Saturday, 15 May 2010

An Eco Dyed 'Slow Cloth'

This scarf is nuno felted and embroidered on both sides of the silk. The silk nuno gauze was pre-dyed with onion skins using the solar dyeing method. At each end of the scarf, you will find additional nuno silk which has been naturally coloured in a dye bath of daffodils.

In many ways, this scarf was experimental for me. I have not tried layering nuno gauze prior to nuno felting before. It is the first time that I have laid wool and fibres both beneath the silk and on top of the silk prior to nuno felting and it is also the first time that I have tried to embroider on both sides of the felt.

I really love the variation of tones given by the onion skin dyed materials. The silk, where exposed, looks very pinkish brown like the rich fertile clay of the earth. The lilac dyed wool looks like a pale antique gold when laid out against the onion dyed wool.

I loved the scarf as it was, but have been reading a new book called 'Embroidery Techniques from East & West' by Munni Srivastava, and was desperate to try some of the ideas out. If, like for me, stitching has been limited to added an occasional bead or following a cross stitch pattern, then this book is perfect for you. It gives step by step instructions for simple, yet beautiful Indian embroidery techniques that can be used to compliment our own sewing skills. The book also gives a fascinating history of some of the origins of the techniques. I have been feeling very inspired by the shisha mirror work.

Shisha became very popular with the rise of the glass industry in the 17th century. Initially, shisha mirror work was developed by Mumtaz Begum, wife of Shah Jahan, who built the Taj Mahal in her memory. Mirrors and glass were auspicious and considered a protection against the 'evil eye'.

Today, shisha mirror work is very popular again both within and external to India. Cooperatives have formed which provide the women with the raw materials and design suggestions and buys the shisha work that the women are able to produce. This gives the women an economic freedom they have seldom had before and allows them to buy things for their kitchens and their daughters to make their lives less of a 'drudge'. Some of these cooperatives act as a support system for the women helping them with the costs of illness or debt.

It is really encouraging to know that if we buy good quality shisha mirror work, we are in some way helping improve the lives of women in India, allowing them to be the bread winners and take a little control of their own lives and destiny that they were previously unable to do.

I've thoroughly enjoyed this book and practicing the eastern embroidery techniques. Stitching onto felt is so gorgeous and gives me a great excuse to keep touching the softness of the fibres. I think I will continue further with this piece before listing it for sale.

Have a great week end xJ

22 comments:

Martine said...

What a lovely and beautiful work Jasmine.
And this is your first shisha work? You did a great job on it. I love it.
XXXm

Jasmine said...

Hi Martine, Thank you. This is my second attempt at shisha but it is the first time that i have done a double sided shisha so that the mirrors are on both sides. I am enjoying the Indian embroidery. Have a great week end xxxJ

Tammie Lee said...

Jasmine,
this scarf is exquisite! The colors, what I can tell of the texture and I love your embroidery art! I was just thinking it would be grand to set flat stones with this stitch too.

Melissa Ekberg Fernandes said...

the details are so cool !!
i really good inovation .

Joei Rhode Island said...

Very lovely, Jasmine. The gold and mirrors play well with the dye work you did. Lovely...

ArtSparker said...

Hmm, maybe you can give me a demo when we get together, I have been interested in this technique.

Carol Anne Strange said...

Beautiful work, Jasmine. I love the different tones and the delicate mirror work. Lovely! xx

Suzi Smith said...

absolutely gorgeous... that last pic really shows the textures... love it!

Elizabeth Rimmer said...

It's so interesting seeing a project like this taking shape. I love the variations of texture and the gleams of light from the mirrors

Jasmine said...

Hi Tammie - Thank you :) I think you are right about the stones. On the beaches of Anglesey there are sopme amazingly beautiful pebbles of greens and red. I will collect some next time I am there.

Caio - When is your little girl gonna fix that time machine and bring you back? Hi Melissa, no offence, just missing Caio x

Joei - Thank you. Looks like we are both inspired by the natural dyes right now. I love your dye pot creations. I need to learn 3d felt. Your flowers for the guild are gorgeous.

Susan - I would love to. I will bring you some eco dyed fabrics to practice on too. Just about to email you about Bristol xxJ

Hi Carol - Thank you. Its good to see you back here. Have you finished your dissertation? I hope it goes very well for you x

Hi Suzi - Thank you. I always feel much happier whith the eco dyed projects. They have a different richness and quality to them in my minds eye. I hope you are having a wonderful week end xx

Thank you Elizabeth. Today I am going to harvest as many of the Lilac blooms from my tree as i can for my next dyepot. I hear they give a wonderful green colour. I also have a slow cloth wall hanging in mind but have to do a litrtle flower pounding for the base. xJ

Fiona said...

That is just beautiful work. The mirrors and the detail around them is exquisite. I bet it's lovely to feel as well.

Healing Woman said...

This cloth is amazingly beautiful. Thanks for taking the mystery out of the mirrored shisha. I've always wondered how that was done. It really adds a lot to your cloth.

Titus said...

That's just beautiful, Jasmine, and I really enjoyed the potted history of shisha and the now of it.
Amazed that this is your first adventuring in this embroidery technique, as it looks very accomplished to me.

Jules said...

This is really unique Jasmine, I love the way you've used the shisha mirrors. I think this has become my favourite piece so far! x

Shayna Prentice said...

Positively magnificent, Jasmine!

Heather said...

Jasmine--This is another beautiful scarf! I love the colors, too.
(Check out this bag I made in nearly the same color combination!
http://woollove-functional-fiberart.blogspot.com/2010/01/my-first-resist-purse.html)
Your scarves show so much love and care, with all of their embellishments...it's no wonder you can't stop touching them!! XXO-

Jo said...

O wow!! I just loooooove this scarf, Jamine. Particularly like the close-up shots where we can see the embroidered detail and the curly tendrils of Wensleydale fibres. Soooo beautiful!!
Hugs xx

Faerie Moon Creations said...

This is absolutely lovely, Jasmine! The colors are so natural and delicate. And the embroidery work is stunning. What a lovely heirloom piece this will be! Theresa

Deborah said...

I love the textures and the mirrors! Beautiful!

Crafty Green Poet said...

what a beautiful scarf! Fascinating technique too

GreenWhisper said...

another little stunner, am loving the little mirrors with the embroidery and beadwork : ) x

Lucky Dip Lisa said...

I absolutely ADORE this slow cloth. It's perfect!
I've just been reading here and your stone studio sounds like it will be a perfect place for a nature worker to play in. Glad to read your settling in and enjoying yourself.
Thanks for your visit:)