Meeting Members: Yvonne Wakabayashi

How did I become interested in fibrearts? 

I always want to give credit to the Vancouver Guild of Fibrearts and Peggy Schofield (our founding member and dear friend).  This combination of energy & inspiration started me off in becoming serious about Textiles and Design, which was what I was studying at UBC.

Professor Penny Gouldstone (my UBC teacher) was very instrumental in putting me in touch with the guild to create further interest and “focus” and add to my textile studies.  Also in 1983, Penny Gouldstone suggested I go to Japan to take a workshop with Hiroyuki Shindo in Indigo and Shibori.

It was also 1983, coincidently, the year Yoshiko Wada, our shibori Catalyst,  published her first book on  Shibori….this is how the journey began for me.

I had been a school teacher teaching elementary grades but wanted to return to teaching after bringing up my family.  This time I wanted to share my passion with others.

I must also remember, my mother who really ignited the flame with her dressmaking shop on West Broadway which was also my home.  I was engrossed in fabrics every day.

Most importantly, my friend and colleague, Lesley Richmond,  kept the flame going and I credit her for my teaching experiences at Capilano College.  Everyone needs such a friend to consult with when you are needing advice or a critique.

My inspiration?

Many things clutter my mind with ideas and processes so, to help to declutter and to find a limited theme from my “Image Bank”, it has helped me to look closely at the Theme of Water, The Sea.  My ancestral home in Japan is an island surrounded by water and here on our West Coast of BC I have spent such time near the Water’s Edge.  This can also become too much…. but  simplicity and even lack of colour led me to just the appreciation of the fibre.  I have experimented with many different fibres, weaves, knits and dyes and colour,  but my latest work is simply white, some silk or pineapple fibre (pina) to suit the 3D sculptural pieces.  I like the transparency of light weight fibres and  concentrate on simple lines.  This is becoming too much like a lecture so I will stop.