News

How basketry preserved a people

The story of Zulu basketry is one of revival. The craft was dying because of the introduction of tin and plastic containers. A Swedish minister, Kjell Lofroth, and his wife, Bertha, witnessed the decline in local crafts. When drought struck in the late 1960s and people in the rural KwaZulu-Natal Province faced starvation, Mr. Lofroth began the Vukani (“Wake up and get going”) Arts Association to help single women support their families. Only three elderly women knew how to make baskets, but they taught others. A market, and the craft, flourished.

How basketry preserved a peopleThe Christian Science Monitor

Laotian fabric used by kimono firm for obi

Home weavers in Laotian farming villages may be thousands of kilometres from Japan, but their colourful textiles, delicately hand-woven and with detailed elaborate patterns, are gaining attention in the ancient capital of Kyoto as a new material for making traditional kimono garments.
Omiya Co, a kimono wholesaler in Kyoto, is undertaking a project that uses Laotian textiles to make obi for kimono. It aims to breathe new life into the diminishing kimono market while hoping that the project will help create job opportunities for Laotian women and improve their economic status.

Laotian fabric used by kimono firm for obiThe Japan Times Online

Iranian weavers make world’s largest handwoven carpet

Iranian weavers have registered a new record in the Guinness World Records for the world’s largest hand-woven carpet.
The Iranian carpet, that broke the earlier record, is 133 metre long and is about 48 metre wide and has been laid in the Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
Each day around 1,500-2,000 people are visiting the place to see the carpet, which has been embellished with traditional Persian designs and natural colours and has over 2.1 billion knots.
It took about 18 months for the 1,200 weavers weaving the carpet in Neyshaboor city in Iran’s north-eastern province of Khorassan Razavi, to complete the job, while working in two shifts a day.
The carpet that spreads on 5,634 square meters, weighs about 48 tons. It is made up of 72 percent wool and 28 percent cotton.

Iranian weavers make world’s largest handwoven carpetFibre2fashion.com

Dog fur: A hard yarn to spin

It’s probably not the first thing you think of when you see a beautiful white Samoyed dog.
But next time you spot one, you might just think about knitting.
Knitting yarn spun from the fur or wool of Samoyed dogs was practiced in the 1940s.
Robyn Barr says it’s remarkably easy, with beautiful results.
She’s owned Samoyed dogs for 50 years.
“For 40 years I threw it away,” she says of the fur.
Until she didn’t.

Dog fur: A hard yarn to spin702 ABC Sydney

Weaver’s Guild puts old looms to good use

Several residents are weaving their way through history on looms that were used decades ago.
The Aiken County Historical Museum has two looms, one donated by the late Arne Fleflet many years ago. The other was given to the museum more recently by Judith Stanton, according to local weaver Gary Smith.
It’s a story about donations that empowered others to learn, Smith said. It’s a learning laboratory open to everybody. I have learned something almost every time I come here.
Smith said the looms were popular during the Depression era and both that belong to the museum are from around the 1930s. The looms, which were around $50 at the time, were used in home industry, which gave those without work a chance to make some money through the various things they wove together.
Rather than just sitting stagnant in the museum on display, the two looms became pieces of living history. Weavers work with pieces of cloth and string, much of the material, creating both simple and intricate pieces of textile art. One of the most infamous works is a silk tie rug done by local historian Owen Clary.

Weaver’s Guild puts old looms to good useaikenstandard.com

Australian weavers at Sabah exhibition

The Sabah Art Gallery is holding the Third Folk Art Exhibition at the Ming Garden Hotel and Residence here.
The event with the theme, Understanding Aspects of Australian Aboriginal Culture, which began yesterday until July 17, features weavers from the Koorie Heritage Trust of Melbourne, Australia.
Three weavers from Australia will be demonstrating their basket weaving skills alongside three local Sabahan weavers.
The Australian weavers comprise Treahna Hamm who is a renowned artist, Bronwyn Razem from Kirrae Whurrong clan of the Gunditjimara people on the western Warrnambool coastline and Patricia Harrison who is a Gunai/Kurnai and Yorta Yorta woman, while the local weavers are Dainsing Binti Darum from Kampung Inarad, Tongod, Mainah Tuumuh from Kampung Kalibatang, Kuala Tomani and Rembini Suanti from Kampung Bongol, Tamparuli.

Australian weavers at Sabah exhibitionBorneo Post Online

Spider Silk Spun Into Violin Strings

A Japanese researcher has used thousands of strands of spider silk to spin a set of violin strings.
The strings are said to have a soft and profound timbre relative to traditional gut or steel strings.
That may arise from the way the strings are twisted, resulting in a packing structure that leaves practically no space between any of the strands.

Spider silk spun into violin stringsBBC News

NZ call for Olympic sheep shearing

The New Zealand Farmers Federation has called for sheep shearing to become an Olympic sport, hailing top wool-clippers as world-class athletes.
With the World Shearing Championships set to be held in the North Island town of Masterton in March, federation spokeswoman Jeanette Maxwell said shearing was now a bona fide sport that deserved international recognition.

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Nazis, needlework and my dad

After six months held by the Nazis in a prisoner of war camp, Major Alexis Casdagli was handed a piece of canvas by a fellow inmate. Pinching red and blue thread from a disintegrating pullover belonging to an elderly Cretan general, Casdagli passed the long hours in captivity by painstakingly creating a sampler in cross-stitch. Around decorative swastikas and a banal inscription saying he completed his work in December 1941, the British officer stitched a border of irregular dots and dashes. Over the next four years his work was displayed at the four camps in Germany where he was imprisoned, and his Nazi captors never once deciphered the messages threaded in Morse code: “God Save the King” and “Fuck Hitler”.

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Fleece auctions enter online world

Wool, the domestic industry that once gave Australia one of the world’s highest living standards, has finally entered the world of 21st-century transactions.
While Australia’s wealth these days depends more on mining than the sheep’s back, wool seller AuctionsPlus will next week conduct its first real-time fleece auction.

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