What a fabulous week!! First my new friend Rocío came from Mexico and with a group of good friends who gathered at my house I learned more about the wonderful Tintes Naturales project she worked on (and blogged about) last year. Here’s a short video if you want to see a bit more about the project.
Rocío is a talented young designer who has studied fashion and natural dyeing in Mexico and France and she has since gone on the launch her own line of beautiful leather bags Zikuri, with highlights and linings that she dyes with vegetable dyes and cochineal. They are gorgeous!
We then went to the WARP annual meeting in Burlingame. Weave A Real Peace consists of and supports all kinds of textile workers but most of us are weavers and there were well known weavers whose books I have enjoyed and people running international projects I have followed. Such a fun tribe of my people.
I have been a WARP member for years but this was my first meeting and I was thrilled to meet so many people who care about traditional textiles and supporting artisans around the world. Just hanging out people watching was a fashion show, but there were many speakers thoughtfully working towards sustainable textiles in a globalized world. I am already excited because next year’s WARP meeting will be in Santa Fe and 2017 in Oaxaca- dream locations for a lover of handmade textiles.
On Tuesday after the conference Rocío gave a small workshop about cochineal dyeing held at the beautiful Meridian Jacobs farm in Vacaville, CA.
I have used a lot of natural dyes but had never tried cochineal. This wonderful workshop not only taught me about using cochineal, but also made me reconsider my promise to never try natural dyeing on plant fibers again. I have had so many disappoints in the past. Yes, silk and wool take up the dyes for deeper colors, but with the right mordants, cochineal worked well.
Back to the Tintes Naturales Friendship (towels) project. One of the highlights of the WARP meeting was finally getting to know Irene Schmoller of Cotton Clouds. Irene, is a cotton fanatic and like everyone working on the Tintes Naturales project she is selling the kits at cost.
34 years a weaver and I had never used a kit but bought this one (and another later) to support Mayan Hands. I had fun weaving the beautiful colors in 8/2 cotton at 24 epi. Can’t really say I had fun sewing the vest but I am very satisfied with the results. I have been plotting a woven wardrobe for 12 years and it is very satisfying to finally have a few pieces.
While I was at it buying my first kit from Cotton Clouds, I also bought a kit of naturally colored 10/2 mostly organic cotton. Not naturally dyed (that’s the one above) but cotton that grows in greens and browns. The kits mix those colors with each other and with natural white cotton to give a broad palate of subtle colors. The piece below is called “Homenaje Tzotzil” after the beautiful huipiles from the Jolom Mayaetik weaving cooperative in Chiapas, Mexico. The indigo is the only dyed yarn and was a gift from my friend Margarita Lainez who designs and teaches (and weaves and dyes) in El Salvador. Loving my international wardrobe!