Local Color At Sievers

One warm, sunny October day in the mid-1990’s, I fell in love with Washington Island. I was in Jo Campbell-Amsler’s willow backpack class at Sievers, and we left the studio to weave at what is now called Percy Johnson Park. 

Now I take my own students there when I teach a Sievers class called Local Color. The class combines field trips, natural dyeing, photography and digital imaging, and printing and embellishing images on fabric and transfers.

This year we visited Percy Johnson Park as the weather cleared after an all-day rain. The light was perfect for photographing the fossils and shells we found there. And some of those photo were used in projects students made during the class.

We started the class with a trip to the island’s stump dump, the perfect place to gather materials for some natural dyeing and ecoprinting.

Later in the week, students learned to make and print with Thermofax screens. 

One student made a screen to print on her ecoprinted silk scarf.

I always like to have Local Color students sample heliographic printing with translucent fabric paints. 

As usual, I learned something from a student. This time, one sampled the technique on wool fabric. That’s an idea that had never occurred to me!

It’s inspiring to see how students combine elements made using different techniques.

The first few times I went to Sievers, I hardly left the studio. I still love being in the studio there. But it’s also nice to take a break for an afternoon visit to the ice cream stand at Jackson Harbor.

In October I head back to Sievers to teach a natural dye class and make some more wonderful Island memories. 

Maybe I’ll see you there!

Published by

Donna Kallner

fiber artist, teacher and explorer, inspired by ancient fiber techniques and all the ways contemporary fiber artists give old ideas a new spin