Exhibitions at 10th International Shibori Symposium

The 10th International Shibori Symposium (10iss) in Oaxaca in November was spread over several venues. Most were in the centre of town, but the Centro de las Artes de San Agustin (CASA), about 45 minutes’ drive from the centre, was the location for many of the workshops and exhibitions.

This post will feature the exhibitions in and around CASA – be warned that there are lots of photos!

CASA is a former cotton mill that was converted into a stunning arts centre by local artist Francisco Toledo in 2000. Its hilltop location gives amazing views, and it has two exhibition halls and smaller rooms for running workshops.

Centro de las Artes de San Agustin Centro de las Artes de San Agustin

There are also some interesting sculptural plants!

san-agustin-view-2 san-agustin-view-3

Indigo Earth: Shibori Kimono, Past and Present

This exhibition, curated by Yoshiko Nakamura and Consortium Arimatsu Narumi, featured a selection of historical and modern Japanese indigo-dyed kimono from Arimatsu and Narumi in Japan.

Inidigo shibori kimono Inidigo shibori kimono Inidigo shibori kimono Inidigo shibori kimono Inidigo shibori kimono Inidigo shibori kimono Inidigo shibori kimono Inidigo shibori kimono

Optica and Haptica

This exhibition showcased 12 pieces of clothing designed by Mexican designer Carla Fernandez, highlighting connections between the Mexican and Japanese traditions of ikat (known as jaspe in Mexican and kasuri in Japan).

The contemporary garments were wonderful, combining Japanese silhouettes and designs with traditional Mexican rebozo patterns.

Carla Fernandez garment Carla Fernandez garment Carla Fernandez garment Carla Fernandez garment

Contemporary Art of Shibori and Ikat

The main exhibition hall at CASA was given over to a wide range of contemporary shibori artworks and wearables, curated by Yoshiko Wada and Trine Ellitsgaard.

And here I must apologise profusely to artists whose work I photographed but whose names I failed to record. I did photograph the name labels but because of the low lighting many of them came out blurred and unreadable. I have credited artists whose names are legible or whom I remembered, but if your work is featured without a credit, do let me know and I will remedy it as soon as possible!

Susan Schapira, Nine Birch Trees Dreaming of Summer
Susan Schapira, Nine Birch Trees Dreaming of Summer

san-agustin-2

Hiroyuki Shindo
Hiroyuki Shindo
Yosi Anaya, Snake Skeins
Yosi Anaya, Snake Skeins
Elisa Ligon, Untitled 2
Elisa Ligon, Untitled 2
Asif Shaikh and Jabbar Khatri, Bandhani Dress with Aari Embroidery
Asif Shaikh and Jabbar Khatri, Bandhani Dress with Aari Embroidery

san-agustin-7 san-agustin-8

Birgitta Lagerqvist, Blues 1-3
Birgitta Lagerqvist, Blues 1-3

san-agustin-11

Ana Lisa Hedstrom, Folded and Flat
Ana Lisa Hedstrom, Folded and Flat
Jorie Johnson
Jorie Johnson

Paper Jewellery

A short walk downhill from CASA is the papermaking cooperative Arte Papel Vista Hermosa, also founded by Francisco Toledo. Its members use bark, plants, flowers, cotton, hemp, silk, linen and pieces of shiny mica in their products. As well as seeing the artisans at work, visitors can have a go at making paper themselves.

Arte Papel Vista Hermosa Arte Papel Vista Hermosa

For this exhibition they worked with artist Kiff Slemmons to produce some stunningly intricate paper jewellery. And yes – I did end up buying a piece! 🙂

Kiff Slemmons and Arte Papel Vista Hermosa Kiff Slemmons and Arte Papel Vista Hermosa Kiff Slemmons and Arte Papel Vista Hermosa Kiff Slemmons and Arte Papel Vista Hermosa Kiff Slemmons and Arte Papel Vista Hermosa Kiff Slemmons and Arte Papel Vista Hermosa

 

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Silk paper

Right at the beginning of last academic year at Morley College, we were shown how to make “paper” by lightly spraying gummy silk waste with water and then ironing it between baking parchment. I remember thinking that it was an interesting technique but with so many other things to explore I never got round to having a go.

silk paper by sarah lawrenceI was reminded of it when I found this book in a discount bookshop. The author, Sarah Lawrence, was British (she sadly passed away last year) but the price on the back is in dollars, so it must be a US edition. The cover is different, but there seem to be a couple of similarly titled books also by Sarah Lawrence available in the UK and published at the same time, and I’m assuming the content is similar.

