Textile Society of America


Date of this Version



Crosscurrents: Land, Labor, and the Port. Textile Society of America's 15th Biennial Symposium. Savannah. GA. October 19-23. 2016.


Copyright 2016 by Catharine Ellis


I am a weaver and a dyer with a passion for continued investigation of these disciplines. My work integrates the two processes of weaving on the loom and dyeing the cloth after it is removed from the loom. I have spent over 25 years developing and refining a technique that I have named woven shibori. Supplemental threads are woven into the cloth while it is on the loom. Once the weaving is complete, the supplemental threads are used to gather the cloth, creating a resist for dyeing or shaping.

Both weaving and dying are essential to the final textile. I continue to experiment with new ways of integrating them. A number of years ago I was inspired by an early to mid 20th century belt from Morocco. I believe this piece was woven with the intent to dye it. The warp is wool. The weft includes stripes of wool and cotton. It has been folded to create a resist and dyed with an acid dye. The dye only attached only to the wool fiber. Using this textile as a starting point, I began an exploration of my own. I wove fabrics with both wool and cotton yarns and incorporated woven shibori resists. I used synthetic acid dyes that attached only the protein fibers. The ability to make such fabrics is unique to the hand weaver.