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shifu-part 2

October 24, 2010

Handmade paper is nothing like the paper most of us are familiar with using on an everyday basis. Made from natural plant materials it has character, texture and strength. I am not a papermaker but have been privileged to experience making a little with the experts in Japan. It is beautiful, it looks and feels good, it feels alive. The paper I use for shifu is strong, so strong it is difficult to tear it. When I spin paper cut only 3mm wide it spins easily without breaking. The question I am most frequently asked is “but how do you wash it”?  Gently, like any other fine fibre. 

The paper is my precious stash of Japanese paper and the commercial cones are paper spun in the Philippines. The balls of shifu yarn are my own handspun.

The tea towels are handwoven on a mixed warp of  linen, cotton and handspun hemp. The weft is my shifu thread. They are woven Scandinavian style with a hanging loop woven into the center of the towel.

 The shawl was my first experience using shifu thread in the warp. It is one of the yarns from the Philippines, a 2 ply of paper yarn and a thick and thin ramie. It was threaded alternately with a handspun, 2 ply bamboo and wove up without any problems. The weft was the same bamboo and my shifu thread. Both the towels and the shawl were shown at the 2009 Hanji (Korean paper) exhibition at the Emily Carr University, in Vancouver.

The shawl is shown against  handwoven silk yardage. The “corsage” is woven on a 4″ weavette loom with the shifu warp yarn. It has a lovely drape and has been washed several times.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. October 26, 2010 11:06 pm

    Of course, what a great site and informative posts, I will add backlink – bookmark this site? Regards,


  2. October 29, 2010 9:41 am

    excellent! this is so exciting! maybe i will use one of my shifu cloths as a towel…i’ve been using them for book covers and as wall pieces. thanks again!


    • October 29, 2010 11:50 am

      Velma–I love your work. Inspired by your books I am working up to using shifu woven fabric in my first book. The towels were the result of wanting to do something “clever” for a juried show and paper towels seemed a no-brainer.


      • November 4, 2010 2:46 pm

        ha! (it took me a second, until i said it aloud!)


  3. theloomroom permalink
    May 14, 2014 11:00 am

    Was the Philippino paper yarn pina yarn?


    • May 14, 2014 11:53 am

      Stacey – no, handmade kozo (I think) plied with a thick and thin ramie. I can’t get it any more.


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