The July meeting was a talk called Indian Inspiration by Jennifer Hughes BA Cert Ed
To say this meeting was an explosion of colour style and glitz would not be an exaggeration, Jenifer has travelled extensively with her husband in Eastern countries and has a beautiful and envious collection to textiles and accessories which she brought to show us
The production of cloth in India can be traced back to 2500 – 2000 BC Many of the fabrics were block printed these blocks were hand carved and handled with care as the slightest chip or mark would show in the printing and also the corners need to be matched perfectly or the pattern will be flawed, a good example of block printing was Jenifer’s own dress.
Another way of creating beautiful fabric is the resist method or Tie Dying; there are many different techniques one of which is Ikat which is a way of wrapping either the warp or weft of yarn before dying and weaving to give traditional patterns. These can be multi-coloured and the wraps are undone numerically as the different coloured dye bathes are used.
Jennifer showed us many Sari length which are produced in beautiful colours and fabulous embroidery, one end being plain to make a small blouse and the Glitzy end to go over the shoulder to show off ones husbands wealth.
I particularly liked the black sari trimmed with gold embroidery.
We saw the most beautiful wedding skirt (Ghagra) the veil to go over the face (odhani) which Jennifer modelled for us.
she also modelled a piece which we thought was a hat with a tail at the back to keep off the sun but the padded head piece was for balancing a water pot, all again beautifully made and embroidered
Not all the items were for women there was a man’s Cashmere shawl in tapestry weave dating back to 1820 and a ‘man bag’ four sided for keeping tobacco and other such necessities.
There was also a piece of flower work, not made since the Hindu and Muslim split stitched from the back.
This was a most interesting talk and only one of many that Jennifer gives.
The following day Jennifer held a Shibori Workshop when some Guild members were able to learn the wrapping and tie dying techniques.
This workshop was a follow on from Jennifer’s talk on Indian Inspiration, and it certainly was an inspiration!
The first thing we learned was a Kamosage Knot, which enabled us to tie the fabric securely and then when necessary just pull and it easily comes undone (too easily in my case) this is used in a wrapping technique such as Ne-maki shibori (thread resist rings) very effective, it seemed the most popular was the Arashi (storm pattern) which resembles lightening, the fabric is wrapped tightly around a cylinder tied around with string or thread pushed together into folds, the finished effect was stunning and a success every time.
Many of the techniques were stitched and a very effective pattern was Mokume (wood grain) which comprised of horizontal rows of running stitches, pulled up very tightly to resist the dye.
Jennifer was very patient with us and our questions and carefully demonstrated each technique and had examples of each stage of each process and the finished effect.
We has two dye bathes of Dylon cold water dye one a beautiful raspberry red and a denim blue both colours were stunning when completed.
We have only scratched the surface of this wonderful and practical art form and I am sure many members will continue to experiment and create beautiful works of art that are practical too
Jennifer does talks on textiles from Asian countries, e.g. Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Burma, India, China & Japan; & various textile techniques e.g. ikat, batik, embroidery, patchwork. Workshops on topics such as shibori, small bags, funky hats, she can be contacted via Email: seatex@Tiscali.co.uk
And this was my results I am so inspired I shall be doing more watch out all my friends and family will be getting tie dye scarves for Christmas