Slow Fiber Studios events offer a platform for international scholars, artists and artisans to exchange knowledge and showcase their creativity and technical ingenuity.

May 2018


*Waitlist Open * []


Inventive Methods for Fulling Resist
Jean Cacicedo + Yoshiko I. Wada

Saturday – Sunday, 25 – 26 August | 9:30am – 4:30pm
Slow Fiber Studios Annex | 1825 Eighth St, Berkeley, CA 94710
Materials Fee Included | Materials List

Create textiles with surprising and inventive textural contrast through the use of an unusual historical European paste resist method. We’ll use a specially designed wool gauze and gain an understanding of its physical and chemical structures to achieve lacelike effects through various techniques.

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Visiting Artist: Yoshiko I. Wada

SFS EV18 WADA PortraitYoshiko I. Wada is an artist, curator, and textile scholar, president of World Shibori Network, founder of Slow Fiber Studios, producer of the Natural Dye Workshop film series, and co-chair of the 1st – 11th International Shibori Symposia. She is the author of pioneering publications on kasuri and shibori. A Berkeley resident since 1973, she continues to lead a wide range of workshops, lectures, tours, and symposia internationally, emphasizing sustainability, tradition, and innovation in design.

Visiting Artist: Jean Cacicedo

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Jean Cacicedo is a prime innovator of the American studio craft Art-to-Wear Movement who uses the transformative properties of wool, cloth and paper to create objects that adorn both the body and the wall. Telling stories from journeys that come by way of dreams and visions, her works can be found in the permanent collections of the de Young Museum, Museum of Art and Design (MAD), Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Racine Art Museum, and the Tassenmuseum Hendrikje

September 2018
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A Poor Sister No Longer: Mexican vs. Andean Textile Arts
Alejandro de Ávila Blomberg

Friday, 14 September | 9:30 – 10:30 AM
Slow Fiber Studios Annex | 1825 Eighth St, Berkeley, CA 94710

Archaeological, historical and ethnographic documentation, little known outside of Mexico, paints a vastly richer and more complex landscape of fibers, dyestuffs and techniques than has been acknowledged in the general literature on indigenous textiles. Many of the woven structures thought to be exclusive to the Andes turn out to be also present in Mexico, where some may well have originated. These include the production of scaffolded, multi-selvaged weavings, central to the amarres process, which has fascinated shibori enthusiasts worldwide. This initial lecture of our series will create a context of broadened horizons across the Americas in which to discuss and demonstrate featherwork at Slow Fiber Studios.

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Weft Brocading with Feathered Yarn
Noé Pinzón Palafox

Friday, 14 September | 12:30 – 4:30 PM
Slow Fiber Studios Annex | 1825 Eighth St, Berkeley, CA 94710
Materials Fee TBD (Maximum $50)

Three of the six featherwork textiles that have been preserved from the colonial period in Mexico are decorated with supplementary wefts, where duck down is twisted in between a 2-ply cotton thread. In this workshop Noé will demonstrate how the thickness and puffiness of dyed, feathered yarn can be controlled in weft brocading, in the same manner evident in the aforesaid three surviving examples. Rather than using a Mesoamerican backstrap loom, which is cumbersome to transport and requires the manipulation of several sticks, Noé will do his demonstration on frame looms, which workshop participants will be able to handle with ease.

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Feathered Yarns: Colonial Textiles as a Means to Inform Contemporary Art
Hector Manuel Meneses Lozano

Saturday, 15 September | 9:30 – 10:30 AM
Slow Fiber Studios Annex | 1825 Eighth St, Berkeley, CA 94710

After a thorough study of a textile fragment from the late 1700s, the Textile Museum of Oaxaca (MTO) recreated a technique that had been lost for centuries: the making of feathered yarns. In 2016, the MTO presented an exhibition with contemporary works that were enabled by our revival of this once-lost specialty yarn. This presentation will address the characteristics of the surviving textiles from the colonial period and the way these were reinterpreted to create contemporary textile artworks.

