Silksters Galleries - Knitting
Weaving with silk is fantastic!. If you've not woven with silk than you're missing out.
This Silksters Weaving are presents some of Treenway Silk's customers wonderful projects using silk.
- Barbara Zander, Sculpture
- Nancy Cole, Blue Cocoon
- Shelia Ehmann, Willa The Troll
- Kay Lang, Helmet
- Jan Massie, Necklace
- Akaleka OwlEye, Nuno Felt
- Jan Massie, Spin
- Vikki Zulpo, Jacket
- Carole Davidson, Tassel
- Margaret Humphries, Sculpture
- Jean O'Connor, Coiled Baskets
- Lousie O'Donnel, Temari Balls
- Robin Reid, Fairy Shoes
- Susan Kroll, Necklace
- Lorri Scott, Dyed Ribbon
- Maire Seabrook, Necklace
Barbara Zander, Seattle, Washington
Barbara's new direction using fine threads is unique and exciting.
"I have been weaving silk scarves for the past nine years using Treenway's 60/2 spun silk as both warp and weft. I loved the light feel of these scarves and sold hundreds of them. Recently I have taken a new direction. I think I am a frustrated sculptor, but I really love creating cloth so I have been looking for a way to combine the two. I have come up with what I call sculptural fiber. For the fabric I use 30/2 spun silk sett at 40 epi for both warp and weft. I weave plain weave in the natural. The cloth is cut into lengths for either the wall hung or the stand-alone pieces. I then dye each piece using either arashi or itajime method of Japanese dyeing. I enjoy this method because you never quite know how your cloth will look until it is done. I use acid dyes for all my dyeing. They work wonderfully on the silk producing deep, rich colors."
"The next step is to create the acrylic forms that serve as the "bones" for the sculpture. The wave sculptures use acrylic bases and acrylic rods. Flat pieces of acrylic that I shape using a torch are the structure for the wall waves. There has been a huge learning curve in working with acrylic but I am please with the results. I now have my sculptures using hand-woven, hand-dyed cloth. These sculptures present a new way of looking at cloth."
Nancy Cole, Summerside, Prince Edward Island
It is always a treat for us to see how people have evolved their work and talents. It was inspiring to learn a little about Nan across the continent by words on the screen.
"Blue Cocoons is the result of an open call for a collaborative art project with the Prince Edward Island Writers Guild and Island visual artists. Island poets were invited to create a piece for random distribution to a visual artist. I believe it was a tight deadline for the poets, about two weeks. I received my poem March 11 and had three weeks to complete a visual art piece with the poem as inspiration. It took me about five days to come up with the initial concept for Blue Cocoon. The poem, The Mother, was about giving birth, something I have never experienced. The elements I wanted to use were silk cocoons as batting, representing the womb and birth canal and sheer silk organza for the back and front, representing skin. I transferred the words of the poem onto ultra sheer silk and cut each word and randomly dropped them onto the heavily brushed cocoon batting. I had been dying to use the cocoons from Treenway Silks but hadn't had the right opportunity until now. I split one cocoon and dyed it red. This is a double metaphor, one representing the red centre of a traditional log cabin quilt block (heart) and the second is to represent the emptying womb. The other fifteen cocoons were a different shade of blue, two reasons, waves and boy babies. I used white quilting thread to quilt the layers with conceptual images of seven moths in flight. Now that my piece is finished, images go to another participating poet for a totally different poem based on my visual piece. Sort of like a circle song. The exhibition of poems and visual art will take place in Charlottetown at the Gallery at the guild sometime in late April or early May."
"I am now certifiably cocoon crazy. I see a future of an entire solo exhibition of transparent pieces done with cocoon batting and transparent back and front. It has fired my imagination beyond belief. I finished a small sample for my next project, if funded, Sorrowful Songs. I am deeply sorrowful for the terrible losses in the world so to express this sorrow, I plan to create three long, narrow panels, one dealing with natural disasters, the second with man made disasters and the third with extinction. The three pieces will spell SOS, when backlit. This small, conceptual sample shows the first panel with a backlit S. What inspired me to do these pieces was a Polish composer, Gorecki and his symphony number 3. Something sorrowful can also be powerful."
Sheila Ehmann, Summerland, British Columbia
Sheila told us, "Honestly, your silk products do crazy things to my imagination. Who knew I had this in me? The only artwork I have done is counted cross stitch so to create something, especially 3-dimenstional is stretching my brain in new directions. It all started when I stumbled upon your website and fell in love with the silk and the colours. I just had to have some, even though at the time I didn't know what I would do."
