TAFA’s Gift Guide: Handmade Scarves
Scarves make wonderful gifts as you can never have enough of them. My friend, Abdul of Afghan Tribal Arts, once talked about the reasons why turbans became a necessity for so many nomads:
- It protects you from the sun, rain or wind.
- It’s a helmet. If you fall off your horse or camel, you land on something soft.
- If you can injured, you have plenty of fabric to wrap the wound.
- You can make it into a satchel and carry things.
- You can use it to cover yourself at night.
- You can carry a baby with it.
The scarves we wear are distant relatives to the long yardage that graces these men’s heads. But, we also use them in many ways:
- Around the neck.
- As a shawl.
- As a beautiful runner on a table, shelf or dresser.
- As a small curtain.
- For picnics.
- As a wall hanging.
Whether we use them for warmth or for beauty, handmade scarves have the added benefit of coming with a story, that of the maker and of the process. Our TAFA members offer hundreds of scarf options as it is perhaps, the favorite functional object they create. Scarves are a perfect project for textile and fiber artists as their size allows for a reasonable completion time and offers many opportunities for expressing different color combinations, techniques and special touches. The materials and techniques used range from painting on silk to felting with wool, crocheting and knitting with many different fibers, or sewing fabrics of all kinds. We feature just a few of them here today with a bit of their story and hope that you will explore our links to find the perfect one for you or for your gift!
“I am an Estonian silk artist who is specialized in custom silk paintings. My name is Maria Jürimäe, and I am mother of two lovely girls. Painting on silk is my passion. I have painted on silk and taught silk painting for over 15 years.
I love to sing while painting. In old Estonian and Finno-Ugric tales the power of song is really strong – it can influence our lives, it can create the new worlds. Our nation has not forgotten this wisdom. And we sang ourselves free from the Soviet Union! My silk scarves and silk ties carry the joy of making them, and the good wishes that are specially painted into them.” – Maria Jürimäe, Estonia, Handpainted Silk
“My name is Klara, I am a full time artist and a mother to two boys. I grew up living right by the sea and spent my childhood playing with seashells, gazing at the expansive horizon. The word “Dar” means gift in my language, therefore my shops translates is “Klara’s Gift”. I have always been an artist.” -Klara Arnaudova, Bulgaria, Handpainted Silk
“I’m a weaver, spinner, dyer and knitter and use the natural beauty of my surroundings on Banner Mountain (my home) as inspiration for my work. My handwoven and knitted works are all one of a kind and I often use yarns spun and dyed by me in my creations. I design my own weaving designs with computer software and then translate that design to the loom in colors and textures that are unique to each piece I weave.” -Beryl Moody, California, USA, Handwoven Rayon
“Color, pattern and texture–and their interplay–intrigue me. I weave and knit slowly, savoring every part of the design process. In addition to making my own yarns, this includes adding “eccentric threads” and other surprise elements to each piece. My textiles are a little bit quirky and deliberately special. The plied fringes I like to make are twisted by hand, a minimum of 100 times each, for a nice, secure finish. When I create cloth, every bit of yarn or thread has traveled through my hands–and been loved–many, many times! My favorite materials are silk, wool and luxury fibers.” -Margery Meyers Haber, New York, USA, Handwoven Silk and Wool
I started weaving in 1996 and haven’t looked back! I am primarily self taught but have met some wonderful mentors along the way.
Weaving is truly my ‘happy’ place.
I like to weave with fine cottons, silks and silk blends, linen, tencel, and bamboo. I enjoy watching elaborate twills and other patterns grow as I throw the shuttle. I’m not a production weaver, but rather a weaver of short limited runs of what ever interests me. I place a great deal of emphasis on quality over quantity.” -Susan Harvey, British Columbia, Canada, Handwoven Tencel
“I am here to share my love of Japanese antique mingei textiles, especially boro. I collect and sell indigo cottons with a particular interest in katazome, tsutsugaki and kasuri. My shop does have a wider range of items including clothing and gifts. All are vintage or antique.
I identify with the Japanese mingei movement, the concept of ‘yu yo no bi’ – beauty in practicality, and ‘mottainai’ – no waste. These concepts have great relevance to the sustainable fashion movement to which I hope my shop contributes, at least in a small way.” -Stephanie Hannon, Shibuya-ku, Japan, Antique Cotton Indigo Cloth.
