Multicultural Weaving

  Baker's Bread Bag by Laura Demuth.

imageplaceholder Christina Garton
Editor, Weaving Today

While I love every issue of Handwoven I work on, the one I look forward to the most each year is the March/April issue. Why? Because this is the issue where we ask our wonderful contributors to send us weaving inspired by textile traditions from around the world and throughout time. I love seeing the different ways in which the theme is interpreted: some weavers creates pieces using traditional techniques, colorways, and patterns while others take inspiration from these patterns and colorways to create pieces to design wholly original pieces of cloth. I like to think of the latter as “fusion weaving.”

The March/April 2015 issue is no exception. We have tea towels designed using a draft from a Russian weaving book published during the days of the Czars, beautiful Japanese noren (door panels) two of which are woven with patterns inspired by traditional sashiko embroidery and one of which is embroidered with the persimmon design, and a lovely linen bread bag woven in traditional Scandinavian colors.


  Japanese Noren door panels by Margaret Zeps.

This particular issue always reminds me how grand it is to be a weaver in this day and age. Not only do we have access to wonderful resources such as the Ralph Griswold Archives on where we can discover many truly wonderful historic and international weaving books, but we can also view handwoven cloth from around the world with a click of our mouse. We can also connect with weavers around the world with similar ease, trading drafts, tips, and stories. Just as many of us may incorporate what would have been considered specialty “international” items in our cooking without a second thought from soy sauce to couscous to curry powder–I personally remember a time when my parents would have to drive to the Italian neighborhood known as The Hill in St. Louis because decent olive oil was not available at our chain grocery store–weavers incorporate aspects of international weaving into their pieces with similar instinct.


  Moscow Nights tea towels by Jenny Sennott.

Amanda Robinette uses the Japanese rag-weaving technique known as sakiori to put thrift store silk clothing to good use and Peg MacMorris uses the shibori technique to create a beautifully textured scarf that calls out to be touched. Sarah H. Jackson takes the traditional palette used in many Indian textile and combined it with the very western weave known as bumberet to create the set of beautiful towels found on the cover.

Oh, and the articles! In this issue you’ll learn about Dine (Navajo) weaving as well as the history of sakiori, see a Yarn Lab devoted to weaving with paper yarn, and read a wonderful Notes from the Fell by Tom Knisely that covers a topic weavers the world around can relate to: find the “sweet spot.” I know I love reading this issue cover to cover while we were putting it together, and I hope you enjoy our trip around the weaving world, too!

Happy Weaving!



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