Willa, The Troll
Sheila told us this about Willa, "I created several silk fusion papers made of various greens, browns and rusts. The troll form is made out of a used water bottle, cut into shape and stabilized with glue and masking tape. I ripped the silk fusion into strips and applied with glue to the plastic form. Other forms of silk were also used such as carrier rods, strippings, throwsters silk and the fusion made of silk hankies. A feather from a flicker bird added to her personality. Her shoes and face are cocoons."
The inspiration for Willa came about when I walked through a dead pine forest in the West Chilcotin area of British Columbia. While the forest is 'red and dead', there are many beautiful objects to see, such as cones and mosses that seem to be freeze-dried and still attached to the dead tree. I wanted Willa to show the colours of this forest in her costume, including the lichen brooch she is wearing."
Contact Sheila at email@example.com.
Kay Lange, Fontan, Wisconsin
Route 66 Helmet
We discussed Kay's helmet project with her while she was working on it and were thrilled when we finally got to see the images she sent us. It was part of a show called Hats – Wise Women Speak.
Kay writes, "Wise women embrace adventure! I love hats! I wear hats and I make hats. I have worn hats to church because my mother ordered, 'The good Lord deserves a hat once a week.' I have worn hats for sun, hats for warmth and hats for fun. When I was young, I was a dancer and I wore costume hats. I wore uniform hats as a flight attendant and golf and gardening hats in retirement."
"BUT – my most memorable hat will always be my motorcycle helmet. Much to everyone's surprise, I donned my first helmet in 2007 (at the ripe old age of 63), and rode on the back of a Gold Wing motorcycle from the beginning to the end of Route 66. Three weeks and 3,500+ miles from Chicago to LA is truly one of the best adventures of my life. Whodathunkit? Smoke on the outside and Fire on the inside."
Jan Massie, Oak Creek, Wisconsin
Jan the spiderlady has created some more fabulously funky and spectacularly creative necklaces. She tells us a little about them.
"This thoughtful piece is being entered into a fiber show. It depicts the changing life of the silkworm from caterpillar to moth. The necklace base was made with hand dyed Treenway silk roving which was spun into a fingering weight yarn and wrapped over a core. The silk moth is made from habatoi silk which was hand dyed and machine stitched. The caterpillar is handspun white silk with beads sewn on for the legs. The white mulberry leaf is throwsters silk dyed and mixed with wool then felted. Holes were burned into it to simulate having been eaten by the caterpillar. I used one whole cocoon which the caterpillar spins as its metamorphosis home and one cut cocoon to show how the caterpillar escapes when it has turned into a moth."
"The second piece used hand dyed cashmere. I loved the colors and decided to dye the cocoons to match. I did a core wrap necklace base and inserted whole cocoons into spots and wrapped yarn to secure them. I cut other cocoons open to make flowers and layered them with another cocoon. This was the first of my necklaces and I love the color and feel of the soft wearable art."
Akaleka OwlEye, Victoria, British Columbia
Nuno Felt Scarf
We could certainly see the luxury of Akaleka's scarf, and we could almost feel how soft and supple it was from the photos. This is what Akaleka had to say about her scarf.
"This nuno scarf was wet felted with a generous amount of love, a silk scarf, merino wool and tussah silk. The silk was magically dyed by Treenway and I hand dyed most of the merino wool."
"The texture and colours of this neck scarf are enchanting and it is ealy to get lost in the fusion of the blended merino and silk. The scarf is easily manipulated into different shapes depending on what yu are feeling that day. I added a bone carving fro the button that I received from a fisherman in Indonesia."
"Felting has been my passion for years and I love that I am still surprised by the beauty of the end result."
Jan Massie, Oak Creek, Wisconsin
Handspun Art Yarn
We were really thrilled to see Jan's Art Yarn.
"I have been spinning for over 30 years and Art Yarn is my love, the funkier the better. When I started cutting silk cocoons into flowers and pods, it opened a new kind of creative process. I use silk waste and silk for lumps in the yarn. I find silk rods also make an interesting texture. Corespinning silk is a beautiful process also, the ideas are limitless."
