October 2018


Nui Shibori as Artistic Exploration
by Jane Callender | Thursday – Saturday, 11 – 13 October

Nui shibori master Jane Callender will present the simple geometry and pattern planning method she uses to explore the many textures and pattern variables possible with stitch-resist. This workshop will focus on the use of buffers and blocking materials, as well as how multiple needles can be used to implement differences to established sharply defined lines and field, to create new motifs, and to develop pattern and texture. Jane will show and discuss various shibori methods for personal creative explorations

September 2018


A Poor Sister No Longer: Mexican vs. Andean Textile Arts
by Alejandro de Ávila Blomberg
Friday, 14 September


Archaeological, historical and ethnographic documentation, little known outside of Mexico, paints a vastly richer and more complex landscape of fibers, dyestuffs and techniques than has been acknowledged in the general literature on indigenous textiles. Many of the woven structures thought to be exclusive to the Andes turn out to be also present in Mexico, where some may well have originated. These include the production of scaffolded, multi-selvaged weavings, central to the amarres process, which has fascinated shibori enthusiasts worldwide. This initial lecture of our series will create a context of broadened horizons across the Americas in which to discuss and demonstrate featherwork at Slow Fiber Studios.

September 2018


Weft Brocading with Feathered Yarn
Noé Pinzón Palafox
Friday, 14 September


Three of the six featherwork textiles that have been preserved from the colonial period in Mexico are decorated with supplementary wefts, where duck down is twisted in between a 2-ply cotton thread. In this workshop Noé will demonstrate how the thickness and puffiness of dyed, feathered yarn can be controlled in weft brocading, in the same manner evident in the aforesaid three surviving examples. Rather than using a Mesoamerican backstrap loom, which is cumbersome to transport and requires the manipulation of several sticks, Noé will do his demonstration on frame looms, which workshop participants will be able to handle with ease.

September 2018


Feathered Yarns: Colonial Textiles as a Means to Inform Contemporary Art
Hector Manuel Meneses Lozano
Saturday, 15 September

After a thorough study of a textile fragment from the late 1700s, the Textile Museum of Oaxaca (MTO) recreated a technique that had been lost for centuries: the making of feathered yarns. In 2016, the MTO presented an exhibition with contemporary works that were enabled by our revival of this once-lost specialty yarn. This presentation will address the characteristics of the surviving textiles from the colonial period and the way these were reinterpreted to create contemporary textile artworks.

September 2018


Openwork Card Weaving
Noé Pinzón Palafox | Saturday, 15 September

Noé Pinzón Palafox weaving a duck feather textile.

A couple of gauze napkins at the MTO dating to the early 1900s, collected by Alejandro in the area where his paternal family originated in the state of San Luis Potosí, were embellished with a handsome fringe in a structure that had not been reported before. It can be described technically as warp twining combined with weft-wrapping. Noé will demonstrate how to set up and weave the fringe, using only a set of cards and a needle. The result is an intriguing lacy texture reminiscent of the complex openwork weaves of southern Mexico, first described by Irmgard Weitlaner Johnson in the 1970s, which Noé has also mastered. We will show photographs of a large 3-web openwork textile designed by Alejandro and woven by Noé with Oaxacan silk and feathered yarn, decorated with such a fringe.

September 2018


Revival and Innovation: Textile Traditions of Mexico and Asia
by Alejandro de Ávila Blomberg + Hector Manuel Meneses Lozano +
Noé Pinzón Palafox + Tomoko Torimaru + Masako Takahashi
Sunday, 16 September


The Ever-Evolving Nature of Oaxacan Textiles
Hector Manuel Meneses Lozano

2018 marks the 10th anniversary of the Textile Museum of Oaxaca (MTO). As part of this year’s programed activities, the Museum prepared an exhibition that features the works of weavers and embroiderers from various regions of the state of Oaxaca, Mexico. Candidates were invited according to their willingness to look at their own work with a different perspective, as well as the close relationships that have been established and maintained over the course of these 10 years. Each project was carried out by teams consisting of artists from different communities in order to foster unforeseen collaborations. The exhibition aimed at creating a stronger sense of self-confidence in the participants, as they were able to propose, design, and execute their own ideas after attending a series of workshops at the Museum and gaining access to good-quality yarns and opportunities to consult the MTO’s collections.


New Formats for Old Weaving Techniques
Alejandro de Ávila Blomberg

The Textile Museum of Oaxaca (MTO) has been able to put together a large collection of colonial and ethnographic textiles from all areas in Mexico and Guatemala, including regions that had not been documented previously. In addition to some novel structures that appear to have no parallel elsewhere, the MTO collection includes a number of weaving techniques that had been recorded in the Andes, but not in Mesoamerica. A collaboration between Noé as weaver and Alejandro as designer produced eight works where old structures studied at the museum, which had disappeared long ago, were revived to convey contemporary messages, such as heartfelt protest in the face of Mexican elitism, and a humorous act of resistance to imperialistic policies on our northern border. This lecture will illustrate and describe the eight textiles.


Three Structures Combined with Featherwork
Noé Pinzón Palafox

Noé will demonstrate three of the techniques recorded in textiles in the holdings of the MTO. The first will be weft-wrap openwork combined with 8/8 simple gauze, a structure that is demonstrated in a beautiful pair of men’s trousers from northern Oaxaca that date back to the mid-1800s, preserved at the Phoebe Hearst Museum of Anthropology of UC Berkeley. The second technique will involve supplementary wefts on 2/2 complex gauze. The third structure will feature discontinuous wefts to weave a lattice with feathered accents. To do this demonstration, Noé will use the backstrap loom on which he has woven the eight works described in Alejandro’s lecture.