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Openwork Card Weaving
Noé Pinzón Palafox

Saturday, 15 September | 12:30 – 4:30 PM
Slow Fiber Studios Annex | 1825 Eighth St, Berkeley, CA 94710
Materials Fee TBD (Maximum $50)

A couple of gauze napkins at the MTO dating to the early 1900s, collected by Alejandro in the area where his paternal family originated in the state of San Luis Potosí, were embellished with a handsome fringe in a structure that had not been reported before. It can be described technically as warp twining combined with weft-wrapping. Noé will demonstrate how to set up and weave the fringe, using only a set of cards and a needle. The result is an intriguing lacy texture reminiscent of the complex openwork weaves of southern Mexico, first described by Irmgard Weitlaner Johnson in the 1970s, which Noé has also mastered. We will show photographs of a large 3-web openwork textile designed by Alejandro and woven by Noé with Oaxacan silk and feathered yarn, decorated with such a fringe.

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Noé Pinzón Palafox weaving a duck feather textile.


Revival and Innovation: Textile Traditions of Mexico and Asia

Alejandro de Ávila Blomberg + Hector Manuel Meneses Lozano +
Noé Pinzón Palafox + Tomoko Torimaru + Masako Takahashi
Sunday, 16 September | 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Berkeley Hillside Club | 2286 Cedar St, Berkeley, CA 94709
Potluck Lunch | 1:00 – 2:00 PM

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New Formats for Old Weaving Techniques
Alejandro de Ávila Blomberg

The Textile Museum of Oaxaca (MTO) has been able to put together a large collection of colonial and ethnographic textiles from all areas in Mexico and Guatemala, including regions that had not been documented previously. In addition to some novel structures that appear to have no parallel elsewhere, the MTO collection includes a number of weaving techniques that had been recorded in the Andes, but not in Mesoamerica. A collaboration between Noé as weaver and Alejandro as designer produced eight works where old structures studied at the museum, which had disappeared long ago, were revived to convey contemporary messages, such as heartfelt protest in the face of Mexican elitism, and a humorous act of resistance to imperialistic policies on our northern border. This lecture will illustrate and describe the eight textiles

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The Ever-Evolving Nature of Oaxacan Textiles
Hector Manuel Meneses Lozano

2018 marks the 10th anniversary of the Textile Museum of Oaxaca (MTO). As part of this year’s programed activities, the Museum prepared an exhibition that features the works of weavers and embroiderers from various regions of the state of Oaxaca, Mexico. Candidates were invited according to their willingness to look at their own work with a different perspective, as well as the close relationships that have been established and maintained over the course of these 10 years. Each project was carried out by teams consisting of artists from different communities in order to foster unforeseen collaborations. The exhibition aimed at creating a stronger sense of self-confidence in the participants, as they were able to propose, design, and execute their own ideas after attending a series of workshops at the Museum and gaining access to good-quality yarns and opportunities to consult the MTO’s collections.


Three Structures Combined with Featherwork
Noé Pinzón Palafox

Noé will demonstrate three of the techniques recorded in textiles in the holdings of the MTO. The first will be weft-wrap openwork combined with 8/8 simple gauze, a structure that is demonstrated in a beautiful pair of men’s trousers from northern Oaxaca that date back to the mid-1800s, preserved at the Phoebe Hearst Museum of Anthropology of UC Berkeley. The second technique will involve supplementary wefts on 2/2 complex gauze. The third structure will feature discontinuous wefts to weave a lattice with feathered accents. To do this demonstration, Noé will use the backstrap loom on which he has woven the eight works described in Alejandro’s lecture.


Considerations on the Origin of Textiles + Uzbekistan’s Tablet Weaving
Tomoko Torimaru

When thinking about the origin and development of textiles invented by human beings, it is indispensable to consider warp and weft twining, which predates loom-woven textiles in the archaeological record. In China, a Kudzu (Pueraria montana var. lobata) fiber textile piece, which is the interlacing of two warps interwoven with wefts (sometimes called leno weave) excavated from “Cao xie shan” ruins in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, from the 30th to the 40th century BC. Her current research indicates that the most logical process for interlacing warp yarns to weave textile is by tablet weaving. In China, a tablet-woven silk textile piece was excavated from “Feng xia” ruins, Liaoning Province, Early Shang period (about 1600 BC – 1046 BC). Tablet weaving still exists in several parts of the world, but this was possibly developed as a more efficient method of weaving warp twining that was originally done by hand.

