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group of four

January 21, 2011

Last year I attended an 8 day residential workshop at the Metchosin International Summer School of the Arts (MISSA) on the breathtakingly beautiful, remote, waterfront campus of Lester B. Pearson College. 

The Victoria Handweavers’ Guild gave me a scholarship and last night I presented a program to the guild as a “payback”. The workshop was unusual for me because the focus was not on weaving, spinning or dyeing but an art exploration exercise in connecting with one’s “personal inner voice”. You’d think at the age of 66, I would have already found it, what I learned was to trust what I had always heard.

The teacher/mentor for the course was Dorothy Field ” a visual artist and writer working with handmade paper for drypoint prints, collage, sculpture and artists’ books”. She was also trained as a weaver and has traveled extensively in Asia. It was a privilege to work with her.

As the class was open to artists working in any medium the actual work was self-directed. My choice was to recycle handwoven and dyed, bits and pieces from my abundant stash and create something entirely new–to me.  I started with 4 commercial cotton table napkins. Using them as my canvas, I dyed 3 of them with indigo and the 4th with lichen.

Starting at the top left and moving clockwise the are; Reflections, Moon Flowers, Blue Moon and Offerings.  

This piece has the most complex shibori dyeing. The inset circular piece is my interpretation of the log cabin patch. Some of the leaves are appliqued handwoven fabric and the shi sha mirrors are from a really ugly piece of tourist “art” that I found at a charity shop. (sold)

Moon Flowers is the only piece not shibori dyed as I cut and interwove  handwoven, raw silk, rescued from an old blouse. It had been an experimental painted/dyed failure but not so bad after cutting into strips.


The square “cloud” in Blue Moon is woven with shifu paper thread on a 4″ weavette loom. The moon  is clamp resist dyed.

The inspiration for Offerings came from reading Dorothy Field’s book “Paper and Threshold”. The squares are woven with shifu paper thread, hemp and wool. I tried heat setting some metallic highlights but the process is not very successful on the handwoven structure. The darker brown is dyed with kakishibu.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Renee' Leach permalink
    June 21, 2012 11:12 am

    I found your blog some time ago, but this is my first chance at actually reading through it. I am all agog and totally in love. I have wanted to weave since forever, and this is inspiration. Evrytime I see shifu it is like a bell goes off…


    • June 21, 2012 11:42 am

      Hi Renee’ – thanks for leaving a message. Find a GOOD teacher – if you have a guild in your area that is a good place to start. Shifu needs some spinning skills, there are some paper threads available on the market now but it definitely isn’t the same. Velma blogs about her shifu. She is just off to Australia to teach.


  2. January 22, 2011 10:39 am

    the workshop sounds like a real time out of mind kind of thing–a way to go very very deep with your work.


  3. January 22, 2011 9:06 am

    Sounds like a very interesting workshop and you created some lovely work. The shibori is super, and I love the little squares of shifu.


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