Estelle Carlson
dyer, handweaver, tailor, USA

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Savannah I

While visiting a friend in Kenya, I met a handweaver and spinner named George Boro Nguci. George is not only a talented textile artist, but a carpenter as well. He built his four-harness fly shuttle loom and his spinning wheel as well as the shed that houses all his weaving equipment. I spent the afternoon with him and his wife talking about weaving and dyeing -- George's wife is the dyer of the household. Their village which is located about 40 miles outside of Nairobi is surrounded by cotton fields -- so it should come as no surprise that George is also a talented spinner. Upon leaving their home, I was given a lovely gift -- three skeins of handspun cotton.

When I arrived home I took George's handspun yarn, painted the skeins with Procion Dyes and then knitted the fabric in an "ikat" style. The yoke of the jacket is created out of hand dyed fabric woven in the Japanese "sakiori" technique. The lining of the jacket is "shibori" dyed again with Procion Dyes. The colors I selected were inspired by the vast expanses of grasslands that I saw while traveling through Kenya and Tanzania.

Savannah I is truly a creation "out of Africa".

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these pages submitted to by Estelle Carlson,
Oct. 1999 -- last updated, May. 2003