Visiting Chongming Island in China an hour out of Shanghai for the first time in February 2014 with Shokay, fueled ideas and gave an introduction to the community I stayed and interacted with in an arts exchange from June - November 2014 as part of a residency with Shokay (www.shokay.com).  The symbol the 'Knot of Eternity' was drawn into the cement cornice above an old barn. Seeing this simple elegant cultural and historical marker triggered many of the 'Threaded' project concepts. Making frottage rubbings and drawings of symbols and other markings and patterns we saw on the streets of Chongming Island create interesting textual histories and diarise the every day experiences. Responding and collaborating with the communities of knitters on Chongming Island was at the heart of my arts practice living and experiencing the every day building friendships and creatively exploring ways of expression together.
 Artist in Residence 2014-15 with SHOKAY:  http://www.shokay.com/blog/blogDetail?blogId=83   SHOKAY, which means yak down in Tibetan, is the world's first socially responsible textiles brand that focuses on developing premium products made from yak down. They  both design their own products for the  SHOKAY Collection and partner with other brands and designers to use their yak yarn in their own collections.  SHOKAY yak down derives its unique origins from the mountainous Himalayan regions of western China.Their fibers are hand-combed from the yaks that dwell there, and which continue to serve as a life source for their Tibetan herders. From this down comes a soft and beautiful fabric, unlike any other.They source their fibers directly from Tibetan communities in the Qinghai region to ensure the highest quality, traceability, and social impact.  Shokay's vision is ambitious: to revolutionize the yak yarn industry by thoughtfully engaging in each step of the manufacturing process. They care how the fibers are combed from the yak, how the fibers are sorted and cleaned, how they are spun into yarn, and how they are woven or knitted into finished products. Shokay believe's that by investing and reinvesting in their success into local communities, will ensure the opportunity of choice for future Tibetan generations.  For more about Shokay:  http://www.shokay.com/
Shokay Knitting Cooperative on Chongming Island
   The Shokay Spinning Cooperative  is a group of 16 women who are employed individually by  Shokay  to spin yak down into yarn. It is run by Llaryatso, from a small building in HeiMaHe (Black Horse River) village. Each spinner’s income depends on the amount of yak down she collects and brings to the cooperative, and the quality of the spun yarn. The spinners live in traditional herding families, and spinning is a part of their cultural heritage, as well as an important craft for making yarns for clothing and rugs. Cooperative members are mainly ethnic Tibetan. During my time with these women we made hand woven seats using materials sourced from local road side stores including rope and yak wool and we also made a large flag made from produce sacks  these works reference all the women of the spinning community along with everyone who participated in the 2014 Qinghai expedition.
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