My FINA class has just set up an exhibition in the library called Unshelved, buy which is on display until April 8th. The theme is art as future making, which allows for a broad range of subject matter. I am enjoying the novelty of working with people from other departments.
My project features paper yarn spun by hand from the pages of an old dictionary. I then wove it into a tapestry with a cotton warp. I also cut out words beginning with “re” and their definitions. I was contemplating the connections between language, storytelling, and textiles, and their restorative potential. The wooden spindle and spool reinforce the spinning associations, drawing greater attention to process. Spinning and weaving with paper were extremely time consuming but I’m happy with the result.
Spinning and weaving with paper yarn is particularly popular in Japan. The resulting cloth is called shifu. They normally use stronger papers made from kozo or gampi, which can be spun using a spindle or wheel (my dictionary paper was too fragile and I had to do it all by hand). You can find helpful tutorials here, here, and here. Some good books are A Song of Praise for Shifu, by Susan J. Bird, Kigami and Kami-ito, by Hiroko Karuno, and Paper Textiles by Christina Leitner.
– HEIDI –