Event Archive 2017

September 2017


The Botany and Chemistry of Natural Dyes
Michel Garcia + Dr. Vanessa Handley + Dr. Margareta Sequin
September 8, 2017

Photo courtesy of Michel Garcia

Attendees joined natural dye expert Michel Garcia, UCBG Director of Collections and Research Dr. Vanessa Handley, and SFSU Chemistry and Biochemistry professor emeritus Dr. Margareta Séquin for a deep dive into the subject of natural dyes focusing on botanical taxonomy and phytochemistry.


Indigo Intensive
Michel Garcia | September 5-7, 2017

SFS EV17 GARCIA Banner Indigo_small
Photo courtesy of Michel Garcia

This workshop covered several different reduction vat methods, including fructose, henna, and ferrous vats, as well as applications using fresh leaf indigo grown in Berkeley. In addition, Michel addressed ethnic indigo traditions including dyeing with multiple types of indigo, such as combining Indigofera tinctoria with Justicia spicigera for a deeper blue, and making Azul Maya (Maya Blue) pigment, a “pre-Columbian nanotechnology” manufactured by ancient Mesoamericans.


Subject: Indigo
Michel Garcia | September 3, 2017

SFS EV1708 GARCIA sfs talk banner
Photo courtesy of Michel Garcia

An enduring color throughout human history, indigo blue crosses cultures, from ancient body painting in the British Isles to the saturated robes of Tuareg men in the Sahara. Michel shared his knowledge of botany and chemistry to unlock the mysteries of this widespread dye.


Tannins Intensive
Michel Garcia | September 1-2, 2017

SFS EV17 GARCIA Banner Fundamentals
Photo courtesy of Michel Garcia

Commonly found in leaves, barks, roots, and fruits of trees, tannins are used to produce wine, leather, and ink. Dyers can use these naturally occurring compounds to produce colors from beige and grey to warm red to dark brown and black, in addition to widening the color palettes for other natural dyes. Students learned to take advantage of their unique characteristics to improve colorfastness, bond colors to fibers without using inorganic mineral mordants, and apply photosensitive effects and polymerizing qualities by gaining a deeper understanding of tannins and their diverse applications.

August 2017


From Spiderweb to World Wide Web: Textile Matters in History
Loan Oei | August 26, 2017

SFS EV17 OEI BannerEdit
Photo courtesy of Loan Oei

Through this film screening and commentary, independent researcher Loan Oei traced the interwoven threads of textile and human history from prehistory to the future. She investigated the ways textiles have impacted and interacted with people across time and space through varied thematic lenses: relationships between textile metaphors, etymology, mythology, and the emergence of language across the globe; the evolution of artificial light from oil lamp to fibre optics; the growth of architecture from tent to monument; economic networking from barter to globalization; digital innovation from Chinese drawloom to computer; development of aero- and astronautics from silk wings to NASA’s solar sails; artistry from musical instruments to contemporary fiber art; and much more.

July 2017


Black, White, & Infinity: Sumi Ink, Silk, and Felt
Jorie Johnson | July 28-30, 2017

Photo courtesy of Jorie Johnson

Having a valuable supply of interesting fabrics at your fingertips is the key to designing fresh and exciting work. Jorie Johnson covered skills not commonly taught in natural dye classes, but essential to creating intricate layers of design that carry your personal signature. Students employed clamp-resist on silk with sericin erasure to produce pattern repeats, learn how to apply carbon sumi ink to fabric, and create three-dimensional colorful embellishments through traditional feltmaking.


Felted Accessories Marked by Shibori
Jorie Johnson | July 24-25, 2017

SFS EV17 JOHNSON Banner Jazzy
Photo courtesy of Jorie Johnson

Students enhanced and strengthened felted wool pendants, buttons, bracelets, brooches, cords, and more using shibori techniques. Students learned to create unique handmade felted forms and used resist dyeing methods to add complementary color and pattern.


Treasured Felts: Research into Rare Collections of Japan
Jorie Johnson | July 23, 2017

SFS EV1707 JOHNSON Banner Lecture
Photo courtesy of Jorie Johnson

Attendees explored three unique groups of felts in Japan with artist Jorie Johnson: kasen “flower rugs” imported during the Chinese Tang Dynasty (618 – 907 CE), part of the Japanese Imperial Household Treasures housed in the Shōsō-in. Jorie shared her technical observations on these fascinating collections including related felting and dyeing techniques still practiced in Central Asia today.


