Sharon Cahn with the kimono which she made from fabric she made using the mulberry bush.

Sharon Cahn with the kimono which she made from fabric she made using the mulberry bush.

Tea inspires fabric artist

Fibre artist Sharon Cahn has two amazing art garments in the Station House Gallery’s June show which is all about tea.

Fibre artist Sharon Cahn has two amazing art garments in the Station House Gallery’s June show which is all about tea.

She made tapa paper from the bark of a mulberry bush and used the fabric she made to design and create a beautiful, kimono and accompanying hat.

Tapa is a paper-like textile which is hand-made by native cultures in Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, and other Polynesian island people in the South Pacific.

The fabric is traditionally coloured with natural dyes (in this case tea) and painted with tribal designs and used for wall-hangings and for ceremonial clothing such as weddings.

Modern designers such as Cahn are also using the technique to design clothing which is sturdy and wearable.

For her kimono, Cahn says she rubbed certain places until there were holes in the fabric to create the appearance of lace in certain places.

The tea used to dye the fabric is stronger in some places than others to create more texure.

For another of her exhibits she carefully took apart cloth tea bags and sewed them back together again to create a traditional Japanese Happi Coat with a hat.

Cahn, who lives in Horsefly, has been a fibre artist for 45 years. She began by spinning the fibres of her own Angora rabbits and goats, Romney sheep and even a llama. From there she learned to dye the fabrics, knit and crochet. Today she designs and makes   one-of-a-kind wearable art for exclusive boutiques and runway shows all over North America.

“Now that I have retired from my ‘day job’ of teaching, I spend my time expanding my eclectic knowledge of techniques into many other directions,” Cahn says in her biography.

“The questions along the journey thrill me every chance I get and I continue to be stimulated and have fun along the way.  May it never end.”

The Tea Ceremony show at the gallery featured the work of many artists in different mediums of paint, clay, fibre art.

The show Tea Ceremony runs through Saturday, June 27.