Silk, Linen & Banana Fiber Woven Candle Mats


My husband & I go out to breakfast at an Irish pub here in town every Sunday. We’ve been going for 7 years now, and have gotten to know many of the servers and kitchen crew, including a lovely local artist, whose many encaustic paintings are often displayed in the pub. Incidentally, she’s also a redhead named Jennie, so we hit it off. Jim & I bought one of her paintings, and we became friends. She also wrote a book about finding your creativity, called Waking Up Grey, and recently started a subscription box based on the book. Each month the subscribers receive supplies and gifts that echo the theme and goals of a new chapter of the book.

I reached out to my fellow Jennie, to offer to partner up with her, so she could include something from a fellow artist in one of her boxes, and she took me up on the offer. Chapter 3 includes the prompt to ‘make a table’, out of any materials you wish, in any size you desire, and discusses the duality of women often being expected to serve & fill the table, but also being denied a seat or voice at that table. One of the gifts she included was a candle made from a local company that hires women who have escaped from domestic violence situations, and gives them employment until they can get on their feet and move on. So we decided I would create something to support that idea and the candles. After a little experimentation and a few false starts, I settled on weaving little mats for the candles. They can be reused with new candles when this one burns out, or repurposed as coasters, mug rugs or a more modern take on a doily.

They are made from linen (burgundy), recycled silk (gold), and banana fiber (multi-color) yarns, all from Darn Good Yarn, a company which provides safe jobs to women in India & Nepal. All their yarns are Fair Trade, and hand spun and dyed. The silks are created from the waste of the silk making process, and would otherwise end up in a landfill. They were woven on a simple Martha Stewart peg loom I picked up on clearance a couple years ago. There are 13 total; the first 3 were woven a bit too tight, until I learned to get my tension right. The next 10 came out better, and those went to Jennie for her boxes. I hope they will cheer the hearts of the box subscribers, and help them contemplate their own creativity and identity as women.


P.S. Here’s the painting we bought from Jennie! It is one encaustic paper & wax piece that was cut into 9, and each mounted onto a separate frame, that all hang on a larger board. It’s hard to see but it’s full of hot air balloons and birds and gothic architecture.

P.P.S. Note to anyone interested in other-Jennie’s book: It is specifically about finding your creativity through God, and more specifically, Christianity. Personally I am not a believer, and don’t want to push any specific spirituality onto anyone else. I feel like when anything touches on religion, there should be a PSA, in case that’s not your thing. I have added a link to the book above in the post. Meanwhile, here is a link to her website: https://www.flyforwardstudio.com/ She also teaches classes in encaustic painting if you’re anywhere near Franklin, TN.

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That’s really cool!

Are you going to give us a link to the other Jennie’s art or book? :wink:

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I knew I was forgetting something! The links! Thanks @thanate. :heart:

I’ve gone ahead and added them above, along with a picture of the painting we bought from here.

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Beautiful work. Very cool how it totally matches the color scheme of the paintings you bought from her.

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You really did a lovely job combining the different yarns! I know that must be difficult to weave and get the tension right…they look really good and are cheerful and useful!

I feel like there is a universal appeal to things handmade by women to help other women…such a positive energy that no matter what you believe, you can embrace.

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Such a thoughtful and well-made contribution to a beautiful cause. Well done, lady. :heart:

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Lovely mug rugs and great story behind them!

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Well, the mats are great just on their own, but then the story of the materials, how you came to making them, and the project/collaboration of it all is just downright wonderful!

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Nice! They turned out great. There is so much texture to them. The colors are so rich.

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I love the mats, but I love even more what they represent! Supporting your friend in a worthy cause is wonderful! Who know how many lives the two of you will touch for good?

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These are so cool!

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Congratulations! This has been selected as one of this week’s featured projects!

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These are really gorgeous, and I love this project you’re helping out with! Sounds really socially conscious and great. :slight_smile:

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