Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Pretoria Weaver's Guild

Yesterday I did a dye demo at the Pretoria Weaver's Guild. This Guild has been around for decades and is made up of people who spin their own thread and weave their own textiles by hand.

It is a fascinating process and a person ca work on a single project for many months.

It was interesting to note that most of the Guild members were over sixty years of age. When I asked the organisers about this, they told me that the Guild had more than 700 members in the 1970's. That number has shrunk to around 60 or so. They believe that this has happened because more and more women are having to go out and work and have less time (and energy) to spend on themselves doing hand crafts. Because this is such a labour intensive craft, it is now mostly practiced by retired people who have the time to do it.

It is such a pity that this amazing craft that lies so deeply embedded in our textile history is fading out. Today most fabrics are woven on large automated looms and the knowledge that was once passed down from mother to daughter and father to son is now lost.

In some coutries around the world, the knowledge survives, but in South Africa, it is definitely dying out. I feel it is a real pity. There is nothing quite so beautiful as an authentic hand woven piece of cloth.

If you would like to know more about the Weaver's Guild or become a member, please get in touch with me and I will point you in the right direction. I would hate to see this craft die out completely in South Africa.

Have a great day in full colour!

Kind regards



Tuesday, January 11, 2011

High Fashion In Milan

My signature South African flag dyed by hand on chiffon silk recently walked down the catwalk in Milan. Follow the link to see it!


I have been producing hand dyed fabrics for the fashion industry since 2002 and they have appeared in collections around the world from New York to Milan.

Because I work so far behind the scenes in manufacturing, very few people know about it since the fashion designer is normally credited for the work. What most people do not realise is that a fashion designer will use many service providers along the way to producing a garment. A single garment may involve a pattern-maker, textile designer, dyer, printer, CMT (cut make and trim), beader and finisher before it makes it onto the runway. Very often the fashion designer is only responsible for the conceptual design and co-ordination of service providers.

Next time you see a garment strutting down the catwalk, remember that it is the work of many hands and try to guess how many people might have been involved in bringing the creation to you.

Have a great day in full colour!

Kind regards