Conversations with Cloth, Episode 4

Wednesday, January 6 is the last episode of this series from Slow Fibers Studios, Conversations with Cloth. Ana Lisa Hedstrom and Yoshiko Wada put on informative and very inspiring ‘Conversations with Cloth.’ They are wonderful and available to anyone in the world by Zoom.

Previous episodes are available to view! Topics have been on Shibori, Nui Shibori, and Clamp Resist. Terrific examples, up close directions, and always a collection of contemporary work.

This week will be on shibori in Africa and stitching on the sewing machine for resist. Also, I think, items from Yoshiko’s collection. Yoshiko has been the tour leader for many of my trips to Japan. I love her and her breadth and depth of knowledge

Upcoming series are in the works with real virtual workshops. Check out Slow fiber Studios for more information. I can tell you they are what you expect from Yoshiko and Ana Lisa.


  • Episode #4: Exporting Shibori to Africa from Arimatsu Narumi, 1948-49, Machine Sewn-resist, and Complex Substrate

Wednesday • January 6 • 2021, 1pm-3pm (pacific coast time)

Yoshiko and Ana Lisa will discuss creative solutions the Japanese artisans came up with to meet demand in the African market for wide width, quick production, and dramatic patterns. Examples of the artisans’ solutions were to use a sewing machine for compression-resist (kikai-sekka shibori), enlarge the scale of traditional techniques, and incorporate printed substrates. Ana Lisa will discuss her own way of using the sewing machine in her art textiles, and images from contemporary artists’ work will be shared.  We hope our analysis of a variety of artists’ and artisans’ technical and design approaches will inspire shibori practitioners to find innovative ways to scale up their production.

From left to right: (1) Kumo & Miura shibori, (2) Tesuji shibori & sewing machine, (3) Printed mock shibori, (4) Miura shibori on printed cloth, (5) Sewing machine resist, (6) Sewing machine resist & Nui and kumo shibori

The Start of 2021

New Year’s Day.
14” x 23”
Background:

Commercial cotton I dyed in indigo.
Center: Silk Velvet I got in Italy from the weavers.
This piece represents my hope for the new year for me. Simple, clear, and calm; but interesting.


The original idea was to turn the nap of the white velvet 90 degrees to make the border show. If one stands at exactly this spot you can see it. The velvet pile is so short there is almost no difference in the direction of the nap.


You can see I didn’t catch that one square was turned the wrong way when I put it together. It only shows up when you stand in that certain place. When I was working on it, I kept trying to get them all lined up correctly.


I bought this small piece of white velvet and loved it because it was so silky-soft, but I could never find a way to use it. I think cutting it into squares helped make it more than just a scrap. I’m glad I didn’t lose it! I chose the blue velvet because it looked contemporary to me. I used every millimeter I had.


Front-on, no pattern can be seen.


Almost New Year’s Eve

A Textile to Celebrate New Years’ Eve.

17” x 54”
This began as what I thought was a “scarf” that Indian women wear over their chest for modesty sake. I planned to wear it as a scarf. However, it was huge, and the silk taffeta was slippery and not crushable. I tried to wear it but was always swallowed up in it; or it was slipping off. I later found out it was a scarf to be worn over an outstretched arm. It would look nice that way, but I wonder how one would do anything but pose with it.


I loved it so decided to make it narrower and shorter by making some wide pleats. I tacked them down with red tailor’s tacks. As it progressed, more and more pleats were made until it came to scroll size. I discovered the back side had these nice ruffles.


Here you can see why I had to have it. Think of all the tying for the ikat to make the border.


The border all the way around was ikat-tied as well as the red parts!


Here’s a side view.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Peggy


Current Scroll Show: Part Two

A Needle Weaves Gauze! 36” x 22” (doubled).
Background:
The background is the main feature. Mentor, Milton Sonday, at the Copper Hewitt Museum in New York needle-wove this gauze piece (it was 22” long) long ago I assume! It’s unbelievable. He told me he had a frame set up somehow.
Center: A silk kimono fragment from Japan. I think this was a piece where they stenciled the design on the warp. First a warp is extremely loosely woven with a weft that zigzags up and across the warp to hold the warp threads in place. Then that “cloth” is taken off and stretched and stenciled. Then that warp is put back on the loom and woven as beautiful silk cloth. The designs were bold and a cheaper way to imitate ikat. The term for silk woven this way is: Mason. We visited the workshop and were blown away. Both Cathy and I ended up getting a piece of the stenciled warp threads, plus at least one gossamer silk scarf.


