San Francisco Tribal & Textile Arts Show

Tribal and Textile Arts Show in San Francisco, CA
Tribal and Textile Arts Show in San Francisco, CA

This weekend in San Francisco, the Tribal & Textile Arts Show is happening at the Fort Mason Festival Pavilion. I went for the opening night Thursday, and also volunteered for the Textile Arts Council there on Saturday. There is a staggering amount of incredible art and artifacts, from African masks, to tribal jewelry, to samurai armor, and much more! It’s a real treat to walk down the aisles and see such rare & beautiful museum-quality pieces.

Japanese Boro Textiles
Japanese Boro Textiles

As usual, I was drawn to the textiles at the show more than anything. There were incredible Japanese indigo fabrics at many of the booths, including few Japanese Boro (indigo patchwork fabric) pieces. The idea behind boro fabrics is the Japanese value of “mottainai”, meaning “too good to waste”. These boro garments and textiles for the home were used by peasants, merchants, and artisans in Japan from Edo up to early Showa (17th – early 19th century). Since cotton was scarce, they would keep repairing these indigo textiles with patches and stitches, giving them a beautiful patchwork quality that tells the story of the owner and their family. It was wonderful to see these pieces in person.

Peruvian Rug Fragment
Peruvian Rug Fragment

One of the best things to see at the Tribal & Textile arts Show is always the rugs. This year, I had two favorites: a colorful rug from Peru, and another from Morocco.

The Peruvian Rug is just a fragment of a rug that would have been enormous, and was woven hundreds of years ago. It was made from alpaca fiber and dyed with natural dyes. It was hanging in Robert Morris‘ booth, who is a fine art dealer from Santa Fe, NM. He also had some other beautiful woven stripes from Peru.

The Moroccan Rug was at the Gebhart Blazek booth, who is a fine art dealer from Graz, Austria. He had a fantastic collection of colorful rugs from all over the world, but my favorite was this boucherouite rag rug. Boucherouite rugs are made from recycled wool and textiles by Berber women in North Africa. This particular rug was from an area of Morocco called Azilal, and it was made in 1990. I absolutely loved the color, texture, and design of this rug!

If you’re in San Francisco this weekend, be sure to check out the San Francisco Tribal & Textile Arts Show for beautiful collections of tribal & textile art from all over the world!

Moroccan Boucherouite Rug
Moroccan Boucherouite Rug

Block Printing on Fabric

Printing my block onto a tea towel (photo by Jen Hewett)
Printing my block onto a tea towel (photo by Jen Hewett)

Last weekend, I went to a block printing on fabric workshop taught by Jen Hewett at the Handcraft Studio School in Emeryville. I have had some previous experience with printmaking, especially in linocut & woodcut, but I had never applied block prints to fabric.

Block print on linen fabric
Block print on linen fabric

I spent a few days beforehand working out my design and repeat, drawing and redrawing until I was happy with the layout.

In class, we carved onto a medium that I wasn’t familiar with, called MOO Carve. MOO Carve is a lot softer & easier to carve than wood or linoleum, but I feel like it’s a little sturdier than other soft carving material I’ve tried. I transferred my design to the MOO Carve block & got to work. It was a pretty ambitious design to try to carve in under three hours, and I had to change my plans a little bit to finish my block in the timeframe of the class, but I’m happy with how it turned out.

In class, I was able to print onto a tea towel, a tote bag, and a few different fabrics in a variety of colors. It was a wonderful class, with a great group of students. Jen is a fantastic teacher & I would highly recommend her classes.

The next day, I decided to remove some of the negative space from the edges of my block & reprint. I hadn’t printed at home in a while & really enjoyed it. My mom used to do a lot of printmaking too, and she gave me her vintage (made in the USA) Speedball brayer to use. I got to use it for the first time and it is fabulous! I was really happy with how my repeat turned out on the second printing, and I plan to block print again soon!

Rolling the ink onto my block to create a repeat on linen fabric
Rolling the ink onto my block to create a repeat on linen fabric
Floral block print
Floral block print

Shibori: Dyeing with Indigo

 

Henry mixes the soda ash & indigo dye
Henry mixes the soda ash & indigo dye

It has been a while since I posted to my blog, but with summer coming to an end, I wanted to share one of the highlights of the past few months– experimenting with indigo dyes!

We got a great, easy to use Indigo Dye Kit from Dharma Trading company, as well as lots of white and light blue shirts, scarves, and even a pair of shoes! After a quick trip to the hardware store for some large buckets, rubber bands, twine, & gloves, we were ready to go!

Frank hangs his Itajime shibori scarf on the clothes line.
Frank hangs his Itajime shibori scarf on the clothes line.

If you’re interested in experimenting with shibori dyeing, I would highly recommend checking out Honestly WTF’s blog post about DIY Shibori. Erica does a really nice job showing different folding techniques you can use.

We dyed using several different shibori methods. With the Itajime shibori technique, you fold your fabric into an accordion, press it between two wood blocks, and secure it with rubber bands. This method produces a windowpane effect (In the image on the right, you can see Frank holding hanging his Itajime shibori scarf). In the Arashi shibori technique, you wrap your fabric tightly around a wooden pole and wrap it with twine. The result is a beautiful rippled pattern. For the Kumo shibori technique, we pretty much went wild with rubber bands for some very unexpected results! We also did a lot of experimentation with dip dyeing, and got some very beautiful indigo ombres.

It was really interesting to see how the dyes took to different fabrics and how the various shibori techniques produced beautiful and often very unexpected results! I have a lot more appreciation for this art form after experimenting with indigo dye & can’t wait to do it again!

Shibori dyed garments hanging on the clothes line.
Shibori dyed garments hanging on the clothes line.

 

 

Graphic Botanical Floral Pillows

floral outdoor throw pillowFor Summer 2009 I worked on a collection of bold, graphic botanical pillows for Pottery Barn. The beautiful flowers came from antique engravings. I took these designs, changed their layouts to work on square pillows, and reduced the number of colors from hundreds to less than twenty for textile production.

Graphic Botanical Outdoor Pillows

Holiday Pillows

winter pillowHere is a gallery of holiday pillows designed by Joan Nahurski.

The design objective focused on the use of pops of color to dress up a room for the holiday without using uniquely “Christmas” motifs.  These holiday pillows successfully used warmly neutral backgrounds and bold accent color palette associated with winter holidays. The design elements included the use of birds, flora with traditional holiday colors, and letter pillows.

Holiday Pillows

Holiday Bedding, Winter Bedding

winter bedding holidayHere is a gallery of holiday bedding and winter bedding designs by Joan Nahurski.

The use of winter foliage and the design choice to minimize use of Christmas-specific imagery allowed these bedding designs to work well as winter bedding for the entire winter season.

Holiday Bedding

Contemporary Pillows

contemporary pillow family treeHere is a gallery of contemporary pillow designs by Joan Nahurski.

The design objectives here included the contemporary use of India design patterns and hand drawn images of trees appropriate for the fall season.

Contemporary Pillows

Textile Design Portfolio and Blog

textile design
Joan Nahurski, Textile Designer

Textile Design Portfolio

Welcome to the textile design portfolio and blog for Joan Nahurski.  I am a textile designer of specialty consumer products for the home.  My designs have been successfully marketed through all three major channels: catalogs, retail stores, and the Internet.  Currently I am creating textile designs for the home furnishing retail industry.

Textile Design Blog

I am passionate about textiles with a global point of view and a focus on the use of organic materials from sustainable sources.  My blog will include a portfolio of my textile designs, inspiring design,  fabrics,  industry trends, innovation and technology change.