Wovenwrapfan is back and I have a new squish! First up is a weaver interview with Sandy Fisher. Her tester is set to land this week. Who doesn’t love fluff mail? Without further delay here’s my interview with Sandy Fisher.
Are you a Baby Wearer? No but my introduction to baby wearing is pretty special to me. I was at a fiber event showing hand-woven fabric made of linen. The fabric was beautifully draped when along came a baby wearing mama who said you have to try weaving wraps for my friends and myself. Little did I know what an adventure I was to begin.
How did you begin to weave? I have been weaving for over 30 years. I think my first desire came when at 8 years old. I stood in front of a store window where a weaver was creating this amazing fabric of ribbon and leather, so beautiful. I remember the sounds and rhythm of the loom and its shuttle going back and forth. I went to Kenya on an abroad program to live with the Samburu tribe in the late 70’s. They were not weavers but created amazing things with their hands. When I took my first weaving class as an art student at Chico State University I realized that I was entering a magical world creating works of art with my hands. These two memories lead me to the craftsperson I am today.
How did you learn to weave? I was hooked with weaving in college in the late 70’s from my first off loom textile class to my beginning weaving class. I had so many ideas but was intimidated by the machinery of the loom. I graduated with a BA degree in Art and realized that in order to learn more I needed to go to a place where the history of weaving was very much alive. I picked Scotland as my family was from there and they all spoke English. I studied under David Gurney a professional weaver of Turiff, Scotland in 1980. I learned so much from that experience that when I returned I had to create my own business. I called my business The Flying Shuttle which I started in 1981. I have since changed the name to Sandy Fisher Woven as I would get calls asking for the next transport to the airport!!!!
What else have I woven besides wraps? My experience in Scotland trained me to be a production weaver of fabrics for fashion. When I returned home I sent off my samples to Vogue magazine where they got into the hands of the right people. I was then represented by Sewing Associates selling limited edition fabrics to designers throughout the US. On the local scene I was asked to show my work with fellow artisans. I then created for my local market a line of placemats and table runners. I found a niche for my table runners in many galleries throughout the US. My signature work is a linen warp with hand made papers in the weft. I also an known for my Random Warp Dyed technique which I use in my wraps. My newest line of work is using up cycled materials in the weaving to make hand bags. As a cyclist I have a great source of tire tubes which I can’t help but weave them into my fabric. I also have fun sewing the tire tubes into woven patterns to blend with my unique fabrics. These bags are one of a kind pieces and have been sold nationally and internationally to a Japanese market. You can check then out on my website at sandyfisherwoven.com.
How many hours to weave your wraps? When I start a wrap I combine three colors in a random warp dye technique which is stream set. I dye the yarns before I set up the loom. Once the loom is set up I start the weaving. This process takes about 4 to 6 weeks depending on the length and sett of the warp. I have 9 looms so it is easy to have the warps at very different stages.
What kind of looms? I use a 16 harness 65 inch vertical countermarch Glimarkra loom and an 8 harness jack loom 54 inch Macomber and 7 small 35″ Glimarkra countermarch looms. I have had AVL looms but find them too impersonal for my head space these days. I like the movement of feet and brain action.
Where do you draw your inspiration? Last fall I had the opportunity to go back to Scotland and for the first time I visited Sweden. My current work is very much inspired by the many complex woven structures and materials that I saw while meeting weavers on my trip. In my next line of wraps you will see some of their techniques! Everywhere I go I see nature’s woven elements in pattern,color and design. I bring this home to my studio and it show in my work.
Who is your favorite Weaver? That would have to be Randall Darwell. Makes amazing scarves very innovative.
What up coming projects are you excited about? First off making more wraps with my Baby Season Line. Baby Season Wraps are inspired by the colors designated by the season. Our first collection came out in the spring of 2015. Using colors provided by industry’s Pantone colors I am having a good time mixing the various colors together. 2. Preparing a presentation for a Linen and Flax Symposium in Deerfield MA August 2016 about my on going project to create a sustainable locally sourced fiber from local materials. My project I call Chico cloth is working to grow flax that will one day be processed by a mini mill here in Chico then woven by local weavers. 3. One gallery show in October 2016 in Fremont, NE. 4. Show at Butte College art gallery in November 2016. Currently I am developing a Textile Art Program for this local JC.
Baby Season Fall 2015
Favorite Fiber? Has to be Linen. Kind of mad about the material since I want to create one of the first mills in America!
Favorite weaving structure? Has to be the good old Twills, lots of variations. Love complex weaves and Double Weaves. Because of my Swedish loom I want to explore the Drawloom. The possibilities for wraps in that technique could be amazing! Favorite related task? Preparing yarns for dying and threading the loom. I find weaving not as exciting as designing the pattern and color use!
How do you come up with names? The inspiration of the names of my wraps comes from the Pantone seasonal colors.
Hobbies outside? Love to ride my bike for miles and miles. Also when I have the chance to go hiking in the mountains I feel so much peace in nature.
Do you dye your materials? Everyone of my wraps are hand dyed. I use Procion dyes. What you will see in all of my work is my own unique dye technique which I call random warp dyed. This is a special blending of the warp colors.
Baby Season Spring 2016
Biggest Trend in Fiber? Natural dyes. Some of the colors of nature are amazing. I would like to see them in my wraps in the future. Something I am seriously working on!!! Also with my Chico cloth project the idea that we can get locally sourced fibers just like our food to make our fabrics will become commonplace.
Baby Season Summer 2016 is next on the loom