Angavasthram Part 3

I thought it would be a good idea to show several Angavasthrams and to make sure you could see the length of them. And to emphasize the narrow width when they are all pleated and ironed. I have 7 and they are all gorgeous fine white cotton. Some have gold thread warp brocade for the outside fancy part and the red and black ones seem to have a red or black silk warp stripe with gold brocade.


Here you can see the outsides of them again. The middle one on the hanger measures a full 47 inches wide when opened out. It is 1 ½” wide when worn. I haven’t found anything about these narrow ones on the web so if anyone has any information, please send it in a comment or email me. Next time the subject will be: IRONING!


Angavasthram Part Two

Introduction:
My angavasthram textiles are priceless and national treasures. Bob remembered the man at the weaving shop told us. At any rate, I, too, treasure them and am hoping to find out more about them.

I thought the inside was so beautiful and interesting that it needed a second post. I think the inside might be that famous Indian muslin that’s thin enough so the cloth would go through a wedding ring. At any rate, it is beautiful. One of the wider ones was 2 ¼” when folded and opened out to a full 45”! I assume servants did the ironing.


This pattern was woven in near the ends on several but not all of them.


Here is how I saw them. I had no idea what was inside or at the ends.


Three of them were 2-sided—black on one side and red on the other. The others are white with gold patterning. Some were wide and some narrower when folded. I think if I ever show them, I’ll let them hang as they are folded in a group with one opened?? Now, I hate to get them mussed up.


A “Find” in a Junk Shop in SE India: Angavasthram

On the wall at The Bangala Hotel (A Traditional Chettinad Home), Tamil Nadu State, Southern India

A year ago I went with my tech guy on a photography tour to SE India—an area called Tamil Nadu. Up until then I had only used point-and-shoot cameras on my travels. I had a lot to learn; it was for serious photographers. I was the only textile person; however, we did visit a silk weaving business that had jacquard looms weaving silk saris. I bought a simple one that is wonderfully iridescent.
One day we had free time and Bob and I hired a “took-took” to take us to a village to look in the antique shops—more like junk shops—so they were interesting. In a cabinet with a glass door, I saw what looked to me like a bunch of decorative tapes or ribbons. There was a lot of gold patterning on these very long things. I asked to see them and thought they would be great for my scrolls that I was going to make when I got home. There was a large, framed photograph showing how they used to be worn which interested me mildly. Bob did the bargaining, and I came home with 7 different ones.
When we got to the hotel, a woman told me that they were called angavasthram. I wrote down the word and that was it.
The owner of the little weaving factory knew more and said that they were special, and I could not cut them up. That was that.
At the hotel outside our room were a few old photographs of men wearing the angavasthram! We took pictures of the photos in their frames, so they aren’t very clear but enough to see how important men wore them. I haven’t found much on the internet, except that it seems that this was unique to this area of India and worn by Brahmin.


This is what I saw in the junk shop.


So, I did make a scroll after all. I discovered that the inside was as interesting as the outside.


On the wall at The Bangala Hotel (A Traditional Chettinad Home), Tamil Nadu State, Southern India

This photo looked like a family photo with only the men wearing the anvagasthram.


On the wall at The Bangala Hotel (A Traditional Chettinad Home), Tamil Nadu State, Southern India

Another family photo I presume. I wonder if the different arrangements mean anything other than “taste”.  I also wonder about the bands on the foreheads, shoulders, arms and chest.


On the wall at The Bangala Hotel (A Traditional Chettinad Home), Tamil Nadu State, Southern India

Even this little boy gets to wear one. Notice that it is dragging on the floor in the back.


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!


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.


What to Do When It’s Hot and Smokey

Introduction
This is the first time in months that I missed a post every other day. When I had the post ready on the regular night, Monday, my tech guy said the photos could be much better. Today, Wednesday, he gave me a good lesson in “post processing” the photos. Here are the much-improved photos.

A big surprise was to see the fog coming in! Hooray for cool, clean air.


The fog coming in begins to hide the City. I got lucky catching the gull, fisherman casting, and people in the shot as well.


The theme of the post is how beautiful it can be when the fog comes in at the Golden Gate Bridge and over the Marin hills. And seeing it through sailboat masts.


Caught sight of a sea lion poking its nose up then diving down again.


