Saturday, 17 November 2018

From silk worm to Fabric -lecture and workshop

November saw us celebrating all things silk!

The lovely Fiona Nisbet came on the Friday night to talk to us about the wonders of the silk worm and different types of fibre/fabric. This was followed the next day by a workshop on making silk paper (but more of that later)

Fiona is a weaver who started out as a knitter. She has also dabbled with dyeing her fibres and now prefers the synthetic dyes for the lovely range of colours you can get.
  This is shot of all the lovely samples she bought with us to show. We were allowed to go and touch them all afterwards as we all agreed with her that textiles are a very tactile medium.
 Fiona has a passion for silk and she explained to us the stages in keeping silk worms from the egg right through to the moth.   Surprisingly wild silk moths make Tussah silk and can feed from Oak, apple, cherry or Beech trees. Once they find a food supply they only eat those leaves for the rest of their lives.
 The caterpillars are very hungry and can eat a huge quantity of leaves

 What a great shade of green they are!
 The adult moths, who only live 7 days.

Fiona told us lots of interesting facts about the different types of silk - just a few examples
- cocoon strippings are from the outside of the cocoon and the unwinding is done by the throwster (where throwsters waste comes from)
- warm water is used to dissolve the glue from the thread
- the number of dernier is the number of strands used eg 10 dernier is 10 cocoon strands
- silk noil is made from the cocoons that have been allowed to hatch

 spinning twists the fibres and makes them incredibly strong. Fiona gave us a demo on how it is done - she made it look easy but I am sure it isnt!
 You can stretch out the fibres from a cocoon and make your own silk hanky
 You can also wrap the thread round a stick and  twist to spin your own thread.
 Silk hankies are made over a u-shaped tube and each one is made up of several layers that can be seperated.
 Fiona showed us some of the lovely silk paper she made - a kind of fabric using glue and silk fibres. All sorts of things can be embedded in.
 You can even combine silk thread with wool and knit with it. The softness of the garmet was amazing.
A piece of fabric woven from Fiona's own dyed silk threads.

The following day some of our members took part in the silk paper making workshop.  looks like they had lots of fun!

 A beautiful bowl made (not sure why Margaret looks so stern?)
 Making the fabric
 Some lovely textures taking shape
 Too much enjoying yourself Lorraine!

 Fiona proudly showing off our results
 Some close ups of the lovely pieces. Well done ladies - a fabulous result.