November 2019

SOCIAL & Shibori Tenugui Exhibition

Meet Hiroyuki Murase from Suzusan Germany

Saturday 16 November 2019

Suzusan’s roots lie in the Japanese town of Arimatsu. In order to cope with the decline of the shibori trade that has been witnessed over the past five decades, the shibori craft community is attempting to give the technique a more contemporary relevance by developing innovative techniques and producing modern creations.

Hiroyuki is the eldest son of the Murase family. He studied art at the University for the Creative Arts in Farnham, Surrey, as well as at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf. During his time away from Japan, Hiroyuki has gained appreciation gained appreciation for his family’s work, which is so rich in tradition. In 2008, he co-founded with a German colleague the Suzusan label in Düsseldorf, where they continue to create high fashion shibori design for interiors and wardrobes.

In November, he came by to the Slow Fiber Studios Annex for a casual lecture and hosted a shibori tenugui exhibition, all made and designed in Arimatsu, Japan.

November 2019

SOCIAL & Tenugui Exhibition

Saturday 16 November 2019
Fellow dyers and indigo enthusiasts met over communal, robust 30 gallon organic indigo vats made from Persicaria tinctoria, Indigofera tinctoria, and Indigofera suffruticosa from Tennessee and California, USA and Oaxaca, Mexico.

October 2019


Sarah Bellos, Tennessee, USA
Thursday 24 October 2019

Sarah Bellos, CEO and founder of Stony Creek Colors (SCC), is returning to Berkeley to share with us some details of how the company is shaping the future of the fashion industry in the U.S.

SCC challenges modern industrial practices by fostering local agriculture, strengthening the local economy, and implementing environmental sustainability in manufacturing natural dyes for textiles. Their bio-based colors are made from locally farmed plants.

It is the first company in the U.S. to grow indigo at a scale usable by the commercial textile industry. The company is expanding to grow, source, and manufacture an array of regional, bio-based dyes that move the color wheel beyond blue. One of their newest products, black walnut paste, is a dye extracted from waste hulls sourced from hulling stations in Tennessee, where the nut is separated out for food use. The company has been introducing alternative crops to farmers in Tennessee facing decreased demand for tobacco.

October 2019


Monday 21 October 2019

Fellow dyers and indigo enthusiasts met over communal, robust 30 gallon organic indigo vats made from Persicaria tinctoria, Indigofera tinctoria, and Indigofera suffruticosa from Tennessee and California, USA and Oaxaca, Mexico. Slow Fiber Studios founder Yoshiko I. Wada provided casual instruction and demonstration at the beginning of the Indigo JAM session and gave advice on participants’ latest indigo projects.

October 2019


Lucy Arai + Yoshiko I. Wada, USA
Saturday – Monday 19 – 21 October 2019

ARTIST TALK & Potluck Social

Artistic Practice Through Sashiko
Presented by Lucy Arai
Saturday 19 October 2019

Lucy Arai, foremost contemporary sashiko artist and Yoshiko I. Wada, researcher of Japanese folk textile traditions, shared the artistry and history of sashiko, a form of Japan’s Northeastern region (Tōhoku) as a practical method of darning textiles and piecing and cloth. The stitches reinforce clothing, bedding, wrappers and bags, increasing their capacity for insulation, durability and warmth. Its linear nature results mostly in multiple variations on geometric patterns.

Students embarked on a journey through basic running or darning stitchery on used cloth to the development of their own contemplative geometry on hand-loomed or hand-woven bast fiber cloth. From humble, selfless beginnings the handwork opens into a state of transcendent beauty.