Fragments Worked into Felt. 37” x 20”
Background:
Commercial linen I dyed.
Center: I marked old cotton kimono ikat fabrics I got in flea markets in Japan with sumi kink. Then these pieces were laid on wool fiber and felted. I love how the cloth shrank into the felt. The cloth is OK to do this if you can feel your breath through it. (That means the cloth is open enough to work– we were told by Jorie Johnson.) I learned these in a workshop at Slow Fiber Studios in Berkeley where I’ve had amazing experiences.


A Fancy Twill Meets Peggy’s Mottled Cloth. 8” x 18”
Background:
I’ve woven this twill many times and I always like it. It was labeled “fancy twill” so I kept the name. It’s 3,2,/1,2. I think. I like the thick and thin ridges.
Center: A cotton fragment from wiping the bowl of kakishibu dye (green persimmon dye). The dye came from Japan. It has to be fermented for some years. I tried it for two years and didn’t get anything. I just liked the way some of the small pieces turned out.


Trying to Get Away with Something. 11” x 32”
Background:
Plain weave cotton shawl from the Philippines. Slash pattern due to random ikat weft threads.
Center: Satin weave silk dip dyed in black walnut dye. Notice where I ran out of silk warp yarn and substituted with another yarn and thought no one would know the difference. It makes me chuckle when I see how the left side did everything different: shorter on top and shorter on the bottom.  I couldn’t resist keeping it anyhow. I think it adds character. At least I don’t think it’s disfiguring. Or as a friend once said, “It doesn’t insult me.”


Closer look of the above.


The Special Time Between Christmas and New Year’s: Part One

Introduction:
I always look forward to treasuring this week between the holidays. I think I’ll do lots of projects and see a friend or two. In light of that, I’ll show work that I just put up in a little show here where I live. The pieces are more scrolls. This time the theme is about putting together a background and art that go together. My worktable is piled still with textiles waiting to find mates; or mates waiting to be attached and hung. I’ve begun a new project already.

Stary Night
15” x 40”
Background: Mottled blue commercial cotton I dyed with indigo.
Center: Sheer commercial cotton dyed with black walnuts. The “stars” came as accidents. Scattered French knots anchor the fabric in place so it can flow in the breeze.


Oshima Ikat Design
20” x 37”
This is the first piece as the viewer begins the walk along the wall of a hallway. Background: Commercial open weave linen from Tokyo.
Center: Silk fragment from Amami Oshima Island, Japan. This is the twice woven ikat we went to see. The ikat resist threads (warps and wefts) are woven on a loom with the threads in bundles ‘tied’ by the binding of warp threads which make a mat—one for each thread in a design. Then that is unwoven, and the threads put into a loom and the silk fabric is woven. It’s amazing—all of the processes as well as the end product.


White Satin
13” x 50”
Background: Part of a silk obi (sash) from Japan.
Center: Silk, 12-shaft satin that I wove just before the pandemic on my dobby loom. Just to see what 11 up and 1 down in a satin weave would look like with a rather fat silk warp with some irregularities.


A closer view of the satin piece.


Biggest Bags

I bought this in Japan at an artist studio. He had a tiny shop and this shouted out to me. When he said the price, I gasped because it was just a tote bag, right?  But he said it’s a work of my art and I immediately understood. I’m so glad I decided to get it. The size is: 17 ½ “x 11 ½”.


This is the other side of the bag above. The artist explained the concept. In Japan, and X means no. But in the US and X means yes. Also, an O in Japan means yes and in the US an O means no. He taught at a US university in the northwest I think. I’ve hung this on my outside door and enjoy it as an art piece. Because it’s white, I’m afraid to use it. At first I thought it might get stollen, it’s so attractive. Then I realized my hall mates were appreciative of my displays and the staff, too.


This huge plastic bag caught my eye in a fancy hotel’s gift shop we visited in southern India in February. (Boy am I glad we got home before the pandemic on February 4!) It measures 21 ½  x 14 “. The straps are 15” higher than the bag. I love hanging it on my shoulder—and being dramatic! When full it does get heavy. It’ 7” deep! 


This one came from Morocco. The leather is like a baby’s bottom. I saw a fantastically soft red jacket for a reasonable price but decided I’d never wear it so gave it up. That made me vulnerable when this bag showed up. I’ve carried my binoculars to the opera in it when we could do that.


