Saturday, October 17, 2009

Symposium Thoughts

Greetings from Vancouver!

We have just had our third lecture of the Symposium Series, but as usual I am behind and so will begin with the first evening's which was "The True Miracle Fibres: Natural Threads of the World". The lecture was presented by Charlotte Kwon, owner of Maiwa Handprints and it was riveting from the first words.

Charlotte is not only passionate about traditional textiles, she is enormously involved with the crafting of them through the entire process. She regularly travels to India and works with the farmers to support sustainable organic farming, she is actively involved in teaching and preserving dyeing with natural plant materials and supports the textile artisans through an ethical business model.

It was surprising to learn how much knowledge of natural plant dyes is in danger of being lost as synthetic dyes increase in popularity in emerging economies. Traditional markets throughout the world are increasingly moving away from both natural fibres and dyes, and it was interesting to learn of the work being done to preserve both.

I have done very little dyeing at all, never mind with natural dyes and am not sure I need to add another hobby to my ever growing "To Try" list but I have to say fibres dyed with natural dyes have a different look to them. There is a subtlety to the colours; they can still be bright but are not harsh, they are shaded but there is still light and they inspire... they inspire you to take up a needle and create.

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