October 2019


Talks by Kristal Hale-Murray + Alejandro de Avila B.
Led by Yoshiko I. Wada
Sunday 13 October 2019

© Smithsonian Institute / Museo Textil de Oaxaca

Medieval Italian Alms Purse examined at the Abegg-Stiftung
Talk by Kristal Hale-Murray

Nestled in the foothills of the Bernese Alps in Riggisberg, Switzerland is the esteemed Abegg-Stiftung (Foundation). Recent graduate from the textile conservation program, Kristal Hale-Murray, spoke about the Foundation’s private textile collections, research and conservation program. Recently having obtained a master’s degree in textile conservation, Kristal presented her dissertation on the analysis and conservation of a 13th-14th Century medieval tapestry-woven alms purse from the Cathedral of Como, Italy, emphasizing the use of dyes originating from plant species foreign to medieval Europe. She also provided a glimpse into the current exhibition organized at the Abegg-Stiftung, Luxury on the Nile – Late Antique Attire from Egypt which includes loom-constructed woven clothes and natural dyes.

The Raffle of the Jaguar
Talk by Alejandro de Avila B.

Francisco Toledo, artist and philanthropist extraordinaire, donated to the Museo Textil de Oaxaca an example of woven feather work that may originate in the Mixtec region of southern Mexico, and which probably dates from the late 17th Century. The study of this exceptional fragment has allowed us to recreate the dyeing, spinning and weaving of duck/goose down into fabric. In this lecture, Dr. Avila, founder of the Ethnobotanical Garden of Oaxaca, described and illustrated the historical textile, along with a full sized huipil (the Mesoamerican women’s tunic) that he has designed and crafted together with the talented  young weaver Noé Pinsón Palafox, inspired by Francisco Toledo’s gift to the museum. The huipil features a pattern of jaguars, intended as a pun on the historical moment Mexico is going through currently.

September 2019


Natural Dyes: A series of FIVE exploratory, focused one-day workshops
Catharine Ellis
Tuesday – Saturday, 10 – 14 September

Artist Talk, Book signing & Potluck Social
Thursday, 12 September

courtesy Nick Falduto

Medieval Italian Alms Purse examined at the Abegg-Stiftung
Talk by Kristal Hale-Murray

Catharine Ellis, distinguished textiles artist, educator, and natural dye specialist, taught a comprehensive series of one-day workshops examining natural dyes through five separate specifications. These included dyeing wool with and without mordants, utilizing ‘classic’ tannins such as gall nut and locally available tannin variants, comparing mordant processes, printing with natural dyes, and simultaneous direct application of assorted natural dyes and mordants onto fabric. Students focused on the importance of informed exploration of natural dyes for textile artists who desire a thorough understanding of their processes.

August 2019


Shibori A to Z: Learn from a Master
by Hiroshi Murase, assisted by Yoshiko I. Wada
Monday – Thursday, 19 – 2 August 2019

Pre-Workshop Talk & Trunk Show
by Hiroshi Murase, translated by Yoshiko I. Wada
Sunday 18 August 2019

courtesy Nick Falduto

Mr. Murase taught a variety of traditional techniques and introduced shibori tools to create hand-dyed textile masterpieces. Drawing from ancient and modern knowledge, students explored how to design patterns, made stencils, and developed their inspiration into a creative process. Yoshiko I. Wada, author of definitive books on shibori, assisted Mr. Murase during the workshop with Japanese translation and making the indigo vat.

June 2019


Community Indigo JAM and Shibori Social
DVD Launch Party for Ana Lisa Hedstrom| Saturday, 15 June 2019

Participants brought their natural fiber projects and worked alongside Yoshiko I. Wada and Ana Lisa Hedstrom. Ana Lisa gave firsthand insight into her newest DVDs, ARASHI II: New Patterns and Possibilities &Kakishibu Persimmon Tannin: Shibori on Paper and Fabric. Casual instruction was provided on how to use tools and materials for shibori techniques and the use and maintenance of natural indigo vats. Participants also gained personal feedback and advice from Yoshiko and Ana Lisa and met fellow dyers in the area over communal, organic indigo dye vats.

June 2019


Jewelry from Found Objects
by Maria Nevermann | Saturday – Sunday, 1 – 2 & 8 – 9, June 2019

In this two-day workshop, German jewelry artist Maria Nevermann shared her unique process for creating contemporary jewelry from found objects. She took walks and collected plastic debris she found around Berkeley. Students created assemblages from these random fragments, inventing new shapes and color combinations that gave the discarded objects a second life. Students created wearable art from their own collections of found objects and learned European gold leaf technique with 24 karat gold to enhance their pieces.