“Threads of Peru purchases textiles from women’s weaving cooperatives in remote Andean villages. We pay the women for their work up-front and at a fair market price. We also invest in the communities where we work, by providing training which strengthens their economic outlook and makes it easier for the Quechua people to remain in their ancestral homelands if they choose.” -Angie Hodder, Cuzco, Peru, Handwoven Wool
“I live in a small fishing town on the Oregon coast and I only have to walk outside to be inspired. I love fiddlehead ferns curling into life, old moldy leaves with exposed skeletal structure, shells, seaweed, sunsets through storm clouds, and a multitude of other items offered by the Pacific Northwest’s natural bounty.
I started quilting in 1989. I specialize in machine techniques including free motion embroidery and quilting. In 2009 I opened a shop on Etsy that allowed me to explored my creativity on smaller projects. My shop carries felted and sewen items including scarves, purses, jewelry and handmade fiber beads.” -Julia Donaldson, Oregon, United States, Wool and Silk Nuno Felt
“I am a textile artist and designer living in the mountainous Kootenay region of British Columbia in Canada. My home is in a tiny village nestled next to the Slocan Lake across from the beautiful pristine wilderness of Valhalla Park. I enjoy working with a mixed media of traditional and innovative textile design techniques on natural fibers including cotton, linen, hemp, silk and wool. I use dye, shibori, screen printing, painting, sewing and piecing to transform cloth into garments, accessories, housewares and artworks. My passion for the environment inspires me to make use of re-purposed fabric as much as possible in my clothing and accessories.” -Morgen Bardati, British Columbia, Hand dyed raw silk, Screen printed.
“My name is Era Hódi (HEra). I’m a Hungarian artisan and textile artist. I live with my family in a small town nearby Szeged, Hungary in the heart of Europe. Since my childhood, I’ve been fascinated by the colors, folk motifs, mystical and mythical world of wonders. I make modern home furnishings and clothes for everyday wear using traditional techniques and natural materials. They are made by pursuing those internal expectations of creating miracles by combining patterns and colors. My style is a little antique and romantic.” -Era Hódi, Hungary, Crocheted Acrylic and Cotton
“Head over heels in love with designing and creating knit and crochet accessories, clothing, and wearable fiber art, I have been experimenting with textures, colors, shapes, and drape since 2007. Each piece in my collection is an original design, created entirely by hand, one stitch at a time, in my one-person studio in Westchester County, New York. I work almost exclusively with natural materials, including merino wool, baby alpaca, silk, cashmere, and fine cottons. I have sold my work online through Etsy for several years, and, since 2011, I have been exhibiting and selling my work at juried fine craft & art shows.” -Elena Rosenberg, New York, USA, Hand Knit Merino Wool
“I have always loved to create. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t knit or crochet or sew. My grandmother had the enthusiasm and patience to teach me when I was very young – but more importantly she shared her fascination with every stitch I created; showed her excitement and eager anticipation as each piece unfolded; and jubilantly celebrated every completed work.
I love vibrant colours, and rich textures… colours that ask to be noticed and textures that long to be touched. The accessories I make are sometimes said to be flamboyant and lively – an expression of a part of me, that is otherwise hidden beneath a conservative quiet exterior.” -Rosemary Boyd, Western Australia, Ausralia, Crocheted Silk.
As you can see, we are a diverse and international group, numbering over 500 members from 44 countries! It was hard to pick which scarves to show here as there are so, so many beautiful ones, but I wanted to give a glimpse into various materials, sensibilities, locations and techniques.
Where to find our scarves:
Etsy: Enter TAFA Scarf into Etsy’s search. At the time of this posting our members have over 700 scarves there.
Artizan Made is our sister site with a marketplace. Most of our textile artists there are also members of TAFA and we have a lot of scarves in the Market. Most products link back to their shops on Etsy or on their sites. Go visit!
Enjoy the search and know that we appreciate the support! Handmade scarves are going to be more expensive than what you will find at box stores, but they were made with loving care and come with a great story! Let us know in the comments how you use your scarves, what your favorite ones are, and if you find one from one of our members.
About Rachel Biel
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