Mathematical Foundations to Islamic Design: 
Classical Tilings and the Work of Dr. W. K. Chorbachi
Dr. Jay Kappraff | July 3, 2017

Photo courtesy of Jay Kappraff

Interdisciplinary mathematics scholar Dr. Jay Kappraff expounded upon the work of Iraqi artist and scholar Dr. Wasma’a Khalid Chorbachi, who sought to prove there was a solid mathematical basis to Islamic design despite common sentiment to the contrary.


Engineering Ornament + Introduction to the Art of Arabic Calligraphy
Dr. Mamoun Sakkal | July 1 – July 2, 2017

Photo courtesy of Mamoun Sakkal

Following his opening lecture, Engineering Ornament: Square Kufic Calligraphy in Textile Design, Mamoun Sakkal taught a hands-on workshop with an overview of the origin and development of Arabic script, a review of traditional styles of Arabic calligraphy, and examples of contemporary calligraphic art.


Engineering Ornament: Square Kufic Calligraphy in Textile Design
Dr. Mamoun Sakkal | July 1, 2017

Photo courtesy of Mamoun Sakkal

Award-winning Calligrapher and typographer Mamoun Sakkal presented the intriguing use of Square Kufic calligraphy in textile design over many centuries, including prayer rugs, talismanic shirts, modern dress, and national flags.


May 2017


An Algorithmic Aesthetic of Pattern: Examining Traditional Islamic Textiles
Carol Bier | May 27, 2017

Banners 2
Photo courtesy of Carol Bier

Local Islamic art and textile scholar Carol Bier’s illustrated lecture explored the origins of an algorithmic aesthetic that permeated arts throughout the Islamic world in the 9th-12th centuries. Attendees were given the opportunity to examine and handle a variety of Islamic textiles in addition to works in other media, and to consider processes of pattern-making based on design algorithms.


SARI, DHOTI, & MORE: Magic of the Unstitched Garment
Rta Kapur Chishti | May 9, 2017

Photo courtesy of Rta Kapur Chishti

Textile scholar and author Rta Kapur Chishti expanded upon her vision for the Sari School, which aims to raise awareness about the many ways people in the Indian subcontinent have explored to create a magical unstitched garment. Students learn the unlimited possibilities of draping sari, dhoti, and more in accordance with personal convenience, comfort, body form, and formality or informality of occasion.


KHADI: The Enduring Indian Handspun – Handwoven Tradition
Rta Kapur Chishti | May 7, 2017

Saris of India: Traditions and Beyond by Rta Kapur Chishti
Photo courtesy of Rta Kapur Chishti

Khadi, a traditional Indian handspun handwoven fabric revived by Mahatma Gandhi in the 1920s as a unifying element of the independence movement, has been a tool of spiritual regeneration, a symbol of participation in a greater cause, and an example of the ongoing tension between the economic value of mechanized production versus the tangible and intangible value of hand skills. Recognized textile scholar and author Rta Kapur Chishti shared with us an overview of khadi as a textile as well as its history and significance in India.


April 2017


Hira-Ori: Shadowfolds for Shibori Techniques
Chris K. Palmer | April 22-23, 2017

Banners 2
Photo courtesy of Chris K. Palmer

Berkeley-based artist Chris K. Palmer introduced his Shadowfolds technique and patterns in this folding and dyeing workshop. Using simple twist folds layered with arashi-shibori taught by Yoshiko I. Wada, students explored the twisting grain of pleats as the folds produce novel polygonal regions of rotated stripes.


Algorithmic Aesthetic Opening Social
Carol Bier + Chris K. Palmer | April 2, 2017

Shadowfolds by Chris K. Palmer

Reverberating Echoes curator and Islamic art scholar Carol Bier was joined by exhibiting artist Chris K. Palmer to kick-off the Algorithmic Aesthetic Event Series. Carol introduce the Reverberating Echoes exhibition and discussed her process of curating an exhibition around an “algorithmic aesthetic” of pattern as a defining feature of traditional Islamic art. Chris discussed his artwork and the geometric and mathematical processes behind its creation.


Reverberating Echoes - BOOK COVERReverberating Echoes: Contemporary Art Inspired by Traditional Islamic Art
January 31 – May 26, 2017

The Spring 2017 exhibition at the Graduate Theological Union’s Doug Adams Gallery, “Reverberating Echoes: Contemporary Art Inspired by Traditional Islamic Art,” highlighted the work of seven American artists of diverse interests, backgrounds, and training.  Inspired by traditional Islamic art, their works echo historic aesthetic concerns, often advancing human knowledge and understanding by experimentation with new technologies. Traditional concerns focused on the spatial dimension and the effects of light on form, the association of Arabic language and script with revelation, and patterns in the plane, exploring the nature of two-dimensional space.

Doug Adams Gallery
2465 Le Conte Ave
Berkeley, CA 94709