Stick and Stone Fiberarts
By Margarete Mehrabian
Los Angeles has an extensive community of fiber crafters, whose numbers are growing annually. As with knitting and crocheting, spinning has also seen a resurgence in the last few years, becoming a hot new craft in L.A. In the Greater Los Angeles area there are five official spinning and weaving guilds, each with rapidly growing memberships. Though knitting stores were plentiful in L.A., spinners had a choice either of finding goods on the internet, or traveling far to purchase fibers, spinning wheels and other essential accessories.
Photograph Copyright by Stick and Stone Fiberarts
Frustration can be as motivating a factor as any other emotion, and thus Janel Laidman and Margarete Mehrabian, spinners and weavers themselves, decided to open a retail store dedicated to spinning and weaving. Taking a leave of absence from UCLA, where they both are research scientists, they opened “Stick and Stone Fiberarts” in May of 2006. The name, Stick and Stone, was based on the earliest elements of spinning, a stick and a stone whorl.
As a spinning and weaving store, Stick and Stone carries spinning wheels, looms and all the additional items required for both the novice and advanced crafter. Stick and Stone carries a wide assortment of fine quality natural fibers, including alpaca, cashmere, merino and other sheep, yak, camel, various silks, cotton, corn, soy and hemp, as well as such man-made fibers as tencel. Knitters and crocheters have not been left out, as there is a balanced supply of novelty yarns and needles made of bamboo and various exotic woods, as well as silk cases, stitch holders and other added extras.
Although all fibers come in a variety of natural colorsecru, grays, browns, beiges and blackStick and Stone is enthusiastic about carrying naturally dyed fibers and yarns and promoting the art of dyeing. Margarete learned techniques of natural dyeing by taking workshops from Michele Wipplinger of Earthues. In September, a four part workshop on natural dyes was held at Stick and Stone. Classes included mordanting of protein and cellulose fibers, working with raw materials (roots, bark and leaves) as well as with dye extracts, and hand painting fibers. A full range of natural dyes and dyestuffs are offered at the store at competitive prices.
Shortly after the opening, Randall Hayden, a talented spinner and weaver, joined Stick and Stone. A well-known Navajo historian, Randall had worked at the Southwest museum for over 15 years. As the head of the repair and restoration department, he refurbishes and restores spinning and weaving equipment, new and old. He is presenting a four-part workshop on traditional Navajo rug weaving, giving both the beginner and advanced weaver an opportunity to learn Navajo history, design and weaving technique.
Spinning and weaving classes are offered without charge, and there are various knitting and advanced spinning classes, in addition to more “exotic” classes such as kumihimo and shibori. As we believe it is important to offer the community a place to come and enjoy their craft, there is open spinning on Thursday and Sunday afternoons.
Stick and Stone Fiberarts
6411 Sepulveda Blvd
Van Nuys, CA 91411