I got to thinking about my, well not quite, but almost … obsession, with braids and fibre and fabric.  Daily life got in the way for a few days – deck finishing, prep and painting … my knees and back still ache, working on my magazine ad which I think looks pretty good for a first-time effort …

bust ad copy

Where was I … ah yes – braids and fibre and fabric.  Thinking back, this is a lifelong fascination.  I’ve been sewing since they’d let me hold a needle.  Muslin and scraps of gingham and rick-rack transitioned into silks and brocades and velvets then onto linen and specialty silks … I’m dying to get my hands on some hand-woven Dervish Cloth, which looks like silk burlap – yummy!

I’ve been playing around with fibre in combination with my jewelry for several years now.  I just have a hard time going the steel cable or Beadalon route.  I do like ‘industrial’ components, but at the back of my neck gives me the willies.  Finding my ideal stringing medium was a long time challenge.  My cache of assorted potential stringing material is extensive … lord knows what I’ll ever do with all of it … spools and cards and hanks and coils and I don’t know what all.  I finally landed on Gudebrod silk with a huge sigh of relief.  It’s been hard to beat for strength, sheen, size and color selection and it’s just downright wonderful to work with.  Not so with my bamboo experiments – not strong, fuzzy, limited colors and no size choices.   Even better, Gudebrod silk is also turning out to be quite beautiful in my braid experiments.

The thing is, what IS it about braiding?  Plain old three strand braids to the fancy-doodle 5 loop and square 5 loop braids are so very much fun, so engaging, so mesmerizing.  Now I’ve got it down to entering a meditative rhythm while I weave the strands.  If I stop to think or if my mind strays, I’ll drop a loop or miss a grab.  So it forces me to empty my mind and let my thoughts wash away – an especially wonderful side effect since my meditation practice went right down the toilet when we moved last year.  A surprise gift from my new-found technique.

Which leads me to the concept of contemplative textile studies and the work of  Gizella Warburton, discovered in the pages of my delicious new issue of Selvedge.  So very reminiscent of Asian hand-sewing techniques.  No surprise the exquisiteness of Japanese stitching and just as compelling the quilts of Gee’s Bend – seeing those bordered on a religious experience.  Here’s one of Gizella’s pieces …

gizella k warburton textile

So here’s the common thread in my work (sorry couldn’t resist).  Repetition  …  of forms and components which leads to repetitive, contemplative techniques for assembling – knotting and braiding of the silk.  Jewelry making as a meditation practice.  It seems to me that kind of deliberate focus and intent can transmit to the wearer, which makes jewelry making even more inspiring.  Goodness, a blessing of the highest order.

Two more things …


Fog Linen Work – a lot of the site is in Japanese, but so many luscious things to behold.

And in keeping with the braids and fibre theme, another musical selection from 1 Giant Leap – Braided Hair

okay, I lied – one more thing …

My word for the day, week, month … Liminality –  period of transition where normal limits to thought, self-understanding, and behavior are relaxed – a situation which can lead to new perspectives. Good word, no?

with deep gratitude and blessings – kvk