Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wisconsin SDA meeting October 15, 2011

Professor Alison Gates, Alicia Engstrom, Dr. Heidi Sherman of UW- Green Bay
holding traditional tools used to make flax
Our meeting at UW-Green Bay was very enjoyable AND educational. We had an excellent presentation by Professor Alison Gates, student and Flax Team member Alicia Engstrom, and Dr. Heidi Sherman, an authority on medieval history. The ground-breaking Flax Team hopes to continue their seed-to-cloth flax growing project. The process was chronicled by student Alicia Engstrom whose special interest areas are spinning and weaving fibers.

One of the plots is located on top of a campus building. Its visibility has created a buzz within the campus community that reaches beyond the Art and History Departments. Members of the team have received advice and support from many who are helping keep an eye on their "babies".

The team plans to start a website to document the progress of the project-- stay tuned!

Alicia Engstrom shows flax growth
Artist, teacher, writer and SDA member Donna Kallner presented a willow and tannin printing demo at the meeting. Donna and other members discussed India Flint's presentation at the SDA Conference, and Donna showed how she uses a botanical dye that grows in abundance in Wisconsin. Donna also makes willow charcoal which can be used to make marks on silk. Needless to say, there was a lot of note-taking going on during her demo and her silk samples were gorgeous.

Donna Kallner (l) , Alison Gates (r)
raw materials for willow print process
willow printed silk scarf
By popular request, Donna is blogging about this process at

We finished up the meeting with show and tell.  Laura Fisher-Bonvallet, weaver and designer of fine art wear, showed samples of her beautiful hand-woven wearables. Laura is a 2-time winner of the esteemed NICHE award and has her studio in Oneida, WI. See more of her work at:

Laura Fisher-Bonvallet w/ woven jacket
Thank you to all of our presenters and attendees-- it was a meeting full of beautiful art, enthusiasm and inspiration!

1 comment:

Astrid Hilger Bennett said...

Looks like it was a lot of fun! thanks for the report AND the pictures.