Pineapple Plants to Cloth: Part Three—Warping

Here is the warping reel. The woman sits in the middle and reaches out to the pegs on either side. In the middle are the pegs for the cross. Children grow up with these processes so it’s in their bones.


Two threads are taken as one on the warping reel. You can barely see them against the man’s blue shirt.


The threads come from the “pancakes” that came from the bowls from the knot-tying people.


Two pancakes sit in the box. What looks like kitty litter is sprinkled on top to weight down the pancakes so the threads can be drawn off without tangling. This idea could be used by other weavers, I think.


Here is a photo of me wearing a gorgeous pina cloth dyed in indigo. This is the photo we used the photo for my blog—a rare good picture. I can’t remember who the other woman was but I remember the lovely evening vividly.


Here is what I did with the cloth when I got home. I have bars on my bedroom walls for hanging textiles. I love looking at that piece.


Pineapple Plants to Cloth: Part Two: Making Threads

Pineapple fibers are too short to be threads for weaving. They are joined with a specific knot to make the long threads needed.


This group of people are knotting the fibers to make long threads.


This woman has been tying for a long time.


This young girl is showing the joined fibers she has knotted together.


The threads fall into a bowl as they are tied. Later they are draw out of the bowls for warp threads in this studio—without any snarls!


This “pancake” came from one of the bowls. The threads will be drawn from it for warping. I brought one home just because it was beautiful and fascinated me. The end of the top thread was marked so one knows where to start.


From Pineapple Plants to Cloth: Part One

The first step is cutting the leaves in the field. Here you can see the length of the leaves and that they all seem to be the same length.


Inside, the process begins. The set-up is on the floor.


The leaves are stripped.


Then they are scraped. The scraper was a broken plate.


Finally the leaves are stripped down to the fibers. Next time, how the fibers of a certain length turn into long threads for warps and wefts.


More Embroidery on Pina Cloth

I’ve been looking at my photos from my trip to the Philippines in February of 2016 for more embroidery because the last post’s embroidery really moved me. This is on a gorgeous pina (pronounced pin-ya) cloth (made of pineapple fiber). This blue cloth may look familiar. I think both the warp and weft are the pina.


Here is a blouse I bought and was told it was for “pure” girls to wear! I have worn to the opera on occasion. It may not be pina because I only paid $50 if I remember correctly. But look at the embroidery.


This is the back of the blouse. Coming or going it is impressive.


Off Again: to Japan


Here are all the places we plan to visit together. I am going again with my friend Cathy Cerny. She has done all the planning just like in many previous trips. I counted 9 hotels in 21 days so we’ll be moving right along. I hope I can do a post every day! – Click photos to enlarge –

Our first trip is a flight to Amami Island to the town of Oshima. (it is way south and off my map.) We want to see a particular type of ikat called orijimi. The resist is done on a loom forming a mat with the ikat warps or wefts to be woven in. Then the mat is unwoven to reveal the resisted places (dots) where the warps on the original weaving resisted the dye. The dye is also a special mud dye from the area. Oshima fabrics are expensive and have been imitated. We will look at the selvedges to see the tiny white dots to be sure we are getting the true orijimi technique. A friend and expert sent me this precious fragment so we would know what to look for.

I’m going to China with Yoshiko Wada from Slow Fiber Studios


Here is one of the lovely towns we’ll visit before the symposium. There are three parts of the trip and I am going on all three–one before the symposium (Shanghai and ancient villages nearby), one in Hangzhou during the BoND Symposium on Natural Dyes (where my piece will be in the exhibition),  and the third after the symposium. On the first part we’ll visit Shanghai, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang with traditional highligts at Jin Ze Arts Centre.

The tour after the symposium will explore first-hand heritage provinces of minority group Yi in Sichuan, Guizhou, Yunnan and Yi Minority Aautonomous Prefecture. This area is most interesting and not so easily visited. These groups are ethnically different from the main Chinese people.

Another exhotic scene.

More from the last part.


 


Here is the website for Slow Fiber Studios China tour. Yoshiko’s trips are fantastic. She knows so many people and we visit textile people, not just tourist sites. 

I Got Accepted into the China Show!!


The Chinese National silk Museum is in a huge and beautiful building.

Here is one of the exhibition spaces. I wonder if our show will be there.

Now I have my business cards made–It is beginning to feel like it is really going to be.

