Debbie Leung
Fibre Artist

Guizhou April 2010

Guizhou, in Southern China and it's poorest province, has been on my "must go there" list for a long time. Whilst I was there in April, I observed the amazing process of silk paper-making. Silk worms normally move their heads in a figure-of-eight as they spin their cocoons; but to create sheets of paper, the silk worms are constrained; they are placed in trays just deep enough for them to move their heads only sideways; this constraint forces the worms into weaving a flat fibre; unfortunately it also kills many worms in the process.

My trip fell on ‘Sister Festival’. In the Western World it might be called Guizhou Valentines Day. Its the festival when girls show their feelings to boys. From a modern point of view, we might find it a bit odd, but in these remote mountainous regions, where inter-village marriages between tribes are practiced, this festival provides almost the only way to begin relationships. In this festival, all the girls wear ceremonial costumes. These costumes are hand made by their mothers and take years to finish.

Silk Worms
Silk worms
Wax resist
Wax resist
Hand Pleated Skirt
Hand pleated skirt
Embroidered Apron
Embroidered apron
Mini Skirt Tribe
Mini skirt tribe
Prince Charming?
Awaiting Prince Charming