Catharine Ellis’ Woven Shibori World

Catharine Ellis’ Woven Shibori World


Woven Shibori Samples from “Woven Shibori—Dyeing Green” with Catharine Ellis

A Student Perspective by Donna Mentzer

Last spring I was visiting a yarn shop with a friend who was looking for books. As she pulled out the book she wanted, another book fell to the floor. I picked it up and was about to replace it when the wonderful fabric on the cover caught my eye. It was Catharine Ellis’s book on Woven Shibori! I bought it and in the process of reading it, the new catalog came from John C. Campbell. Kismet! I immediately signed up for Catharine’s class.

Fabulous! Amazing! Extraordinary! These are only a few of the adjectives to define the class. She taught us take white fiber and weave a cloth using monk’s belt, twill or overshot structure in a new way to weave in gathering threads. At this point we could begin the process of mordanting and dying before gathering and applying more mordants or dyes. Or, we could gather those threads into their narrow, unusual shape and mordant, dye, possibly re-mordant, and dye again. Either way created fabric that is absolutely breathtaking, solely our own, and definitely one of a kind. It was a class that has taken my skills and my craft to a new level. Catharine’s knowledge of fiber, structures, dyestuffs and mordants, which she shared, are the result of years of hands-on studies combined with meticulous research.


From the 2013 class “Woven Shibori—Dyeing Green” with Catharine Ellis

Through each step, Catharine listed choices which allowed us to use our imagination and to choose how that step was applied. Confusing at first; because there were so many choices, we came to realize that she wanted us to make the process and ultimately the fabric our own. We came away truly understanding the process and the limitless possibilities we can create. Will we make ugly cloth? Undoubtedly! However, we will understand how we made it. After all, as Malcolm Forbes has said, “Failure is success, if we learn from it.”

Learn more about Catherine Ellis and Woven Shibori on her website.

  • Elaine from weaving
    Posted at 14:11h, 03 February

    Dyeing Green with Catharine Ellis was indeed an excellent class, to promise us spring greens in the greys of winter. Although this dyeing is not the same as the Folk School’s “Going Green” policy, we did use ec0-friendly methods, and no green dye!
    It is so good to be able to immerse yourself in a focused study for a week — and also to immerse your fabric in indigo.

  • Carole Hall
    Posted at 21:43h, 04 February

    A wonderful class indeed, and a grey week indeed, but the festival barn is green with algae!!!!

  • wilma chambers
    Posted at 15:12h, 07 February

    An excellent weaving and dyeing class. I enjoyed and learned so much. Hope we can do it again next year.

Post A Comment