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SUMMER 2003:  We were honored to have a visit to ARTS by  CHINESE "National Treasure" artisans from Beijing University and the China Science and Technology Museum.  These talented artists toured a number of cities in the United States, Spring through Fall, with the major international exhibition "CHINA: 7000 years of  Discovery".  We were fortunate to be able to bring a number of these artisans to ARTS during the time they were demonstrating their specialized arts at  the Cleveland's Great Lakes Science Center.

Drawloom weavers Sheng Derong and Fan Fengyu (shown on either side of me at ARTS) were weaving on a 17 foot long Chinese drawloom, a loom advertised as a "two-story two-person drawloom".  The other artisans (L to R) are He Junliang/ papermaker, Lang Zhili/ Dough Figurine Sculpting, Huo Qingshun/ woodblock printing and his Assistant (center below), the Director and Li Hongsen/Calligraphy. (Our translator, Jin Qiang, took the photo.)


Sheng and Fan use special techniques to produce rare "cloud brocade" of silk and real gold on this drawloom.  This cloth was only permitted to be worn by the Chinese Emperors in times past; today it is only permitted to be woven by special museum permission.  We at ARTS are delighted to have been given a piece of this rare cloth for our Archives!  In addition, Huo donated a wonderful warrior print to ARTS and, at the request of the Director, a special calligraphy was created by Li highlighting the very special bond of friendship which we formed... undaunted by differences in language and culture. "In art there are no boundaries... just opportunities."


Fan and Sheng holding "Cloud Brocade"
Li in action making the calligraphy
The Chinese Double-Harness Drawloom made of bamboo and string weaves silk and gold (L).  Sheng, drawgirl (R), pulls additional saved pattern sheds -- each white string, of the thousands shown cycling atop the loom, represents one pattern pick in the cloth.  (You may click on these two images to enlarge.)    

Spring 2004 marked a visit from Chapuchi Ahiagble, Master Weaver from Ghana in West Africa.  You have to see his work to see how incredibly precise is his African strip weaving.  Yet what he calls "a measuring stick" is no bigger than a matchstick!  You may be familiar with "Bobo" Ahiagble, Chapuchi's father, who has given workshops in the US... including one at Convergence in Washington DC.  Now his son is coming to America, eager to share how to do this specialized weaving. 

Chapuchi is one of 9 sons who carry on the weaving traditions of his village.  His Father also is one of 9 sons who weave.  This family of weavers spans at least 10 generations.


Chapuchi is available for demonstrations with his double-harness loom which uses drag stones.  He has a limited volume of work to sell to pay his travel costs while in America, through Fall 2004.  For details contact Bonnie Sanford at flaxspin@yahoo.com

Chapuchi is shown trying out the TC-1 loom at ARTS (L) and one of his African Strip Weavings (R) -- click image for close up.

Summer 2003: Tours of ARTS historic log home and Studio, lunch on the Allegheny River, a school bus to get us all from one location to another throughout the day!  This time around, featuring the Cuyahoga Weavers Guild.  And a wonderful time was had by all!


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