This past Wednesday I drove up to Lancaster, PA to attend the AQS Quilt Show. I didn't have much time...it's almost a 2-hour drive and I had to go in the window between dropping Jack off at school and picking him up...soo...it was a quick trip.
I don't think I've been to a quilt show in almost 10 years. And, to be honest, I didn't have enough time to look at all the quilts...though I did see the winners...
Instead, I had a targeted mission of trying to find imported Japanese dobby cloth. It's that wonderful 100% cotton fabric with the nubby texture that I used for the cover of the Hari-kuyo needlebook. Well, I've been asked to teach it again and my sources for dobby cloth was quite slim...and searches on the internet didn't turn up much luck.
Yet, I knew there were Japanese importers who go to the quilt shows...so...I went in search...and hit the jackpot! Dobby cloth!
It turns out that Pat Maeda of Maeda Importing has quite an extensive selection. Not only that, she's very knowledgeable about the various designers of dobby and was able to explain her difficulty in importing the fabric.
Luckily for us all, she has a shop online but you may want to call her with your requests...I noticed her website doesn't show nearly as much as she physically has in stock. And she hasn't created a separate "dobby cloth" section on her website which might explain why she didn't come up in my search.
It seems like my day was going to center around imported, handmade and handwoven fabrics because I hit the jackpot again when I visited the booth of Susan Ball Faeder next door, owner of Quilter's Express to Japan.
She had this collection of handwoven, indigo-dyed (aizome)...I haven't seen this quality since I lived in Japan...all dyed in a vat with live bacteria using no chemical additives or fixatives...she even has that super-deep blue indigo-dyed fabric that's almost black...
But here, the story was similar...the dyer and weaver is in his eighties and not likely to continue to manufacture these hand-made fabrics for much longer.
A story that continued when I met another Susan, Susan McCauley from Mekong River Textiles...It was there that I found these wonderful, hand-woven silk ikat fabrics from Thailand...
And yes, she's telling the same story. There are fewer and fewer weavers.
I only had 15 mins left before I had to make my drive back to get Jack, but I hadn't yet gotten up to the third floor. So I sprinted up the stairs, and the one booth that caught my eye was yet another import booth...Batik Tambal.
Turns out Batik Tambal was just bought by Judy Gula, owner of Artistic Artifacts in Alexandria, VA. (My BNF [blogging needle friend] Elizabeth Woodford has been telling me I need to make a trip to this shop for the longest time and I have yet to make it there...)
Without a doubt, it seems like the theme for the day was unique, imported hand-dyed and hand-woven fabrics. Isn't it funny how some trips are like that...you tend to focus on just one thing...
And perhaps if you, like me, have trouble finding sources online...I've helped you locate a few gems...which also helps the importers and, ultimately, the weavers and dyers themselves.
Though the stories amongst all the
Susans sellers were the same...not as easy to find, skills are being lost, the artists are aging...
Is that the same story you're hearing?
Happy weekend to you all...
P.S. Touching my heart today, Ode to Adolescence by Janell Burley Hoffman. I am there too. Thanks Maura.