Tuesday, October 8, 2013

From the Collection: Straw Into Gold

Whenever I look at weaving or knitting, or ikat or batik or crochet or quilting, I think "straw into gold." Which is really what any type of textile craft/design/skill/creation is...

Artists take this

or this 

or even this 
then turn it into fiber...then into art!

This is a skirt (falda) from Guatemala.  It's cotton & woven of fibers not much thicker than the thread used for sewing.  And it's incredibly long (33" x 152"), meaning that it must have taken ages to make.  The narrow ends are sewn together to make a loop and the women step into them, then wrap them around and tie them with a belt (cinturon). 

This is a Baluchi woolen rug, from northern Oman.  Though the wool is quite coarse, I love that the design is so intricate, again a lot of work (and paying attention).  The dyes are all traditional, too, which is hard to find. 

Here's another example of amazing work, but with modern dyes, a woolen rug from southern Egypt.  

And one example of Navajo weaving...a saddle blanket. Probably from the 1930s (again, natural dyes give a hint of age, but also that it's worn).  But I'm no expert!

And another Navajo weaving, a chief's blanket, also from the 1930s.  The dyes are in better shape on this one...perhaps because it was used less (it would have been worn around the shoulders, not sat on)?  

Finally, a recent arrival to the collection...a friend just gave me this, she got it in Thailand. It is very finely woven with cotton and silk yarn not much thicker than sewing machine thread!  I cannot begin to imagine how much time this took! 

To give you an idea of the work involved, here's a picture showing the back & front.  Sorry the photos aren't the best; there seemed to be a glare off the fabric, which is one of the reasons I'm pretty sure silk is one of the materials.  

I just realized I have a class tomorrow evening at Bits of Thread, so have to go prep for that!  Thanks for reading!  


  1. Beautiful weavings. Thanks.

  2. It's always fun to watch people turn what looks like nothing into yarn that is then turned into a beautiful work of art.

  3. And I hope I didn't make the work sound easy. I don't have the imagination to make this stuff a reality, so it feels like magic to me!!


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