I am going with my very favorite tour guide, Yoshiko Wada, with Slow Fiber Studios. There are two tours with her plus going to the BoND Symposium. The tour before is around the area of Shanghai and the tour after is to the Yi Minority Autonomous Region in Southwest Cina. Yoshiko’s trips are THE BEST. If you’ve folled my blog you know. I think registration is still open. Contact Slow Fiber Studios.

“Colorful World: Overview of Natural Dyes” The First Biennale of Natural Dyes 
The advent of synthetic dyes in the 19th century has brought a steep decline in the centuries-old productions of natural dyes around the world. The beginning of the 21st century, however, saw a revival of interest in natural dyes as more people turn to nature for solace and harmonious living. Now, many international communities are advocating the use of natural dyes in modern practices and promoting researches on ancient dyeing techniques. In recognition for these artistic and scientific endeavors, the China National Silk Museum (CNSM) organizes the first biennale of natural dyes, with an aim to embrace the beauty of nature, as well as to explore the ancient wisdom and knowledge embodied in the traditional craft of dyeing.

Jacket to be shared!


Here’s the jacket–Cathy Cerny and I are sharing it. I have the summer when I go to Japan and Cathy has the fall when her exhibition opens in the fall. After that we’ll dicide how the sharing will go. Neither one of us could bear to part with it.

Here’s a map of where I’ll be for the 11th International Shibori Symposium. I’ll begin around June 23rd or so. Bye for now! 

Japan Tour 2018 – I’ve Arrived


Travel Day/1. The airport in Tokyo was mobbed because it was the end of Golden Week a big holiday week. This was the line waiting for buses into Tokyo. We were thrilled that our friends met us and drove us to our hotel. Thank goodness for GPS! There’s an overwhelming amount of choice when it comes to places to stay in Japan. Some attractive options of late include the integrated resorts which provide casino-like entertainment for their guests. Check them out in more detail here – https://www.upscalelivingmag.com/are-the-japanese-ir-resorts-destined-to-succeed/. It may just be the kind of place that you’d want to stay on your next visit!

Travel Day 2. Our hotel. We have stayed here many times, so that’s why we chose it again. We would have liked to have stayed in a large, flashy hotel with a casino (a recent law has been passed that allows large-scale hotels to incorporate casino facilities – read more at https://www.entrepreneurshipinabox.com/22892/japans-ir-bill-and-how-there-is-a-gap-in-the-asian-gambling-market/), but it was going to be too expensive. As much as we enjoy gambling, we will be able to live without it. And we are definitely happy with this place! Seem so comfortable being in Japan again.

Travel Day/3. We knew we were here when we saw this in our hotel room.

Travel Day/4. Here were the instructions for the toilet. However it flushed automatically. Often I couldn’t find how to flush on previous trips.

Off to Japan Again!


I leave on May 5 and return May 30! The map shows where we’ll be travelling which is all new territory for Cathy Cerny and me. We’ll be more in the countryside (I think) this time. We fly into Tokyo at Narita Airport and soon take off to the north for Nagaoka after one day to visit our most favorite places and regroup. I marked our locations on the map with black spots. You will notice that there will be a lot of area to cover in 3 1/2 weeks. We’ll be staying in 10 hotels including our two times in Tokyo. At the end we have 5 nights in Tokyo for some time to revisit places and a flea market. We’ll be joined by two friends of Cathy for about a week or so and that will help a lot with translating and company. Otherwise it will be just Cathy and me. She did all the research for textile workshops, studios, shops and museums along the way. 

I am almost packed to leave in the morning. We can ship our big suitcases ahead to the next town and they will be waiting at our next hotel! This makes travelling in Japan really easy. We only have our carry-on bags with us on the train or when we have a hotel for just one night. 

I hope you can keep up with us (and that I can, too)!

My Travel Vest


After each trip I seem to need to patch worn places and last time, a 3-corner tear. (I learned the name for that kind of tear in 4-H as a kid). When we took this photo, I realized that I’d sewn one of the pockets shut!! Another job to do before the next trip. Here is the current version after the trip to Japan in May. It felt so good when I put it on for the photos–nice and clean. At the end of a trip it is limp from sweat and constant wearing every day! I love it because of the pockets: for my camera, purse, train tickets, hotel key pad and pen. This is a Safekeeper vest made by Marion Gartler in Seattle. She brought them to Berkeley for a trunk show a few years ago.