This really doesn’t belong with totes for me, but it was used as one in the countryside in Japan. It is a draw string bag. It was in the window of an antique textile dealer’s shop and pulled me right in. Stuffed like this the diameter is 16”. I was told it would be thrown over one’s shoulder to carry stuff.


This isn’t big, but I just like it and it might give someone an idea. It’s only 8” tall. I have some wicker on the backs of my chairs that is starting to break. Here might be an idea for cutting up some broken wicker and making something.


Look what’s on the cover of the new Handwoven magazine!


BIG BAGS INTERRUPTION!

An Issey Miyake Bag Discovered in My Cupboard!

Introduction:
I watched Yoshiko Wada and Anna Lisa Hedstrom’s seminar, Conversations with Cloth this afternoon. It was the third session. There are more to come and they are wonderful and full of inspiration. And they can be streamed. The topic was Itajime—Clamp resist and there was a discussion about 3 dimensional ideas and Issey Miyake. I sat up and said to myself, “Where is my Issey Miyake bag? It would be perfect as a post in my series on bags!” He has designed clothes that fold down flat and open out in dramatic three dimension. We go there every time we are in Tokyo and before we get there, I think that maybe this time I will buy something. Then I see everything is way too much drama and way too much money and leave empty handed. But I’ve left filled with great pleasure at seeing gorgeous and ingenious art to wear.

The last time they had this small bag, and I am glad I got it. I treasure it but keep it wrapped in its original tissue hidden away in a drawer in my big tansu chest.


Here is the other side.


It is flat but opens out in folds. I wanted to take the photo before opening it out in case I couldn’t get it folded flat again.


Here I began to open it out. It was mentioned that there is a YouTube video about Miyake’s folded things.


Here it is opened out with its handles. They can be long or short, depending if you want to wear it over the shoulder or like Queen Elizabeth.


Another open view. I carried it at a family wedding once.


Here it is flattened again. I made it! I think I’ll keep it out for a while to enjoy it.


Bigger Bags

This post is about larger totes I’ve brought home with an astounding photo at the end of a woven-resist kasuri fabric. This bag came from Japan. It’s made of paper rice bags. A similar technique was use by a friend of mine using grocery bags she tore into various shapes. She covered her kitchen floor with them. It’s really beautiful as well as practical. I have no idea how the paper is treated.


This tote bag was made in the Philippines and is a great size and shape for file folders, etc. The weave is strong, but the bag is padded which is a good idea. Plus, it has a nice lining with a pocket or two on the inside. It really holds its shape no matter what’s inside.


This bag shows a traditional pattern made on the island Amami Oshima between the Islands of Kyushu and Okinawa in Japan. This pattern is found on busses, post boxes, and shopping bags all over the island. However, no one knows about the weaving itself or the technique. The ikat resist is done by weaving. More for the last photo.


The strap is attached on one side of the bag so the top can be folded down to make the bag smaller. I think this is a great idea.


On the other side of the bag the strap is attached further down so the bag can work even smaller. Notice the snap. That holds the folded part down on the inside.


Here is the black side at it’s smallest height with the strap attached at that level.


Here is the patterned side when the bag is folded down to it’s shortest. I would say it’s made of a canvas fabric with the pattern printed on.


Here is a piece of the real woven cloth. Not a traditional pattern, but contemporary. Look at the detail. Every warp and weft thread is tied for the ikat process by being woven into a thick mat. Then the mat is unwoven and put on a loom to weave the pattern. The cloth is known as Oshima in the textile world. Cathy and I went there specially to see it and we spent two days with a guide going to several places to see both the resist mats and the silk cloth being woven. Interesting enough, our guide knew nothing about any of this until he researched it for our visit. We were happy to see how impressed he was. We found two little shops that sold the fabrics in pieces and by the meter so we could bring home good memories. This piece is a part of a scroll that I put together on a cloth from a Kyoto fabric shop.


Big Bags

This is what started it all. I remember seeing this bag in a window in India quite a few years ago. I lusted for it but I knew I didn’t carry that kind of purses. Bought it anyhow and it hangs on a doorknob in my bedroom and I still love it.


This bag came from a specialty shop in a Japanese department store. Who could resist it?? The Japanese have the most beautiful purses and bags for textile lovers. I’d come to the conclusion that I would allow myself to buy tote bags that I like. Those I do use as well as love.


