Dyeing, Weaving, and Endless Creativity

Painted Scarves  
 Painted scarves hung up to dry.  

A couple of weeks ago I had the wonderful opportunity to travel to Convergence as the official representative of Handwoven, Weaving Today, and Interweave. I had some vague ideas of what it would be like from those who had been to event’s past and they all gave me advice from time management to strategic yarn packing (when possible, choose skeins over cones because they’re easier to pack). The reality of Convergence, however, was so much crazier and so much better than I could have ever expected. I took lots of wonderful classes, met many amazing weavers and vendors, and lauged a lot. While I was there for work, I also got to play.


 Christina's stamped scarf. (Note the little beetles stamps among the flowers)

My first day I spent all day taking a natural silk dyeing class from Brecia Kralovic-Logan, and so other than a brief break for lunch and a glance at the vendor hall, I got to spend a full day learning about different natural dyes, the properties of silk, laughing, and chatting with the rest of my classmates. We all had so much fun dyeing strips of silk using different dyes and mordants. Seeing the colors change in the iron mordant was like magic as bright colors deepened and darkened.

At the end of the class everyone had a silk scarf they could dye as they pleased and it was amazing to see how differently everyone approached their project. We twisted and tied our scarves differently and dipped them in various combinations of dyes to create a fabulous rainbow of silk. I think we all had as much fun seeing what our classmates had created as we did dyeing our own scarves.

   Lots of pots of dye to play with

Later in the week I took a similar class from Linda Hartshorn on painting and stamping silk using natural dyes. In this class we were once again all the students received the same instructions, dyes, and tools, but the results were amazingly different. The way each person took the information and interpreted it on the silk scarves we were given was incredible to see. As the scarves dried on lines outside the classroom, we all had to admire each other’s work, taking photos and notes for inspiration.

These scenes made me think about my work at Handwoven (of course). One of my favorite parts of each issue comes long after it’s finished, when weavers send us photos of projects inspired by projects. People write us about how they fell in love with a certain pattern or color palette and then turned it into a project uniquely theirs. Whether you view weaving as Art, Craft, or something uniquely in between, there’s no denying the limitless creativity of weavers. I’ve loved seeing what you all come up with each issue I’ve worked on, and I can’t wait to see what we get to publish in the future.

In the meantime, I have a skein of silk I brought home from convergence and an itch to try out at home what I learned in class.

Happy Weaving!


Christina Garton

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