Feathered Thread

22 October 2016

fullsizeoutput_5d5There are many ways to weave with feathers and but study of this 300 year old textile fragment, tlámachtentli de Madeline,  at the Museo Textil de Oaxaca(MTO) revealed that it was woven with a thread spun with down feathers.  Sorry about the quality of the picture, it is from a slide.  The white feathered yarn jumps out at you but there is also red, yellow and blue feathered areas.

Research at the MTO suggests that this is bottom of a panel from a huipil backstrap woven on a striped warp  They found only 6 pieces, all old, all made in Mexico that were woven with this this feathered thread and no one now was doing it. About 10 years ago MTO initiated a project to recover  how to make and weave with this kind of yarn.  The results are now in a current exhibition at the MTO,  Hilar el Viento: Los Tejidos  Mexicanos de Pluma ( To Spin the Wind: Mexican Feathered Cloths).

Current artists have developed 3 kinds of feathered yarn.  All use down feathers from geese or ducks because down feathers are the only feathers pliable enough to twist into a yarn.  Groupo Khadi cards the down into the cotton and then spins it on a driven spindle wheel.

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carding down with cotton

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spinning the down cotton yarn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another artist , Román Gutiérrez,  adds the feathers when plying.  He starts with two strands of cotton thread, singles, and as he plies them he catches the down between the two strands.  Lots of twists is added to secure the down.  This yarn is fluffier than the carded yarn.  All done on a medium sized great wheel with two chairs working as a lazy kate.

I did a pre-conference workshop, on dyeing and spinning with down feathers, with Román in Teotilan del Valle and here is my piece of purple feather yarn,

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that I did on my drop spindle because I had it with me and access to one wheel was limited.

Others ply this feathered yarn together to get a thicker fluffy yarn, 4-ply cabled yarn, that I saw couched down on the surface of textiles.

Here are a couple of piece from the MTO exhibit just to give you and idea of the impact of feathered yarn.

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Portion of a textile woven by Noé Pinzón with down feathers. Noé was my teacher in backstrap weaving in the spring.

I have returned to Oaxaca just in time for TEXTIM, a conference on Mesoamerican Textiles.  A friend had signed me up for a workshop and conference and we stopped by the museum, Museo Textil de Oaxaca, today to check out the details.  The workshops are all on using feathers.  There was an exhibit  with feathers that we got to look at briefly.  My workshop starts on Wednsday and the conference goes through Sunday.  More to come….

 

On Friday I did a quick walk through of the new exhibit of Rebozos at the museum, El rebozo, don de la Llorona.  I just picked out one to share with you, #41 in the exhibit.

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As you can see this rebozo has very dramatic fringes.  This is not uncommon in Mexican weaving.  This rebozo is hung in the exhibit so that you can see both the front and the back of the fringe section.  The fluffy areas are added little tassels as you can see in the row acrossed the top.image.jpeg

The top row of tassels are in the body of the shawl and I could not touch it to see if there was woven cloth under the fluffy part.  So I looked up the description in the gallery notes:image

It says that this rebozo was made in the middle of the 20th century in an area of Purépecha people in the town of Ahuiran, state of Michoacán.

Both the warp and weft are made of industrially spun cotton singles, Z spun and possibly dyed with natural indigo.The warp has stripes of royal blue rayon, 2 ply, z twist.  The cloth is warp faced plain weave.  The warp ends  are flat braided to form the fringe, and the braiding is diagonal and forms holes  in the network.  Tassels made of rayon floss ( floss has no twist) are tied on at the little holes.

The tassels make a multi-colored diamond design.  Then they discuss a bit about if this is the style of the village where it was made or not.  Even though this is a wide cloth, even today these rebozos are made on backstrap looms.   Some of this style rebozos from the 19th century , the tassels added to the fringe form little animals or other figures.

Here is the back of the fringe:

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You are all invited!

31 March 2015

Quech.poster

Unfurled

8 November 2007

unfurled: expressive cloth

 

An exhibit  at Robert Hillestad Textile Gallery, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 1-23 November 2007. 

The exhibiting artists are:

Ilze Aviks
Laura Beehler
Claire Benn
Karren Brito
Jane Dunnewold
Catharine Ellis
Elin Noble
Sherri Smith
Katherine Sylvan
Els van Baarle .

 

These two pieces in the case above are two of my Honor Cloths. Here are some other pictures of these two Honor Cloths

This one is all silk; front, back, thread, ribbon. 

 

This is silk and lamb suede. The ideas behind these Honor Cloths are here.

Unfurled

8 November 2007

unfurled: expressive cloth

 

An exhibit  at Robert Hillestad Textile Gallery, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 1-23 November 2007. 

The exhibiting artists are:

Ilze Aviks
Laura Beehler
Claire Benn
Karren Brito
Jane Dunnewold
Catharine Ellis
Elin Noble
Sherri Smith
Katherine Sylvan
Els van Baarle .

 

These two pieces in the case above are two of my Honor Cloths. Here are some other pictures of these two Honor Cloths

This one is all silk; front, back, thread, ribbon. 

 

This is silk and lamb suede. The ideas behind these Honor Cloths are here.

Shibori Exhibit

4 February 2007

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FULLER CRAFT MUSEUM
Carter Smith: Shibori Treasures
January 20 – May 6, 2007
Textile artist Carter Smith fills Fuller Craft with fabric, draping the Merton and Alma Tarlow Gallery with yards of his hand dyed silks. Best known for making his beautiful fabrics into unique and daring fashions, such as those worn by Aretha Franklin and Elizabeth Taylor, Smith’s solo installation will feature new designs made used using Japanese shibori dyeing techniques. This exhibition includes works created over the past twenty years, which Smith says, “were too powerful to cut.” Assembled here, they show the importance of material for the maker and the beauty of shibori.
Carter Smith’s site.