weaving motifs into cloth (and life)

There are certain motifs that have always captured my attention.  Of course you know the moon is one of these motifs but the other two that captivate me are water and cloud imagery.  Who hasn’t laid back and watched the clouds move across the sky, felt the sun come and go across our skin…listened to the waves, a nearby stream, a roaring river or waterfall…seen the moon rise and fall?  I like that these motifs are universal and shared across the globe regardless of where or who you are.  It reminds me of life’s beauty, and our connectedness to each other. These things give me perspective.

I think this is why these nature based motifs have been given so much regard in design over time and space.  Often each motif is imbued with a special meaning or symbology. I enjoy studying all the meanings behind the motifs and the cultures which bestowed these interpretaions.

I recently was very taken with old silk which had these images woven into the design.  I purchased a couple of rolls of these silks from second hand shops recently with a few things in mind.  First, to study them and then to create something out of them.

japanese vintage silk damask -indigo dyed

japanese vintage silk damask -indigo dyed

Aside from the cloud and water motifs, this one has bamboo, maple leaves and what looks to be cherry blossoms.  Sort of covers it all!  Originally, this sort of fabric was used for nagajuban -the ankle length under kimono which used the softest and finest silks worn next to the skin.  The weight and design complexity of this silk suggests that it was to be used in a nagajuban worn for a very formal occasion. It has a beautiful hand and a lovely drape.

I saw moons in it of course…

silk moons for the supermoon

silk moons for the supermoon

flowers on the moon-indigo and silk

flowers on the moon-indigo and silk

I used a piece of this fabric for a nice indigo dyed scarf with diagonal ends and hand stitched hems- ombre dyed on one side. I think I will add an interesting bead to the two points…

indigo scarf

I finally completed a little shop update that includes the following items- enjoy! Most items ship free with any other item.  Now back to the studio to finish up a couple orders that need to go out asap!

5 thoughts on “weaving motifs into cloth (and life)

  1. janicezindel

    Such beautiful damask fabric! Really incredible, how I would love to see something like that being woven. And now made up into beautiful scarves to be worn many years later. Wonderful new items in the shop, too!


    1. shiborigirl Post author

      in Japanese art, clouds often represent Buddhist ideas of paradise beyond earth. Or in simpler terms, they obscure that which cannot be seen in this existence. in Shinto beliefs, clouds represent spirits from the past. Water represents power and resilience and the ever-changing nature of things in life.


  2. pdlugos

    Glennis, , a while back you wrote in a post about dragonflies being a symbol of change in other cultures. It reminded me of when I was a young child growing up in New Orleans and spending summers catching dragonflies. (We called them mosquito hawks. Don’t ask me where that name came from. I guess it is another crazy New Orleans thing.) Anyway, what came to me was that growing up in the south in the 60’s there was a huge amount of change going on with the civil rights movement. Though I wasn’t really aware of what exactly was happening, I always had this sense that “something was happening”. Thinking about that time now, and knowing now that dragonflies symbolize change, I like to think that all the little children who spent their summer days catching dragonflies, were really trying to catch the change and make it stick.
    Thanks for sharing all this symbolism with us.



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