This one I think is from Japan, too. It is really useful.


I got this in China. The only thing in the fashion shop that appealed to me. I’m hoping that maybe some of these treasures will be inspirations to others for projects to make. They are fun and so useful and not too complicated.


More Light Play

A 12-shaft satin in silk. My neighbor across the hall suggested I cut my big squares diagonally. She is really a good person to have nearby.


The same piece with the light at a different angle.


A close look at the silk satin.


A closer view.


Another twill piece in one light.


The same piece in a different light. The border squares are all completely warp face—silk, of course.


Slow Fiber Studios Presents ~ Conversations with Cloth

A note from Peggy…

“I have absolutely loved every one of the many workshops I’ve taken with Slow Fibers Studios. Check out the video and you’ll see why. The workshops are deep in many ways: culturally, artistically, and creatively. I’ve taken classes with both Yoshiko Wada (and taken trips with her) and Ana Lisa Hedstrom and they always give a wealth of information as well as the tools to understand how to make things. I find each one has inspired me and Yoshiko has praised me for being “uniquely creative”. Whether you want to make your own creations, become more knowledgeable, or love seeing wonderful textiles, this is the place for you. Yoshiko and Ana Lisa’s depth can’t be surpassed. Yoshiko wrote the big book on shibori—in fact, she re-introduced shibori to the Japanese themselves. Ana Lisa’s fashions sell at Bergdorf’s in New York and are wearable with great pride and pleasure in the Bay Area as well—timeless, unique, stunning. Her creations are truly  conversations with cloth. I own two stunning, unique pieces that I wear to the fanciest places as well as on just nice occasions.


Conversations with Cloth

A four-part presentation on SHIBORI hosted by 
Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada with Ana Lisa Hedstrom

STREAMING SERIES ON ZOOM
10/28, 11/18, 12/9, 1/6

Conversations with Cloth – Fall/Winter 2020 Series Teaser from Slow Fiber Studios on Vimeo.

Conversations are streamed talks with esteemed textile artists and artisans, specialists, scholars in the field of textile art including in shibori, natural dyes, sashiko and quilt, weaving, fashion and costumes, delivered through Zoom webinar. 

The program will be interactive with Q&A after each presentation/conversation. We welcome participants to forward questions in advance using the online form

You may sign-up for the full streaming series at a discount or pick and choose episodes to attend. If you miss a specific episode you registered and still wish to see it later, we will send recordings for you to watch, for two weeks after the event date.

Guest Presenter: Ana Lisa Hedstrom

Ana Lisa is known for her signature textiles based on contemporary adaptations of shibori. Her textiles are included in the collections of museums such as the Cooper Hewitt, the Museum of Art and Design, the De Young and her work has been exhibited internationally. She has taught and lectured at numerous international Shibori conferences and schools, her awards include two NEA grants, and she is a fellow of the ACC.

Host: Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada

Yoshiko I. Wada is an artist, curator, and textile scholar, president of World Shibori Network, founder of SFS, producer of the Natural Dye Workshop series, and co-chair of the 1st – 11th International Shibori Symposia. She is the author of pioneering publications on kasuri and shibori. Today she continues to lead a wide range of workshops, lectures, tours, and symposia internationally, emphasizing sustainability & tradition.

A Gorgeous Fabric

I bought this in a favorite small shop in Kyoto and have loved it. I wore it once—last Halloween! It’s been hanging out now for a year and I’m ready to do something new to me. It’s done a lot in Japan and I thought of it when I bought it. I’m going to take it apart. The seams are all hand sewn. In Japan, I see fragments of kimonos that have been taken apart for sale. I have bought many over time at flea markets and high end shops. I plan to hang the panels separately. I’m thinking of hanging them close-ish and perpendicular to the wall. I’ll have to see about that.


Here is a closer look at the beautiful ikat job. And an appreciation of the cloth.


This is a section of the back. The center back seam is here as well as the tuck taken where an obi would cover it. The care taken to match everything is amazing.


An even closer look at the fabric. Gorgeous silk threads unevenly spun for the weft. A delight to see from near and far.


Scroll Project Update: I Will be Hanging Them Soon!

The linen scrolls are finally finished! And all 14 of them will be hung in our gallery space in the common areas in the retirement place where I live. Here are some of them hanging ready to be rolled into a room to be quarantined for a week. I began with white linen fabrics that I brought back from India in February—just before the pandemic hit. Way back in March I began dyeing with onion skins from our kitchen’s chef and black walnut dye I made a year ago.


