Excellence In Fibers is on view until March 19, 2017 at New Bedford Art Museum/ArtWorks! Four weavings are on exhibit. Fiber Art Now, a quarterly print and digital magazine, developed the exhibition.
I have returned to the city of Lodz, Poland again and again. It is home to an extraordinary group of weavers and textile artists whose innovation and creativity inspire me. Its history haunts me.
I first visited Poland in 1992 and have had the privilege to return a number of times over the years. In the late 1990s I worked with Polish and American colleagues to develop an exhibition of contemporary Polish fiber art that toured the USA, called Different Voices: New Art from Poland. When I returned to Lodz after a hiatus of almost twenty years, the monuments and memorials to the victims of World War II struck me.
When I revisited Poland in 2014 to teach a workshop on ikat we stayed in the Baluty neighborhood of Lodz. This neighborhood was clearly demarcated in present day Lodz as the site of the Litzmannstadt Getto of 1940-1944, stenciled on curbs around the perimeter and marked with a granite marker. The Lodz Ghetto was the second largest Jewish ghetto in Poland. The Nazis changed the name of the city to Litzmannstadt in November 1939 after a German general who invaded the city in World War I.
This brief immersion in the Lodz Ghetto has propelled me to return to my research about World War II, this time examining the European causes and consequences. The ikat technique, my interest in text and image, and the desire to grapple with history in visual terms have come together.
The weaving, Litzmannstadt Getto, 1940-1944, 2015 is the first in this group of works, a major undertaking in which I have been able to combine text and pattern using an innovation of the Indian method of preparing the threads for dyeing.
I explore the world through woven fabric, constructed thread by thread, infused with color from plant and mineral sources. Inherently a slow process, I wind lengths of thread to become warp yarns, secure them around a frame to bind the desired pattern, immerse them in mordant and dye solutions so they can achieve a specific color, remove the binding to free the threads so finally I can transfer them to the loom to weave a fabric, inserting the weft yarn, row by row.
The Litmannstadt Getto weaving is currently on view in the 15th International Triennial of Tapestry, at the Central Museum of Textiles in Lodz, Poland as part of the American contingent. Judith Content, Susan Iverson, Jill Nordfors Clark, Kathy Weaver
To learn more about the history of the Lodz Ghetto you can find a number of on-line sites, including:
We are looking forward to installing our show in Louisville next week and meeting the community there.
I am happy to announce I will be teaching at Convergence in Milwaukee this year, the first week of August 2016. Visit the Handweavers Guild of America webpage for complete details: http://www.weavespindye.org/convergence
3W-M004 Mashru Scarf: Ikat in Indian Style with Natural Dye;
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, August 1-3, 2016, 9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Wind, bind, dye, and weave a cotton Ikat scarf inspired by the dazzling Mashru fabrics of India. Students will experience the magic of Ikat weaving on their own loom in this intense workshop where they will bind the warp with a resistdesign and dye it with natural dye on the first two days and weave a scarf on the third.
A 4–8 shaft loom with reed sizes of 8, 10, 12 or 15 and a warping board will be required. Materials Fee: $35. Level: Intermediate.
U-R036 Navigating the Graphic Potential of Pro-Weave for Repeat Design;
Thursday, August 4, 2016, 9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
A dazzling array of software is available to handweavers. Pro-Weave is an unusual choice because it allows the weaver to draw as a key part of the design process. In fact, the graphic potential is so great that the user can easily generate charts for other textile projects. This workshop explores how to use the graphic tools for repeat design and more.
A laptop with the free demo version of Pro-Weave installed will be required. Materials Fee: $6. Level: All.
S-FP076 Ikat Centers of India: Gujarat, Telengana, Odisha
Friday Afternoon, August 5, 2016, 2:30 p.m.–4:00 p.m.
Wendy Weiss Explore the exciting world of contemporary Indian Ikat and draw your original design. In 2015 Wendy Weiss visited each area as part of her Fulbright-Nehru senior scholar research project and will show fabric samples from each Ikat region. Learn about her work introducing digital design techniques to a small group of artisans in the Saurashtra region of Gujarat and her visit to the Patola House, home of the world’s only Ikat museum.
Materials Fee: $1.50. Level: All.
Jewish Community Center, Louisville, Kentucky
February 21-March 29, 2016
Opening reception, Sunday, Feb. 21, 2-4pm
This exhibition features recent naturally dyed ikat weavings by Wendy Weiss and accompanying photographs of ikat artisans at work in India and historic looms and factory buildings in Łodź, Poland by Jay Kreimer. The exhibition also highlights five silk weavings by artisans in a rural community in the Surendranagar District of Gujarat, where Weiss worked as a Fulbright Nehru senior research scholar from October 2014 to July 2015, training the weavers in digital design. Ikat is a method of dyeing warp and/or weft yarns, using binding of selected areas of the threads to resist dye the yarns in a patterned way, prior to placing them on the loom to weave. Ms. Weiss has been developing a method to create pattern in ikat using the traditional Gujarati system for preparing the warp yarn.
In August of 2014 she taught an ikat workshop at the Strzeminski Academy of Fine Arts Łodź, Poland which inspired a group of weavings about the “Litzmannstadt Getto,” in Łodź. One of these weavings will be exhibited at the 15th International Triennale of Textiles in Łodź in 2016.