The April program was quite interesting. Scharine Kirchoff was born in Okinawa, into a family of weavers. She did a slide show of the area, of textiles, and of her family members, as well as the types of weaving they do. Her grandmother is 104 and still weaves. Her great-grandmother a weaver lived till 102. Scharine said longevity is prevalent in Okinawa. There were lots of samples of the types of fabrics woven, fibers used (banana, silk, etc.). She is the first person in America to have an Okinawan loom. It’s made of wood similar to cedar. Historically Handwoven fabrics from Okinawa were used to pay taxes . The requirements were strict … ikat dyed designs had to be within a fraction of an inch of requirements to qualify. If you weren’t a good weaver you probably had to find another means to pay taxes. Okinawans use silk, banana, and other native fibers and dye them with natural dyes.
Writeup by Gerry Woodhouse, photo by Barbara Esterholm.