Here is the rest of the 14 in the collection. I began with 9 different fabrics with the idea they would be subtle variations in color when they came out of the dye pots together. One fabric turned out to be silk so in all the different dye baths it was always the lightest one. Usually silk dyes the best and linen the lightest but I used techniques for dyeing linen and the silk wasn’t happy. The Ellis and Boutrup book came to me just at the right time. It’s hard to believe that everything started out white sometimes.


Here is one of the scrolls. I almost always arranged the pieces in the center from light to the dark. Often I basted the swatches to a backing pad I made out of cotton. Then I attached that to the background fabric. To make the small pieces lie flat I used French knots to tack them down.


Since I have been in lockdown all this time, I could not get to my studio to find matching threads for the French knots and stitching. I used what I had, matching the value of the thread to the fabric. Colors of the same value blended in so well they were barely noticeable—just like the threads had matched. I had a lot of spools of thread of different values to work with.


Fantastic Philippine Embroidery on Pineapple Cloth

This amazing piece of embroidery I brought home from our textile trip to the Philippines some years ago and made into a scroll. But the embroidery is more important than the scroll. I think this piece was meant to be part of a man’s shirt.


You can see how the fine threads are pushed around by embroidery to make the pattern.


Another close-up of the embroidery. You can see how the fabric had been pinned out taught while being stitched upon.


Here is the scroll as it hangs in my hallway. I couldn’t get far enough away for a photo straight on. I dyed linen fabric for the background. This piece is my half. We also visited where they were weaving with the pineapple cloth called pina cloth (I think). The warps and wefts were like hairs practically. Since the length of the pineapple plant’s leaves determines the length of the fiber, each length had to be joined together to form long threads—by hand of course.


A Project Finished Four Months Later

Finally after beginning with the idea 4 months ago, this velvet piece is finished! In April when my posts were about velvet fragments I brought back from Italy, I was working on how to mount this piece I loved to be a scroll. I didn’t want a hem at the bottom. (I liked the cut edge.) I ended up using a product similar to “Fray-chek”. I got “Aleene’s Original Stop Fraying” on Amazon. It’s amazing what can be gotten online when one can’t get to JoAnn’s.


The piece hung in my hallway for months clipped onto a yard stick with clothes pins. I didn’t want a hem so knew a regular stick couldn’t work. Finally, it dawned on me to use a beautiful piece of black bamboo. I’ve used it quite a bit and have a “goodly” amount of it in my stash. I think it’s perfect. Then I used mono filament from the bamboo to hang it.


The background fabric is the gazar silk I first posted about in April. Here is a repeat of a photo of it hanging off my ironing board that shows its body and sheerness. You may remember how I struggled to iron it perfectly. I wanted the background to be perfectly flat—like a scroll. I have had to accept some little puckers. I am realizing that a normal scroll is backed with paper so it can be absolutely flat and a textile is what it is: beautiful, but not paper.


My Dyed Linen Scrolls Progress Report

Introduction:
Here is the center piece of my first dyed scroll. In previous posts recently I’ve told about dyeing linen fabrics with 3 tannins (myrobalan, Brugueira, and quebracho) before mordanting with alum before dyeing with onion skins or black walnut dye. Sometimes I only used the tannins after-mordanted with alum and no dye. Sometimes I used an iron or copper afterbath. That means with 9 different fabrics I ended up with a lot of swatches too good to just go into a notebook.

I featured the swatches on the background cloths I dyed a week or so ago for my scrolls. Here is the first one. The pieces are only based in place. They came from two dye baths: myrobalan, alum, walnut and myrobalan, alum, onion with iron afterbath. The different fabrics took the dye deliciously different I think.

Here is the whole scroll. The background is dyed with myrobalan, alum, and onion skins. The linen fabrics ironed beautifully but wrinkled when I manhandled it. When I’ve made final decisions, I’ll do a good ironing with my wrinkle releaser and it should be beautiful. As of now, I’m not exactly sure of the dimensions and exact placement. The swatches can be exchanged around, too.

Here’s how I handled the black marks made from the safety pins during dyeing. I folded the pieces anyway I could so the marks wouldn’t be on the right side. The seam could hit anywhere in the back or on a side. You can see the mark on this one on the upper right.