Considerations on the Origin of Textiles + Uzbek Tablet Weaving
by Tomoko Torimaru

When thinking about the origin and development of textiles invented by human beings, it is indispensable to consider warp and weft twining, which predates loom-woven textiles in the archaeological record. In China, a Kudzu (Pueraria montana var. lobata) fiber textile piece, which is the interlacing of two wefts interwoven with warps excavated from “Cao xie shan” ruins in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, from the 30th to the 40th century BC. Her current research indicates that the most logical process for interlacing warp yarns to weave textile is by tablet weaving. In China, a tablet-woven silk textile piece was excavated from “Feng xia” ruins, Liaoning Province, Early Shang period (about 1600 BC – 1046 BC). Tablet weaving still exists in several parts of the world, but this was possibly developed as a more efficient method of weaving warp twining that was originally done by hand.

Tomoko will demonstrate tablet weaving from Uzbekistan using two-hole cards.


Making in Mexico: From Inspiration to Artwork
by Masako Takahashi

Visual artist Masako Takahashi will speak about working and sourcing materials in Mexico and how traveling and living there profoundly influences her artmaking. She will show examples and be available to answer questions. Her pompoms are made of hand spun, hand dyed Oaxacan wool, and many were dyed with natural indigo blues, cochineal pinks and reds, and other natural plant dyes, sourced in Oaxaca. A selection of pompoms in a variety of colors and sizes will be for sale, to benefit the Oaxaca Colloquium.

February – August 2018


Inventive Methods for Fulling Resist
Jean Cacicedo + Yoshiko I. Wada | February – August 2018

Create textiles with surprising and inventive textural contrast through the use of an unusual historical European paste resist method. We’ll use a specially designed wool gauze and gain an understanding of its physical and chemical structures to achieve lacelike effects through various techniques.


Unexpected Applications for Shaped Resist on Wool
Jean Cacicedo + Yoshiko I. Wada | February 10 – 11

Apply modern design to the ancient method of felting, exploring wool’s shrinking characteristics through shibori techniques and quilting processes. Play with woolen fleece, yarns, and special fine gauze fabric layered with non-shrinking fine silk, polyester, and cotton scraps, and learn how to effectively dye with indigo on delicate wool by controlling pH and temperature to achieve varying intensities of blue on wool, plant fiber, and silk.

Yoshiko I. Wada

Yoshiko I. Wada is an artist, curator, and textile scholar, president of World Shibori Network, founder of Slow Fiber Studios, producer of the Natural Dye Workshop film series, and co-chair of the 1st – 11th International Shibori Symposia. She is the author of pioneering publications on kasuri and shibori. A Berkeley resident since 1973, she continues to lead a wide range of workshops, lectures, tours, and symposia internationally, emphasizing sustainability, tradition, and innovation in design.

Jean Cacicedo

Jean Cacicedo is a prime innovator of the American studio craft Art-to-Wear Movement who uses the transformative properties of wool, cloth and paper to create objects that adorn both the body and the wall. Telling stories from journeys that come by way of dreams and visions, her works can be found in the permanent collections of the de Young Museum, Museum of Art and Design (MAD), Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Racine Art Museum, and the Tassenmuseum Hendrikje.

September 2018


Intersections: Mathematics + Design + Identity
Saturday, January 27 | Berkeley Hillside Club

Join us at the Berkeley Hillside Club for an evening with four distinguished presenters from varied but interrelated disciplines. The first half of the evening will focus on concepts of infinity bridging the realms of mathematics and design with artist Phil Webster and esteemed logician Martin Davis. The second half of the evening will maintain the mathematical theme with a view towards regional identity, with presentations by Vanessa Drake Moraga on South American indigenous weavings and Yoshiko I. Wada on Japanese folk embroidery.

A Methodology for Creating Fractal Islamic Patterns
Phil Webster

Blending his own mathematics background with ancient craft traditions, artist Phil Webster presented his methodology for applying fractal mathematics to Islamic design concepts to create his multimedia artwork.

Algorithms + Infinity
Martin Davis

Our neighborhood world-renowned logician Martin Davis explained how mathematicians go about specifying increasingly complex sets of numbers. Using the basic and concrete language of numbers, we saw how changing your perspective on a problem can lead to deeper understandings and new avenues to explore.

Essential Geometry of the Mapuche and Ranquel Poncho de Cacique
Vanessa Drake Moraga

Textile scholar Vanessa Drake Moraga discussed two visually disparate design traditions of the Chief’s Poncho, an emblem of cultural resistance and indigenous identity woven by South American native peoples, linked through their use of ancient archetypal symbols to convey concepts of cosmological order, sacred space, and relationships to the land.

(In)tangible Heritage: Stitchery from Northeastern Japan
Yoshiko I. Wada

Esteemed textile scholar Yoshiko I. Wada introduced sashiko embroidery from northern Japan, whose simple graphic motifs often build to create complex compositions with varied symbolic meanings. Discussing sashiko’s regional specificities and the phenomenon of its global spread, Yoshiko introduced the themes of the 11th International Shibori Symposium on how craft communities can thrive as regional identities in increasingly global societies.