Fiber Techniques in Jewelry
by Maria Nevermann | Saturday – Sunday, 1 – 2 & 8 – 9, June 2019

In this two-day workshop, German jewelry artist Maria Nevermann taught an ancient fiber technique for knitting with metal wire, lightweight pieces in extraordinary shapes. Maria combines old craft fiber techniques with storytelling to create new expressions of traditional crafts. Students were instructed to bring a piece of cloth or clothing that holds special meaning. These materials were transformed into wearable art.

March 2019


The Year of Ethnobotany: North American Indigo Projects
Michel Garcia + Sarah Bellos + Rowland Ricketts + Rebecca Burgess + Indigo Makers
UC Berkeley Botanical Gardens, Berkeley, CA
Sunday, 31 March 2019

INDIGO from PLANTS, or PETROLEUM?: Transparency, Traceability, and Farm-to-Trade

Slow Fiber Studios and UC Botanical Garden collaborated in presenting the North American Indigo Projects with guest speakers, including world-renowned natural dye expert Michel Garcia from France; Sarah Bellos of Stony Creek Colors, Tennessee; and Rowland Ricketts, Indiana. Their presentations will be followed by a discussion panel with Rebecca Burgess of Fibershed; Kristine Vejar, Berkeley; Craig Wilkinson, Sonoma; Graham Keegan, Los Angeles; and a moderator, Yoshiko Wada, Berkeley. In light of the growing awareness of ecological responsibility—the need to  preserve the health of people and the environment, as well as the traceability of production processes—artists, designers, and industries are reviving the use of natural indigo. The colloquium discussed models of using indigo dye in artistic pursuits, community engagement, education all in the intention to learn about revolutionary changes in the industry.


Indigo Intensive: Dried Leaves, Compost (sukumo), Powder, and Paste
by Michel Garcia, Sarah Bellos, Rowland Ricketts, Craig Wilkinson
Saturday, 30 March 2019

The Slow Fiber Studios Annex initiated a dynamic experience with interactive conversations and exchange of information between invited indigo specialists. This unique crossover facilitated the studio space as a platform to activate expert indigo knowledge, spark imagination and inspire the participants in a wide range of topics concerning indigo. Discussions and demonstrations covered: sukumo (compost), dried indigo leaves, indigo powder and making indigo dye vats.

April 2019


Beyond Mordants: Printing & Painting
by Michel Garcia
Monday – Wednesday, 1 – 3 April 2019

Presented in our Natural Dye Workshop IV DVD, Michel shared his newly developed printing and painting techniques on cloth.  This workshop, he taught two methods how to process insoluble colors such as indigo, annatto, and alkanet for painting.  For example, how to extract indigo from dried leaves of indigofera plant family as a dye paste. In addition, Michel covered printing with pagoda tree blossom buds, logwood, and cochineal together on wool. Participants learned to combine and layer various colors together on the the same surface and steam set colors in cloth. 

October 2018

Colloquium + Trunk Show + Workshop

Batik: Enduring Art of Dyers in Indonesia
Hillside Club, Berkeley, CA
Sunday, 14 October 2018

Slow Fiber Studios hosts a series of events focusing on Javanese life and culture through the lens of its batik traditions.

There is a rhythm to life in Java reflective of the rhythm of its dance. The pace is slow, much slower than what we are used to in other parts of the world. There is ritual, and dance, and music, and with it – there is batik.

Batik touches on just about every aspect of Indonesian life. From the cloth a child is wrapped in when it is born to the clothing worn by Indonesian leaders at important gatherings, batik binds a proud nation to a long and cherished cultural identity.

Batik is truly “intangible”, as UNESCO proclaimed in 2009. It is part of our world heritage, the identity of an island nation, worthy of admiration and preservation.

Film Screening + Lectures + Demonstration + Performance
Sunday, 14 October

Trunk Show
Sunday, 14 October

Menyanting: 3-Day Batik Workshop
by Bu Dalmini | Friday – Sunday, 19 – 21 October