Elaine Duncan

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Shibori and Indigo Dyeing

by on Aug.31, 2012, under Blog Posts

This was the first summer to introduce a new dye workshop:  Shibori and Indigo Dyeing.   It was two days.  The first day we met at the Bradley Centre in Coombs where each participant stitched, folded, clamped and scrunched their cotton and linen fabrics.  The second day was at Elaine’s studio in Errington where we made our indigo vats and proceeded to dye our fabrics.  Here are the results of the two days:


Four silk scarves


Melody's tied piece


Melody's piece after indigo dyeing


clothesline display of finished products


an ambitious duvet cover


oxidizing and drying


beautiful result of wrapping and scrunching on a plastic pipe


examination of textile just unfolded


more samples of stitching and folding


This was a very exhilarating workshop, if you are interested in taking part next year, please let me know.

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Natural Dyeing was alive and well in Errington this summer.

by on Aug.30, 2012, under Blog Posts

The addition of indigo dyeing provides a rainbow of colours

The clothes lines were full! Wonderful yellows from the first morning’s results.


Due to high student requests we were able to provide two opportunities for natural dyeing this past summer.  The first group was in July and then we had another group in August.  We dye with the yellow dyes on the first day in the morning:  fustic, osage orange, cutch, tansy or marigold, depending on what is ready to harvest.  The afternoon of the first day is dyeing with the reds:  cochineal, madder, logwood.


Lustrous loop mohair


It is fun to see how the dyes take up and penetrate on the different fibres.  Each participant supplies their own yarns to be dyed.  Mostly we get wool yarns, but the breed of sheep and spinning preparation can make a huge difference between the yarns.


A group photo at the end of the day



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Tapestry Weaving Inspired by Nature June 2012

by on Jun.18, 2012, under Blog Posts

I just finished teaching a small group of tapestry weavers about using nature as a design tool for weaving tapestry.  Each person chose a photograph and drew  a sketch of something they would like to weave.  Then colours and materials of yarns were chosen by each participant.  Cartoons were drawn and attached to the looms.  We also saw Silvia Heyden’s DVD:  A Weaverly Path which inspired the students to look for patterns in nature and try to translate them into tapestry.  Here are some photos in progress…hopefully we will get to see the completed tapestries soon.

Vivienne Wilson and her hosta leaves


Dale Crossley uses seashells for inspiration


Colleen Hobson and her first tapestry


Margaret Myles and her yarn choices


Dale shared her "entire body of work"...just delightful

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Beginners Tapestry Workshop May 2012

by on Jun.18, 2012, under Blog Posts

I have included some photos of the beginners tapestry workshop which was held in May 2012.  Vivienne Wilson took the photos.  We had a small group of four people.  The person coming the farthest was Terry who came from Auckland, NZ.

Vivienne's sampler from the course


Terry Wyatt's sampler


Terry concentrating on her weaving


Marguerite Band's weaving


Margaret Myles' tapestry leaf


A very easy way for Terry to transport her copper pipe loom home to New Zealand in her luggage was Terry’s smart idea to figure it out.  She un-screwed the nuts at the threaded rod until the rod slid into the copper pipe tube.  This is easily done by turning the nuts simultaneously in the same direction on each side.  Then the warp slips off the top copper pipe and the warp can be folded over (to be slipped back on when she got home).  This shortens the loom by about 10″, and can now be fitted into her suitcase.  Great idea Terry!

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Pacific Portals: Mexico

by on May.29, 2012, under Blog Posts

Pacific Portals: Mexico


Last fall I wove a small format tapestry for entry into the American Tapestry Alliance unjuried small format tapestry exhibition to be shown at the Long Beach Public Library in conjunction with HGA’s Convergence 2012.  The requirements were that the piece not exceed 10″ by 10″.  Our local Tapis group decided to participate in a group entry.  Almost everyone participated.  First though, we needed a theme for our group.  We decided to play on the word Pacific in the title and use it to include the countries that border the Pacific Ocean.  Each person chose a country they had an affiliation to.  It could be they had lived there, visited there, had friends or family there.  There were two rules:  each person had to use in their piece colour#826 in DMC cotton embroidery floss (this could be a small amount used or very little used) and also they had to weave the Pacific Ocean coastline in the appropriate place on their tapestry.  For example, in my piece dealing with Mexico, the water would be on the left side as viewed on a map or globe.  Someone choosing Japan, the ocean would be woven on the right side.  We had one member, Audrie Sands, choose Hawaii…so the ocean is on all four sides.  This was a wonderful group experience and we are looking forward to seeing all the tapestries in one place as that had not happened yet.  A catalogue is also available for purchase through ATA:  www.americantapestryalliance.org.


