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Posts from the ‘Kumihimo’ Category

Japan – and desperately seeking textiles

takadai braiderThe Japan Textile Tour 2017 with Intentionally Different was another amazing adventure in Japan. Once again we travelled city and countryside, through very long mountain tunnels, alongside tremendous rivers and the mountains of changing autumn leaves. The itinerary and organisation of the tour allowed us to see many textile places in more remote areas and in a short time span.

The tour, after the workshop in Saori no Mori, went to Iga.  This is a town famous for braiding (and Ninja).  Our introduction was by master braider, Hideko Matsuda who is one of 14 takadai braiders in the town. At 70 years of age braiding fills her day and she sits on a high mounted platform on her knees to do the braiding with 60 weighted bobbins.  It’s these small things that we can see in Japan that we might overlook. Within these small braids lies a lot of history and continuing craft practice, even when a braid has come from a factory setting. I gave each of the travellers a mardai card to enter this world in a small way, making a round braid while we were travelling. It’s hard to know when a hands-on offer is right. Double cocoons I was delighted that it was generally well received.  With a hands on offer while travelling we can’t enter a more sophisticated or highly skilled experience because there are differing interests in the group and time constraints.  It takes 12 years to be a designated braider and we just didn’t have the time on tour!  Read more

Weaving with passion and verve

Saori Inspired weavingThe last workshop in the Curiousweaver studio for 2014 came to an end sadly on Sunday. Like a family filling a house making it a home, the studio feels so much better when filled with enthusiastic Saori weaving adventurers. Trying a bit of this and a bit of that, each working to their own rhythm and style.  It’s so fascinating to meet others via the cloth they create. Sometimes, unbeknown to them, I can sense more of where they will travel to with the craft. I was honored to have another participant for her third workshop and her weaving aesthetic has developed to a wonderful place.

More workshops will be arranged for 2015 and will be listed here.

Rouge, as an artist in ceramics and textiles, was experimentive and fluid in her approach by using a painterly approach with her wefts. This was accentuated by bringing along much of her own palette to use. She experimented with a few distinctly Saori approaches in the weave as it grew into a unique art gift for someone close.
Helen used a sweet neutral to purple palette to create a lovely scarf. As a someone new to weaving her hands were attuned to the possibilities at every throw of the shuttle. She also inspired us with her exquisite Kumihimo necklaces. I was so inspired that I set up a card for everyone to learn the 16 strand braid. A great site with a braid generator was recommended by Helen.

Shirley was an experienced spinner who was able to transfer her love of yarn to a cloth that has intricate surprises and wonderment throughout, including serendipitous design features which created more follow on ideas. Like that hole which could be done again….Her work with the travelling supplementary warp thread was particularly  joyful.

Pamela went on a real adventure and took to ‘abseiling without a rope’! Weaving reedless she took a hand painted yarn as a base point then added beautiful textures and different thicknesses to come up with a very exciting textile structure.  She followed this up with a clasped weft in handpainted bamboo tape and yarn using complementaries.

Many of the warps on the looms this time used the reed as an additional design opportunity and provides an instant ‘pattern’ set up that doesn’t interfere with the weavers design. Pretty nifty.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have EVERY person who has used my studio looms gathered  in a place all together. I guess it’s not possible but we can imagine. Thank you to Pamela, Rouge, Shirley and Helen for inspiring me again to keep weaving and creating.