Vikki Zulpo, Ottawa, Ontario
Big Bang Theory
Vikki is a retired high school phys ed and geography teacher who now finally has time to play! She has sewn clothes since she was a teenager, and has been a quilter for the past 25 years, and along the way, has experimented with wearable art projects. Vikki truly didn't find her creativity however, until she tried faux felting with wool and silk roving. This took her quilting into the free motion machine quilting area as well, and very quickly she combined all three skills into wearable art. An active member of the Ottawa Valley Quilters Guild, the Richmond Area Quilters Guild and ArtWear, she has now teamed up with Carroll Thatcher to form TZ Art Wearables where they teach seminars and give workshops on tips and techniques for creating wearable art. They have begun to sell patterns and have just launched a website, www.tzartwearables.com and invite you to take a peek.
The technique for both Big Bang Theory and Silky Shrug were the same, faux felting. It requires layering wool and silk roving on a base. Then part of the fun begins with the addition of threads or ribbons. Water soluble stabilizer is applied for ease of free motion stitching. Soaking dissolves the stabilizer allowing the wool to partially felt. She designed both garments.
The fibres evoked images from the Geography textbooks Vikki used to teach with – of the fires of earth's creation – hence the name, Big Bang Theory. The addition of shisha mirrors gave the appearance of stars flung across the universe. Once every section of the jacket's fabric was made, the construction of the jacket was assembled. This jacket has won Honourable Mention at Quilt Canada's National Juried Show 2006 and First prize and Viewer's Choice at the Ottawa Valley Quilting Guild Festival of Quilts Show 2007.
The design for the bolero, Silky Shrug, was inspired by an aunt's 1958 wedding gown and was to augment her Mother-of-the-Groom ensemble using Treenway silks. Vikki used only water soluble stabilizer for the base, to obtain a lace effect, but for stability around the yoke used a base of dyed and stamped cotton dyers' cloth. Once dried, sleeves were attached and ribbon and beaded cording was hand applied to the edges. This bolero was accepted to Quilt Canada's 2009 National Juried Show and as well, won 3rd prize at the 2009 International Plowing Match.
Carole Davidson, Victoria, British Columbia
Tasseled Scissor Fobs
We were delighted by Carole's cocoon tasseled scissors fobs. Carole says,
"I've been sewing all my life and have been a weaver for over 35 years...and like many others, I'm interested in everything fibre related."
"At the Island Weavers Annual Retreat at Cowichan Bay this spring, I bought several packages of hand-dyed silk cocoons from Treenway and immediately became addicted to them."
"I love making one-of-a-kind scissor fobs and pincushions. The cocoons make perfect "caps" for the matching tassels. The edges of the caps can easily be cut to add a little interest and can be decorated with the bits of leftover cocoon from other tassels."
"I prefer to make the tassels from silk but if I don't have the colour I want I will substitute perle cotton. A matching hand-twisted cord to assemble the tassel is the final finish touch."
"To make a tassel skirt "soft and twirly" they should be held over a pot of boiling water and swished in the steam for a few minutes. When dry they will be much nicer than if this step is omitted."
"These little tassels are quick, easy and very satisfying to make."
Margaret Humphries, Dallas, Texas
Weaving Sculpture - Split Decision
"A passion for texture drew me to weaving fourteen years ago. This began a journey that has taken me into the world of color and dyeing. I have always gravitated toward fibres that catch the light to create another dimension to the woven cloth and Bombyx silk is the perfect fibre for this. Most of the time I weave scarves and shawls, but as I am sitting at my loom, my mind is wandering to other forms. Weaving for sculptural forms is a natural extension of the appeal of light and shadow on colour and texture."
"Split Decision is created from two pyramids that are hinged together to show the opening between the two parts. Each facet of each pyramid is cut from styrofoam and covered with hand-dyed, handwoven Bombyx silk in a variety of weave structures. It is 10" x 11" x 8" and sits on a wooden post."
Jean O'Connor, Edmonton, Alberta
Coiled Basket - Little Jewel
"This little 3" x 3" x 6" basket is made of brown, purple and green 20/2 Treenway silk. I make my baskets in the old coiled method, but use modern materials. This little gem is silk yarn wrapped over stretch cord I purchased from a hardware store. I like the firmness and flexibility of this cord and it comes in different sizes. I worked on the design trying to get a shape with the 3" x 3" x 6" measurements for a show in the Works here in Edmonton. I had been waiting for the right basket to use those beautiful jewel coloured silks."
