Sunday, February 20, 2011

Fiber and Inspiration

On Friday, I attended the Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat going on through this afternoon at the Hotel Murano in Tacoma. I did not sign up for any courses, but wanted to spend some time with the fiber in the market, as well as attend the Teachers' Gallery and talk in the evening. I was not disappointed.

Initially, let me say that if you haven't been to Hotel Murano, you should, and get ready for a treat. Named for the famous type of glass (and situated just minutes away from Tacoma's Museum of Glass), the hotel is filled with art and glass. Note its impressive lobby and bar/lounging area - which is contemporary, but very warm.

 After a quick coat check and coffee refueling, I headed off to the market. For me, the highlight was definitely my deeper exploration of the fibery goodies produced by Habu Textiles.

Not only are the colors exquisite in this 60/40 silk and mohair fiber, but the packaging is quintessential Habu.

 This 100% merino cone (what a great spring color!) contains a whopping 747 yards.

Finally, Habu takes remains and bits and pieces from across their fiber offering, groups them according to color, and packages them up. I snatched the one below (because it was busy, even on a Friday afternoon), and it will become a nifty little scarf. 

One thing to note about Habu: as is their basic philosophy, they are short on structure, but long on creativity. As a result, I'm not certain exactly which fibers are in my sampler because they're not identified (but know, from the ample time spent in the booth, one is cotton, another linen, and a third is possibly a pineapple plant derivative). While I can go to the website and figure it out, the goal is to just take the fiber and create. I plan to do just that.

Two other highlights:

this awesome super-bulky thick and thin yarn from Butternut Woolens will be a shawl/capelet (yes, what a change from laceweight!), and

this amazingly gorgeous tencel yarn in laceweight will be combined with something else in a project a little later this spring. I really can't wait!

After some dinner (cause, hey, fiber discovery is a grueling thing), I headed back to the hotel for the Teachers' presentation. The guest speaker, Betsy Hershberg, gave a presentation on her own creative journey. Not only do I love her medium (beads), but having just penned an essay on creativity (which you'll read in a post here in the not-too-distant future!), I found her presentation engaging and completely inspiring. She has a soon-to-be published new book, and I wish her nothing but good things with it.

 The packed room then went over to the Gallery and had an opportunity to touch and otherwise inspect the current work of each of Madrona's instructors (as well as talk with them, of course!). What a great hands-on approach, and one that I wish more gatherings would adopt.  

Needless to say, I left feeling totally inspired. I found the fire lit in the front of the hotel on the way out rather appropriate. 


  1. What a great experience this must have been!The yarn looks fabulous, in all those pastel colours, I can't wait to see what you'll make!

  2. The yarn you purchased looks amazing!

  3. @heklica: I'm looking forward to working with the yarn. You know, until you labeled the colors pastel, I hadn't really thought about it all that much. I guess I must really be ready for spring. :)

    @Nicole: Definitely check out Habu, if you're ever in Manhattan, or at a gathering where they have a booth. I first saw the textiles live in 2009, but was too dumbfounded to do anything about it. Even at this gathering, it was, like, textile overload. Just amazing. :)

  4. Great post...
    I am always so amazed to find out there they are such large groups of people who are connected by there love and passion for textile and design...
    It must have been an inspiring weekend...
    Lovely to see your gorgeous pictures too...

  5. What an amazing weekend that must've been! You're obviously ready for spring :-)

  6. @Michelle - I'm glad you enjoyed the photos, and yes, textiles and fiber are inspiring! So is good, granny design ... :)

    @ewenique: Yes, spring can't get here soon enough. Of course, we're expecting snow in the next few days ...