Friday, April 8, 2011

Friday Inspiration - Natural Dye Weavers

In my continuing quest to learn more about fiber artists who use cochineal dyeing in their work, I've come across three very inspiring people. 

Transition, World Cultures Museum, Edinburgh, Scotland.
If you live in the Southwest and are at all interested in Navajo weaving, chances are you've heard of DY Begay.  DY's weavings use wool from the sheep she raises at her home in Tselani, Arizona.  I was fortunate enough to see her work and natural dyed yarn at the Heard Museum Indian Fair last month and as beautiful and vibrant as her colors look in reproduced photographs, they are stunning in real life!  She shows her weavings in many different venues and also keeps a busy teaching schedule - be sure to check out her website not only to see her gorgeous artwork but also to see where she'll be in case it's by you.  In this video, DY talks about some of the natural dyes she makes and uses.

Traveling further south, and back to where cochineal's been used in dyeing for at least centuries, Demetrio Bautista Lazo carries on his family's dyeing and weaving traditions.  His website has examples of his work, a video, and detailed information about how the plants he gathers are used to dye the wool he weaves with.  This weaving shows all the beautiful cochineal shades I love!

And while I don't know if the final artist uses cochineal dyed yarn in his work, I couldn't resist featuring him!  Four-year-old Shawn Begay (I don't know if he's related to DY - Begay is a very common last name) is definitely an up and coming Navajo weaver.  Weaving is usually a female thing among the Navajo, but often boys are also taught.  Shawn comes from a weaving family and definitely inherited a gift!  Enjoy listening to Georgiana  Kennedy Simpson's  interview about his second creation in this video ...

Happy Creating!  Deborah

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