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North Country Shifu, teaching


  • University of Washington Odegaard Undergraduate Library 4060 George Washington Lane Northeast Seattle, WA 98195 USA (map)

Why would one take a perfectly beautiful piece of paper, and cut it up in order to spin the strip into a thread
to weave into cloth? North Country Shifu will introduce you to shifu making, answering this question.You will learn how to prepare a piece of appropriate handmade paper for spinning, spin it into thread (kami-ito), fabricatea simple loom, and needle weave your kami-ito into shifu. Shifu is defined as a spun and woven paper textile, in which at least the weft (but sometimes also the warp) of the textile is made with paper.This textile technique was developed in rural Japan as a way to make a warm cloth. From that humble beginning it has been refined into exquisite textiles often viewed as art. In our class, you can expect to work a bit with color as well, making marks on papers that will be spun up into secret-keeping textiles.

Spinning and weaving paper is a unique experience for both paper and textile artists, facilitating crossover and encouraging new thinking and making in both fiber and book arts.This class is open to students of all levels, although having previous spinning experience will be helpful.

Velma Bolyard is a papermaker and fiber artist. Her current body of work includes botanical handmade paper, shifu, contact printing, and artists’ books.Velma travels, attends residencies, and teaches, across North America and Australia. Her work is deeply influenced by the isolated and rural North Country of NewYork where she has lived most of her life.Velmahas written on shifu for the Summer 2017 issue of Hand Papermaking magazine. To learn more aboutVelma visit www.velmabolyard.com.