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shifu weaving

August 4, 2017

I’ve been weeding – both literally and creatively

searching for inspiration

a view from the ground up

meanwhile the shifu weaving is finished – washed and trimmed

even with a hemp warp it is soft enough to wear as a scarf

the weft is 100% handcut shifu paper, natural dyes

the bamboo reed worked perfectly

both ends were woven in Triple Draught Bird’s Eye

dyes (from the top) are indigo, kakishibu

natural with sumi writing

madder root, sumi and onion skinthe center is plain weave – with a secret message

the process is time-consuming

here is paper just cut

rolled in a damp towel and left overnight

then rolled on a rough surface until the individual strands become soft and round

the threads are torn off the header and the small connecting piece is rolled between the fingers

alternating opposite ends

you can see the fibre in the handmade Japanese paper that makes it strong

as the ends are torn, creating one very long thread

it is layered into a basket

when finished, beans are sprinkled on the top to prevent the stiff thread from becoming tangled

and then it is spun

I have spun it on both a drop spindle and a wheel

the wheel spun yarn gets a more even twist and is strongerthere is even a small sample for the monthly journal

squeezed out on the end of the warp

and now I’m off to conquer the beast on the loom!

12 Comments leave one →
  1. August 6, 2017 4:11 am

    Beautiful work love the subtle colouring


  2. August 5, 2017 8:26 am

    I once made shifu with Vogue pattern tissue. Worked really well and also had a secret – dress! Lovely work, Jean. Never knew about the beans though. Traditional?


    • August 5, 2017 8:40 am

      Louisa – Hiroko Karuno shows it in her book “Kigami and Kami-ito”. It prevents a full sheet of Japanese paper becoming a tangled mess before spinning.


  3. vdbolyard permalink
    August 5, 2017 8:07 am

    yes to this. jean is back again, making beauty without “distractions”.


  4. August 5, 2017 4:25 am

    That process of preparing and spinning the paper yarn is fascinating! I, too, love the idea that words and a message are hidden within.


    • August 5, 2017 8:24 am

      Kerry – in the past the Japanese used old account ledgers, letters and scrap paper all written on handmade paper. I was given very old Noh acting scripts to cut up but don’t have the heart to destroy them.


  5. August 4, 2017 2:46 pm

    I love the idea of a secret message! Your book is going to be just amazing!


    • August 4, 2017 3:05 pm

      Kjerstin – it really is a secret because I can’t remember what I wrote on the paper! Love Tuesday (that’s a secret message for only you, me and the Hitties)

      Liked by 1 person

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