Upcoming class

15 January 2014

We will be having class here at the ENTWINEMENTS  STUDIO starting at the the end of this month, Jan. 2014.  All classes will be held on Sunday afternoon.


BROCADE: Mentored Study Group

  • Mentor: Karren K. Brito
  • Where: My studio, Yellow Springs OH
  • When:Sunday afternoons, 1-5PM
  • How often: biweekly, depending on members ability to complete tasks outside of class. 26 Jan. 9 Feb, 16 Feb, 2 March.
  • Structure: Each class meeting will be a class with examples, demonstrations, reading lists and an assignment(s) to weave before the next session. At the following session we will share finished assignments, discuss problems encountered and cover new material. You do not need to bring a loom to the session, just your weaving assignments.
  • Pre-requisites: you need to have a loom and know how to get it warped and ready to weave and weave a balance plain weave. A rigid heddle loom is a 2 harness loom and table and floor looms are 4 or more harnesses; both will work for the Brocade Study Group.
  • Costs: It costs $100 to join the group and this covers four sessions of instruction, the use of the studio and class paper handouts. Materials are extra; you can use your own if you have a them in your stash or I will have them available for purchase at the time of the assignment. This eliminates time-consuming shopping for appropriate materials, I prefer you spend the time weaving. I try to keep costs down on required materials but having the right materials makes for a much easier learning experience.
  • Questions: call Karren at 937-767-8961. nahualatextile

Brocade is a supplementary weft technique found around the world. Sometimes confused with embroidery, but done as you weave the cloth not afterwards. The brocade is a decorative weft added to a sound structure, usually plain weave, to make the cloth more pleasing to the eye. Different places and times have used other words- inlay, overlay, Halvgobelang, Dukagang, Boutonné. Brocade is the basis of Theo Moorman technique, and weaving transparencies.

Chinese silk brocades are the height of luxury. The Central American elaborate brocades , often seen in Huipils, are still being woven today on backstrap looms. The ancient Maya and their descents liberally use brocade in their striking textiles. There are many ways to do this and we will explore some common ones used in The Americas. Some techniques are totally weaver controlled, others are a combination of weaver and loom controlled.The motifs can be geometric or figurative. You can add one color or hundreds. We will, for this study, use plain weave for the underlying structure. In four sessions we will only cover the basics; continuous supplementary weft, discontinuous supplementary weft, how to make the pattern thread disappear and appear, flat and raised brocade, different systems of tie-downs, using a pick up stick or string heddle for tie-downs, working with a cartoon— we have plenty to keep us busy for four sessions.

I recently read that in the ancient Maya sacred book, The Popol Vuh, the words “to plant” and “to brocade” are synonymous. So to those of you that can do plain weave, your field is ready to be planted and bloom!


  • Brocade by Harriet Tidball. Available here.

  • Latin American Brocades: Explorations in Supplementary Weft Techniques by Suzanne Baizerman, Karen Searle


2 Responses to “Upcoming class”

  1. Linda Sage Says:

    How do I contact you,Karren, to teach a workshop for Bloomington Spinners and Weavers Guild in Bloomington, Indiana?You taught us shibori dyeing in the past. You remember me from ACC shows???


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