My piece represents Mexico, my “other” home, with the ruins and pyramids for historical interests, the textiles for their art and culture, and of course, the ocean for their beaches.  I experimented with this piece, weaving the main body from the bottom up, while the ocean was woven separately in the other direction and then attached the two shaped pieces.  I think it worked!

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Inspiration from Butchart Gardens, Victoria, BC

by on May.29, 2012, under Blog Posts

A day at the Gardens


I had the fortunate experience in mid-May to visit Butchart Gardens near Victoria, BC on Vancouver Island.  Even though I live 3 hours away, I had not been there in years.  So it was a joy to walk the paths on a glorious sunny day with family and enjoy the colours, textures, shapes of this place.


for colour combinations


for balance and proportion


design ideas




do you see what I see?


everywhere you look...something to discover

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Colour and Design Exercises for Fibre Artists

by on May.29, 2012, under Blog Posts

In April I was invited to give a two day workshop on colour and design for fibre artists in Campbell River, BC.  We wanted to include all practices…weaving, spinning, dyeing, knitting, felting, etc.  The two days worked out well with many exercises completed in class time and then some homework.  We had a great space…lots of light and right on the shoreline, so lots of inspiration too.  The success of a course like this one depends alot on the students, lots of yarn choices (colours, shades, tints, textures, materials) for the exercises.  I have included some photos showing one of our last exercises using found natural objects for our source of inspiration.  Students really looked hard to see and find the nuances of colours as well as the proportions and textures.  They did a great job!


colour wrapping using a feather for inspiration


another feather for inspiration


shell for inspiration


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Exhibition Opening Night

by on May.28, 2012, under Blog Posts

Opening night ceremonies: Jean Pierre Larochette welcomes the weavers from Oaxaca and introductions are made


Opening night at the Peter Gray Museo was well attended for the exhibition of tapestries woven by weavers from Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca, Mexico.  I have posted some photos of the work of these fine weavers.  This is the first attempts they are making to weave for the wall rather than the floor.   They had a very appreciate audience.

Marcelina Mendoza is standing below her tapestry which is located upper left.


"Codice Nutal" woven by Jacoba Mendoza


Woven by Erasto Mendoza Ruiz


Miniature woven tapestry by Roman Gutierrez Ruiz


"Luna Nueva" woven by Rodrigo Sosa


Woven by Fidel Cruz



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Exhibition: Esplendor del Textil

by on Jan.11, 2012, under Blog Posts

Peter Gray
Art Museum, UDG/CUC


January 26 – February 29, 2012

Opening reception: Thursday January 26, 5-8 PM

The Zapotec village of Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca,
is internationally known for its colorful floor rugs and use of natural dyes.
This unique exhibition at the Peter Gray Art Museum features a rarely seen collection of exquisite tapestries from some of the best Zapotec weavers, from miniatures to large format pieces, created exclusively for wall decoration. The luminous quality of these finely woven tapestries, presented for the first time in a
group show of 14 artists, makes for a memorable visual experience. Attending
the reception on January 26 will be weavers Jacobo Mendoza, Maria Luisa
Vásquez, Erasto Mendoza Ruiz and Rodrigo Sosa.

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Feliz Navidad and all the best in 2012

by on Dec.19, 2011, under Blog Posts

the sunset on the beach of Lo de Marcos


I would like to wish all my family and friends, weaving and tapestry enthusiasts, and students a very happy holiday and all the best in 2012.  I thought you would enjoy seeing this striking sunset from the beach in Lo de Marcos.  It is lovely and warm here and I have my loom warped and am weaving a tapestry with the beach patterns as my inspiration.

A postcard


When I first arrived in Lo de Marcos, I warped my small copper pipe loom with a 6″ wide warp, 12 epi.  Then someone suggested we could send get better wishes to Archie Brennan after he had suffered a stroke.  So I wove this postcard image inspired by the patterns in the sand and a shell I found at the beach.  I finished it and popped it into the Mexico Postal system in La Penita.  It will be interesting to see how long it takes to get to Archie.

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