The book starts with the ironing method, combining it with layers of sinamay or knitting, or using it as a base for embossing, moulding and die cutting. It also explains how to make paper with degummed silk by soaking it in a mediium like PVA, or by stitching through layers using water-soluble film to create 3D vessels .

Finally, there’s a very inspiring section on using silk carrier rods and cocoons.

Of course, I immediately began to wonder how I could combine these techniques with my beloved felting and shibori. Felting should be fairly straightforward – adding silk is an easy way to create more texture and colour.

But would silk paper fall apart if I put it in an indigo vat? Is it strong enough to stitch or bind? I may have to find out.

More shibori paper

I’ve been doing some more experiments with shibori paper. This time I used a much heavier paper. I’m not exactly sure what weight it is, but it’s thick enough not to buckle when it gets wet.

First I tried wrapping pleated fabric on top. The example below was cotton poplin. It wasn’t very successful, partly because the length of the fabric meant I had to make the pleats quite large to fit it on the pole.  (You can see that it worked better on the left-hand side, where the pleats were narrower with more space between them.) I also thought that the weave might have been too close to allow much indigo to reach the paper beneath.

So next I tried a finer cotton muslin, with narrower pleats. This was more successful

Then I wondered whether I needed to use fabric at all – whether I could dip the paper directly into the indigo vat. So I went back to binding, dipping and rebinding with paper only.

I found that even with quite a concentrated vat, the first couple of layers are very pale, and it’s difficult to brush of the foam (hana) without rubbing off the indigo. But with repeated dipping, I achieved quite satisfactory results.

Finally, here’s a tiny stitched sample (on fabric) that was inspired by the markings on a whale shark. Could be the start of a (much) bigger project!

Shibori paper

I’ve blogged previously about the marks left on masking tape when it’s used as a resist for shibori dyeing.

When I was at Cally’s summer school, I sometimes taped bits of paper onto the arashi tubes to prevent old indigo stains from marking the clean fabric. When removing the fabric after dyeing, I was again struck by the patterns left on the paper and tape, some of which I collected for my sketchbook:

So I taped a whole sheet of paper to an arashi pole before securing the fabric on top, wrapping and dipping. I used indigo vats of two different concentrations, and added extra wrapping between dips. I didn’t scrunch the fabric.

Here are the results on the fabric and the paper, side by side, with the fabric on the left and the paper on the right:

Obviously, the paper is paler, as the fabric on top acted as a resist. But it also has some interesting crinkle marks, which are quite mokune-like.

I think there is plenty of scope for more experiments here, with different fabrics and papers. However, if I want to make larger pieces in this way without pleating or scrunching the fabric, I definitely need some deeper vats and fatter pipes!

Friday favourites

I haven’t done Friday favourites for a while. But I’ve just joined Pinterest (aaargh – that’s another six hours a day gone!), and as I was pinning some of my favourite works I came across a group of artists working with paper. As I’ve recently made paper myself, I thought this would be a good theme for today’s selection.

Polly Verity makes amazing origami curved folds, each scored and folded from one sheet, with no cuts and no glue. I also love her work made from crumpled tissue paper, like the liver, stomach, colon and small intestine:

Isaac Salazar is an accountant who has never taken an art class. He uses old books that would otherwise be thrown away and creates words and images by folding and cutting the pages:

Finally, Bekx Stephens creates geometric sculptural pieces that seem to create waves of movement through repetition. I would love to learn some of these techniques to use on fabric with printing/dyeing: