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Wednesday, 13 May 2015


What is fingerweaving!?  Fingerweaving is a form of elaborate weaving without any tools, used by the Metis people who are known for their traditional sashes of red, worn wrapped twice around the waist.  Yesterday I participated in a workshop at the Gabriel Dumont Institute to learn the technique.  (I linked that directly to their sash page at their website so you can see what I am referring to, but you can click over to their homepage to see everything they offer.)

Oh I'm sorry that's blurry, but it's the only photo I have of the table full of woven pieces.  The three red scarves at the top art the more traditional scarf.

It sure was nice to be the student again!  The last time I took a class was the Needle Lace workshop with Bridge City NeedleArts Guild / EAC.  This workshop had a lot of folks from the Saskatoon Weavers' Guild.

My tension was a mess.  My yarns were different weights.  Mine curved.  ?  My goodness.  Still, it was very cool to be in a room full of experts.  While we wove, the instructor told historical stories to us about he Metis people.  The room was full of art - beadwork, paintings, and huge portraits of important people.  It was amazing!  The huge sized art in our room was all by Christi Belcourt.  The detail and skill was incredible.  I asked to snap a pic and was told yes - if there's someone in the photo (so it's not reproducible of course).  Check this out!

not my weaving : ) 

OMG the detail!  The Metis are known for their beadwork.  This is a huge painting in the style of beadwork.  Dot dot dot dot dot....  One painting was the size of an entire wall.  You must go see.  They also have a museum with the most Metis artifacts anyhwere.

This morning, I had to try the fingerweaving again.  I didn't want to forget how to set it up.  We picked any colour of yarn, and made a bookmark size from 24 strands.  The traditional sash is 200 yarns wide, and long enough to wrap a man's waist twice, knot it, and have lengths hanging with fringes.  AND MADE WITH NO LOOM.  Imagine!

this is how it's worked, one hand is the loom&shed, with the other hand weaving/shuttle

So here I am with 24 again - 3 colours.  All my art yarns are lumpy, so I dug out some of my crochet cotton that I used to use for crocheting dishcloths.  This is totally not traditional colours by any stretch of the imagination, but I really wanted to see if I could make a better weave.

I did it!  : )  This took an hour and a half... maybe 2 hours.  It's about a foot long, and it's so nice and even!  : )

I have no idea if I'll ever use this technique in my art... but I'm sure glad I got the opportunity to take this workshop and see the Gabriel Dumont Institute / Museum..  : )

That was refreshing break.  Now on to commissions.  : )

Linking to WIP Wednesday @ TN&TN


Jaynie Himsl said...

Your results are very pretty. I love how the woven colours go on an angle.

Terri said...

Ditto Jayne.

Anonymous said...

It was an interesting afternoon, wasn't it? Like you, I'm not sure if it's something I'll use in the future, but anything that broadens one's understanding of an adjacent culture is a good thing. Also, it was way more fun than staying home and doing laundry. :)

Judi Gay

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