"I have been making coiled baskets since the 80s when I contracted a lung disease. Arthritis set in as a result of the disease, which meant I could no longer weave. I had all those yarns still sitting there, so I learned how to make coiled baskets and away I went. I have been in many art shows and won awards. The Alberta Craft Council awarded me the Symbol of Quality for my baskets, which was the best for me."
Louise O'Donnel, Rosedale, British Columbia
We were thrilled to see Louise's temari balls. We were also fascinated to learn of the various steps one can go through to acquire different levels of competence in making temari balls.
Louise tells us,"I am a Master Spinner from many years ago, but due to arthritis, I am not able to spin very much anymore. I took up Temari Balls about 10 years ago and through the Japanese Temar Association. I am now a Level 1 - Honka and Level 2 - Koutouka of the Temari Master program, with the hopes of one day doing Level 3 - Shehan or Master. "
"The base is a felted ball, covered with fine wool, then yards and yards of sewing thread. The Mari (base) is then marked off in divisions, of which there are many and then stitched. The silk I used was Bombyx spun 20/2 and 12/2 and reeled 8/2. I prefer the spun for stitching; I find it is easier to work with. I have not used the reeled yet, but hope to use it in my next temari."
Robin Reid, North Vancouver, British Columbia
While Robin was placing an order for silk fibre she mentioned it was for fairy shoes. We are so glad she sent us photos of her work.
Robin says the original pattern for the shoes was from Stitches magazine. She has adapted it to silk fusion and her own style. She put them into an art show in Seymour Art Gallery in North Vancouver and the orders just keep coming in. She and the fairies are having so much fun in the making.
"I attended Capilano College Textile Art Program and for awhile concentrated on wearable arts using several of the techniques I had learned there. In 2000 the Coast Character Doll Artists was formed as an interest group of the Fairy shoe by Robin Reid Vancouver Guild of Fabric Arts and we have been busy ever since with our group making art dolls in all mediums. I love making cloth dolls and using all my snippets of beautiful silks and lace I have collected over the years."
"In 2002 I discovered Treenway Silks at Convergence and was enamored by the possibilities of using silk fusion in my doll making. Hence the fairies had clothes and wings. And now I make shoes for them as well."
Susan Kroll, Sequim, Washington
Kumihimo Braid Necklace
"I am a knitter, spinner and a weaver and silk is my most preferred fiber for it all. I love to wear silk next to my skin so creating jewelry with it was a natural thought. Treenway's beautiful colorways in the 3.5mm silk ribbons inspired me to work a round Kumihimo braid on my maru dai."
"I used the braid to make the necklace, tying a 'True Lover's knot' with a shell I found on a local beach. Its colors perfectly complemented the palette of silk ribbons and it adds some weight to the necklace, making it adjustable in length for different necklines."
Lorri Scott, Santa Cruz, California
Hand-dyed Silk Ribbon
Lorri started her textile career in 1976 using a bicycle hoop as her "loom" for off loom woven pieces. She discovered dyeing after many years of weaving. Lorri says, "I loved being able to create interesting color patterns by painting yarns rather than exploring complex weave structures. Dye painting is closely related to watercolor and lends itself to surprises, which intrigues me more than exact color reps that are counted on. My technique for dyeing is called 'arashi shibori'. It is a Japanese process where the fabric is wrapped around a pole with string and 'scrunched' to create resist patterns then dye is applied.
I use fiber reactive dyes as well as natural dyestuffs, creating colors for yarns to weave cloth and coordinating fabrics to make one–of–a–kind garments and accessories. I have expanded my repertoire to include dye painted and devore velvets, hand sewn 'wayward threads' scarves and stoles, dyed silk ribbons and felting techniques."
Lorri's friend, Jennifer Whitmer, hand stitched these exquisite little flower pins using Lorri's ribbons and antique buttons.
DJ Pettitt and Lorri taught at an art retreat in Kauai together in April 2007. The first day students dyed fabrics and ribbons with Lorri and then DJ led them to create a cloth book using the dyed pieces and incorporating paintings. DJ used fabrics and ribbons Lorri dyed to make this sample "Island Book".
Marie Seabrook, Maple Ridge, British Columbia
The World is Charged
We were happy to see the silk cocoons used in such an innovative way!
Marie says,"I used Procion dye to dye the cocoons. After my first dyeing attempt, there was a consistent 'bloom', which I kept trimming. I tried painting them with white glue water and let them dry and then re-dyed again by soaking in cold dye and wrapping in plastic wrap overnight."
After watching the Silk Fusion video, Marie created this fantastic vessel using dyed silk hankies.