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Kentucky visual artist uses Japanese dyeing technique to create colorful silks and felts

On Saturday, Nov. 9, Laverne Zabielski, of Monticello, will demonstrate Shibori, a Japanese fabric dyeing technique, from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea.
With her father in the Air Force, Zabielski grew up living in numerous places. She credits the three years she lived in Japan as the starting point of her artistic aesthetic.

Laverne Zabielski (Photo by Ray Zabielski)

Laverne Zabielski (Photo by Ray Zabielski)

Zabielski moved to Kentucky in 1975 and began to study textiles in 1988, under Arturo Alonzo Sandoval at the University of Kentucky. While at UK she studied color and design, learned the Japanese dyeing technique called Shibori, and began to work with silk and natural fibers.
Zabielski then followed another interest and earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in writing from Spalding University in 2004.
“While I learned a tremendous amount about writing by earning this degree, I eventually realized that I loved the visual arts better,” she said.

   One of Zabielski's scarves on display at the Kentucky Artisan Center (Photo provided)

One of Zabielski’s scarves on display at the Kentucky Artisan Center (Photo provided)

“The main focus in my textile work is color. It is the most important aspect of my work.” She continues, “While I do pay attention to color trends in fashion, I like to focus on colors of the seasons. Cool grays, blues, and pale gold and white are for winter, bright pastels for spring, stronger more intense colors for summer, and the rich deep colors of brown, orange, red, magenta and gold suggest the fall season.”
Zabielski works with a liquid dye called Vinyl Sulphon, which requires steam to set the dye color in the silk. Using only three colors – fuchsia, yellow and turquoise – she mixes these in a variety of ways to achieve her diverse palette of colors.
Zabielski will use these liquid dyes in her demonstration of the Shibori method of fabric dyeing.
Shibori is a Japanese word that comes from the verb root “shiboru” meaning to wring, squeeze, or press. In her demonstration, Zabielski will use a method of wrapping silk around long poles and pushing the fabric tightly into folds prior to dyeing. This process creates infinite color variations and patterns.

Another scarf of Zabielski's on display at the center (Photo provided)

Another scarf of Zabielski’s on display at the center (Photo provided)

Recently teaming up with Kentucky fiber artist and felt loom inventor Lanette Frietag, Zabielski has also begun to dye felted wool to create clothing.
She now teaches students how to use the felt loom through the Fine Arts Institute at the University of Kentucky. Zabielski creates her wearable art at Studios Hidalgo on her farm in Wayne County.
Wearables by Zabielski are regularly available at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea, located at 200 Artisan Way, just off Interstate 75 at Berea exit 77. The center’s exhibits, shopping and travel information areas are open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and the cafe is open from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Admission is free.

Celebrating 10 years in 2013, the center currently features works by more than 700 artisans from more than 100 counties across the Commonwealth. Special exhibits on display are, “Capturing the Art of Sport: Works by Kentucky Artisans,” through Feb. 22, 2014, and lobby exhibits, “The Founding of the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea” and “Highlights of the First 10 Years,” through Nov. 17.
For more information about the center’s events call 859-985-5448, visit us on Facebook here, or go to the center’s website here.
The Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea is an agency in the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
From Ky. Artisan Center

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