Celebrating the visual languages of PEOPLE, COMMUNITY, CULTURE, and ENVIRONMENT through the global practice of resist-dye traditions and innovations, keeping in mind authenticity, reciprocity, and networking.
On January 19th, Slow Fiber Studios hosted artist talks with Yoshiko Jinzenji and our intern from Beijing, Gao Yu. We had a great turnout, thank you to everyone who came out!
The event began with Yoshiko Jinzenji displaying her quilts, some of which used the innovative fabric of Junichi Arai! She showed us images of the amazing studio she worked in for many years in Indonesia. While there, she was able to do all of her work in a sustainable manner, using dyes and fibers from the local area and creating assistant jobs for local residents.
She went into great depth describing how she used bamboo dyes to create an array of shades of white. She explained that experimenting with shades of white greatly improved her quilting technique and made her appreciate the more subtle aspects of colors and their relationships to one another.
The subject of Gao Yu’s presentation was Finding Chinese Characters in Minority Peoples Clothing in China. Gao started the presentation by giving a brief history of various dynasties in China and the defining qualities of the textiles in each. After this exposure to history and geography, he introduced us to the 55 minority cultures in China and showed where they are situated throughout the map of China. Without this introduction I would have been lost in the second half of the presentation. Gao Yu’s presentation of Chinese history was something that none of my teachers ever went into in such depth in any of my history classes.
Gao Yu went on to show us many examples of Chinese characters as they appear in minority peoples’ textiles. I was amazed to see how these minority cultures used characters in such a decorative manner. Gao Yu explained that many minority peoples used the Chinese characters only on their most important textiles, such as marriage garb. I was amazed to learn that many minority cultures don’t actually speak or read Chinese so for them the use of the characters is purely decorative.
After the wonderful talks, the evening ended with a tea ceremony conducted by Yoshiko Jinzenji. It was an amazing way to end the day. If you are interested in learning more about Chinese minority cultures, we are hosting a Talk, Show & Tell and Potluck about the Slow Fiber Studios Tour to the Yi Minority culture of Sichuan and Yunnan China. We have invited two past tour participants to bring textiles they brought back to the US and describe their time traveling in China.
Learn more about the event here