beyond being a store name in St Kilda
[the Shifu Dumpling Express]
it seems to me that shifu isn't much known of in Australia
as the Kawashima Textile School [Japan] describes it
Shifu is a woven cloth produced from paper yarn spun from Washi
it's a craft that has its roots in the 7th century
i first ran my fingers over a piece of this wonderful cloth
when Hiroko Karuno kindly visited with me in Toronto
a few summers ago
and then again when i visited with Velma Bolyard
in upstate New York last year
- she even let me beat an indigo leaf
into one of her precious pieces
Velma makes paper cloth beginning with the harvesting of plants
processing them to paper pulp
makes the paper
and weaves the cloth. it's exquisite.
so i was very excited when i read
that Velma plans to visit Australia
in June this year. it's a splendid opportunity for down-underers to learn about this craft [otherwise we'd have to travel to Japan, which is of course lovely if you can speak Japanese, but not within the reach of most!]
she's giving a class at the Natural Dye Symposium
being hosted by Beautiful Silks
if you're quick
you might get a place.
i've signed on for a couple of classes [Velma's shifu and also Trace Willans class]
it's a great initiative
gathering together a bunch of natural dye enthusiasts
in a city like Melbourne [when you're there, make sure to visit the forest inside the museum]
but enough idle chatter.
images below were kindly supplied to me by Velma
and a little off topic but found while trawling the net and putting together this page
a marvellous exhibition concept entitled "why bother"
worth a look.