Friday, October 14, 2011

Weaver's Spirit Power

Last night I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the Opening Reception for a weaving exhibit at the Museum of Natural and Cultural History here in Eugene. The weaver Susan Pavel had an exhibit of woven blankets and clothing that she has done, all of which will be gifted to people in her life next February. Susan learned to weave 15 years ago from "Uncle". She spent three months of her summer preparing the fiber from the sheep to the finishing of a blanket. That first blanket was gifted to"Uncle". The following year she spent the next summer doing the same task and gifting that blanket. The third summer of her apprenticeship she actually finished two blankets. Each piece that Susan works on is inspired by the Spirit talking to her and instructing her in her work.
One thing that is different in her work is that the weaving is either twined of done in twill. The yarn used is quite thick as is traditional in Salish weavings, since they area a tribe that lives in the cooler Pacific Northwest.
One of the fibers that she uses is Mountain Goat Wool. This wool must be collected from bushes that have bits of fiber on them from the wild goats brushing against them. This goat wool is extremely soft, quite like quiviet fiber. There is a part of the exhibit that you can actually touch a sample of this lucious fiber. Along with this you can try your hand at twining and a bit of twill weaving. She also dyes her fibers and uses natural dyes that have been used traditionally by the Salish people.
The exhibit will be on display until January29th 2012. I do encourage you to go see it. If you are able to go on a Monday, at certain times, you can actually weave a bit of fiber into a blanket in the Longhouse on the museum grounds.

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