard loom—and I was crazy about the fact that she used it so sparingly. How mistaken I was—but I think it would be a good thing to try. Dimensions are 9 1/2” x 12 1/2”. Notice how nicely she finished the top and bottom and designed the selvedges.
The last piece is by Lia Cook. I remember fondly when she was weaving these lovely twills in fat rayon butchers string and then pressing them hard to flatten the large wefts. Dimensions are 7” x 8 ½”. I often wondered if it was one of her original samples. It gave me the idea of framing some of the experiments that I wove.
How these have inspired me:
Each artist has inspired my own weaving. I have used horse hair in my sheer silk pieces. I wove rose thorn twigs in other sheer silk pieces. I have always been fascinated by selvedges and little warp face patterns. And I pressed some linens I wove after hearing Lia talk about flattening her pieces using a rolling pin. I have these pieces on my walls in my living room and they continue to bring pleasure and inspiration.
Here is the rug I got in Italy–all clean and mounted. What I loved was that is is of such fineness–in scale and in thickness and in design. The pile is extremely short so the pattern can be so fine. It is a storage bag face (chuval) , Turkemen, Tekke from Central Asia. A professional textile restorer and conservator, Joyce Hulbert did the beautiful mounting and she organized the professional cleaning. I have it hanging in my hall way so I see it everytime I come and go from home. Notice how thin it is–the pile isn’t worn down so low–it was made that way. There are several disigns as though the weaver was trying out different ones in the bands. I’m thrilled with it. It is from the third quarter of the 19th century–around 1875–pretty old so be saved all these years.
Here is what I made of the tangled warp.I love the rag balls and determined while working with them that they surely were meant for weaving rag rugs.Such a pleasure it was to think of the woman who made them.Each rag was carefully sewn to the next and all were uniform in size and weight.They were nice and narrow so turned the corners beautifully at the selvedges.
The second photo shows all of the pieces I wove with the rags.They are about 25” long.I wove in something interesting at the tops of each of them.The third photo shows one of the horse hair pieces.The fourth, weaving with twigs that had little dried berries.The last photo is with rose hips and rose canes.What a pleasure to weave with some large wefts for a change.Now the loom is getting ready for the next project: more ruffles. [click first photo to start slideshow]