CNCHnet . . . The Textile Arts Webzine of the Conference of Northern California Handweavers

Spring 2011


Many of us started our involvement in weaving, spinning, felting, dyeing and basketry with a curiosity about the raw materials. How do the fields of little puff balls end up as my T-shirt?  How did ancient cultures figure out that they could turn plants into fabric when part of the process is rotting the stems?  Was felt an accidental find by people who stuffed their sandals with wool to keep their feet warm?  Did a Chinese Empress really discover that silk cocoons could be unwound and the fibers spun?

These questions and many others have led many of us to experiment with traditional and non-traditional raw materials as well as to raise wool bearing animals for our fiber supply.  We fiber artists have inquiring minds.  As a group, we want to know how and why things work the way they do.  We also tend to have open minds, think outside the box and question conventional wisdom.

This issue of CNCHnet celebrates some of the artists among us, highlighting their use of raw materials which they forage or farm and turning those materials into works of art.  As a counterpoint to the theme, I’ve also included an article on cultivating and harvesting commercial cottonCotton was King in the antebellum South, but it was a kingdom built on slavery.  Today’s harvesting of the crop looks, on the surface, to be  mechanical with minimal human interface, but it is certainly more humane.

Read what your fellow members have written and be inspired to try something outside your normal ‘comfort zone’  and let us know how your projects turn out.  After all, inquiring minds want to know.

Judy Fisher, Editor

Click here for the first article