Archives for posts with tag: Spinning

Sheep Shearing cartoonIt’s that time of year again. The sheep at Riverdale Farm have full winter coats that must be shorn for the summer. Sheep Shearer, Geraldine Heffernan will be working in the Lower Francey Barn at 11:30AM and 1:30PM

There will be farmer demos in the same location: Goats @ 10:30AM and horses at 12:30PM

Enjoy live demonstrations of the steps to turn fleece into yarn & fabric: from skirting and washing, picking and carding to spinning and weaving, all in the Meeting House.

Children can try their hands at lots of activities including felt making and hand sewing projects. It’s a great opportunity for families to experience an aspect of farm life and see ancient fibre techniques still in use today.

And it’s FREE! Call 416-392-6794 for more information.

Japanese Calligraphy

 

Some experiences loom large in my life and stay with me a long time. Last night was one of those magical experiences. I went to  “Kigami and Kami-ito: A slide lecture and paper thread-making demonstration by Hiroko Karuno” at the Japan Foundation. Social magic happened, from the moment I entered the door I ran into friends and acquaintances. A bunch of us happily scooped up front row seats!

I have always had an affection for and attraction to Japanese culture. A few years ago I took a workshop to learn the basics involved to spin paper into fibre. It attracted me on a number of levels. First of all, I was intrigued to learn what else I could spin on my little spinning wheel. Secondly, I liked the idea of creating fabric from paper in a way that could be cut and sewn into wearable garments. The idea of taking something that would otherwise have to be recycled or end up in landfill and give it a new life is very attractive to me. But interestingly, I had no knowledge of the long history of traditional Japanese paper making – Kigami, Kami-ito, Japanese paper spinning or Shifu – Japanese paper weaving. And so my education began!

As we watched Hiroko’s beautiful slide presentation we learned the 6 rules of traditionally made Japanese paper. In order to be called Kigami the fibre must be locally grown. Kozo is typically used. They use only one of the three layers, the white inner bark. Traditional bleaching methods are used. The fibre is cooked in a mixture of wood ash and water to soften and a root called nevi (sp) is added. I didn’t catch exactly what function it serves.

The paper is only made during the winter months of January to March after which layers of paper are left to dry on a board and then aged for two years!

Traditional Japanese paper differs dramatically from pulp paper as it doesn’t dissolve in water. Hiroko recounted that as recent as the Meiji period people would throw their account books down the well when cities were threatened by fire!

We all leaned in to learn how Hiroko prepares the paper  for spinning. She made it look so easy as she went through the many steps. Having taken a workshop, I know it’s not as easy as it looks. You can see my attempt next to Hiroko’s for comparison. Fine paper thread spun by HirokoNot so fine paper spun by me

My senses were truly blown when we were able to handle the finished skeins and woven cloth. Hiroko used natural dyes to infuse colour to the fine threads. My brain had a hard time registering “paper” when holding such finely woven fabric.

If I were to use only one word to describe last nights experience I would choose “Zen”.

 

Hiroko Karuno demonstrates paper spinning