Tomoko will demonstrate Uzbekistan ‘s tablet weaving using two-hole cards.


Making in Mexico: From Inspiration to Artwork
Masako Takahashi

Visual artist Masako Takahashi will speak about working and sourcing materials in Mexico and how traveling and living there profoundly influences her artmaking. She will show examples and be available to answer questions. Her pompoms are made of hand spun, hand dyed Oaxacan wool, and many were dyed with natural indigo blues, cochineal pinks and reds, and other natural plant dyes, sourced in Oaxaca. A selection of pompoms in a variety of colors and sizes will be for sale, to benefit the Oaxaca Colloquium.


October 2018


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Nui Shibori as Artistic Exploration
Jane Callender
Thursday – Saturday, 11 – 13 October 2018
Slow Fiber Studios Annex

Registration opens soon




A Batik artisan at work, Indonesia. Photo by Daniel Gundlach@2009

Batik: Enduring Art of Dyers in Indonesia
Daniel Gundlach, Gary Gartenberg + Distinguished Guest Speakers

Preview of film by Andrew Galli & Daniel Gundlach, 
Indonesian Dance performance, and more

Sunday, 14 October 2018
Berkeley Hillside Club

Batik workshop by Bu Dalmini from Java, Indonesia
Saturday – Sunday, 20 – 21 October 2018
Slow Fiber Studios Annex, Berkeley

Registration opens soon



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North American Indigo Projects:
Powder, Paste, Leaves, and Sukumo
Thursday – Friday, 27 – 28 October 2018
Slow Fiber Studios Annex + Berkeley Hillside Club

Registration opens soon


February – March 2019

6th India Study Tour: Textiles + Art + Architecture


Ahmedabad → Kutch → Kochi → Munnar → Pollachi → Madurai → Sri Lanka
February – March 2019 (dates TBA)
Kochi-Muziris Biennale & Natural Dye International Forum
Led by Yoshiko I. Wada

Led by textile scholar and Slow Fiber Studios founder Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada, the 6th India Study Tour focuses on local textile craft, inventive traditional and contemporary art, and historic architectural sites by traveling to some of India’s most vibrant cultural centers.

Explore the contemporary art exhibitions at the Kochi-Muziris International Biennale; exchange ideas and broaden your dyeing knowledge at the Natural Dye International Forum in Munnar; visit with collectors, artists, and designers at their private homes and studios; wander through the collections at key museums and galleries; engage in hands-on workshops with local artisans; enjoy local cuisine and overnight stays at traditional inns and historic haveli townhouses.

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May – June 2019

2nd France Study Tour: Natural Dyes + Historical Tapestries + Paleolithic Sites


Paris → Loire Valley → Brittany
June – July 2019 (dates TBA)
Natural Dye Demonstrations + European Dye Traditions + Medieval Tapestries + History of Trade from East to West + Modern Organic Chemistry
Demonstrations by Michel Garcia
Led by Yoshiko I. Wada

Led by Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada, founder of Slow Fiber Studios and producer of the Natural Dye Workshop film series, the 2nd France Study Tour will explore Paris and the cultural regions of the Loire Valley and Brittany, inhabited by humans since the Lower Paleolithic Period.

Focus on some of the most precious textile works in history, including the Apocalypse Tapestry, a 600 year–old naturally dyed masterpiece spanning 140m. Gain a deeper understanding of European textile manufacturing, from medieval dyeing processes to the rise of industrial cotton mills and global trade, to Michel Garcia’s insights into modern organic chemistry. Join him at his new studio in Brittany as he continues his research and experimentation to unlock the mysteries of natural colors.

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September 2019



Foundation to Traditional Japanese Shibori
Hiroshi Murase
September 2019 (Dates TBA)
Slow Fiber Studios Annex


October 2019



Subject: Benibana (Safflower) + Akane (Japanese Madder)
Kazuki Yamazaki
October 2019 (Dates TBA)
Slow Fiber Studios Annex


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