What began as an interest in textiles as a youngster evolved into a passion for the entire process — one that led to weaving and hand spinning her own wool, eventually from her own sheep! And although she no longer weaves and spins, she still maintains a flock of over 100 Old English longwool sheep.
For warmer weather, Nan switches to silk, utilizing various techniques to achieve a wide array of exotic patterns. All of her silk starts out white, a blank canvas to which she applies design and color with beautiful results.
|Elegant pole-wrapped silk scarf.|
Shibori, a Japanese term for a number of methods of resist-dyeing cloth, is one of Nan’s favorite techniques. Pole wrapping, an example of shibori, involves wrapping cloth around a rod or a rope prior to applying the dye. The results are almost tie-dye like, with a striping pattern.
Clamping and dyeing is another type of shibori, one which lends itself to a more geometric pattern — often circles or starbursts.
|Clamping and dyeing can create circles ...|
|... or coffee beans!|
Another approach to Nan’s art is the more organic deconstructed silk screen printing. Ever the adorable textile geek, Nan describes the rather involved procedure: “I mix dyes with sodium alginate thickener ...which I then paint right on to the silk screen. I add texture, such as string, wallpaper scraps, rubber gloves and other found items. I let the thickened dye dry on the screen. When dry, clear sodium alginate is squeegeed onto the screen to release the dye into the cloth.” From there, she steams the piece to set the color, washes it and voila! Her science project is ready to adorn the lucky wearer.
|We love the vibrant and organic silk screen print.|
Nan’s enthusiasm for fiber arts is both inspirational and contagious. The next time you’re in Chinatown/International District, pop in to Momo and check out her work, we’ll have it through the summer. Perhaps you, too, will feel inspired ... and find yourself researching breeds of sheep (or silkworms)!