Shirley Berlin

Shirley is passionate about "narrow wares" - all sorts of cords, braids and bands. She loves to get other people excited about these techniques, especially inkle and tablet weaving and kumihimo. Using simple equipment or sometimes none at all, a few threads can provide an afternoon's diversion for a 6 year old or be a study in complexity for textile historians. Simple techniques needn't mean simple-minded however, as looking at the past and at people around the world shows. Just think about trimmings, jewellery, haute couture, history, and costume.

BA, N. Dakota, 1963. MA, U of Wash. 1967 (Speech Path. & Psychology)
Diploma in Creative Studies: Textiles. London College of Furniture, London, 1988
City and Guilds of London: Textiles (Parts I and II) 1986, 1988 (Distinction)
Workshop Practice for Textile Craftspeople (Part III - exam not taken)

Teaching and exhibiting 
Since 1979 at venues in France, Sweden, England, USA and Canada. 
Specialty: narrow woven braids and bands: tablet and inkle weaving, and kumihimo. 
On Speakers Lists of  ANWG (USA/Canada).
Taught at Convergence 2002, the biennial international weavers conference and ANWG 2017. 

Taught at the International Braiding conferences in Japan.

Also at the American Kumihimo Society Gathering in October 2018 and the Virtual Gathering on May 2021. ( Author of an online course on Braiding:Thick and Thin for the American Kumihimo Society ( And more, since Covid - Kongo gumi, Start and Stop, Laramie.

Starting in 2023, a member of Artisans' Studio in Nanaimo, B.C. Braided jewellery for sale.

Founder member and first Chairman of The Braid Society

Founder member of the American Kumihimo Society
Organisation: Co-organiser of the Textile Arts Festival, Bradford, England 1990.

Born in Canada. Lived in Sweden, Holland, Germany, France, Russia and England.
Extensive traveling for business and pleasure in Japan, South America, Africa, and Eastern Europe.


Available for Lectures and Workshops on the Following Topics

Braids and Bands: "That's nice, dear, but what do you do with them?"
Lecture: You will never need to ask this question again after looking at bands in history, costume and other cultures. Examples collected from around the world will be on display and a long list of possibilities will send you away inspired.

Simple Braids and Cords: one or two-day workshop: Use simple techniques to make a selection of constructed cords worthy of your work: twiddle, plait, ruche, lucet and braid, (kumihimo on a disc.) 
More techniques on Day 2: Two-card tablet weaving, Norwegian half-hitched fat cord, two person loop manipulated braids (can have a fringe), 
Knotting: fancy half-hitches, a flat, decorative knotted 1" wide cord and a flat decorative knot to make with cords

Tablet Weaving Without Tears 
Lecture or One Day Workshop: Using the continuous warping method, students can weave 2 or (maybe) 3 sample warps during the day. The pattern moves taught lead directly to free designing and lettering.

Introduction to Kumihimo: 
Japanese Braiding: Hands-on Lecture or 1, 2 or 3 day Workshop: 
These flat, round, hollow or square braids are useful for trimmings and jewelry and are fun to make on simple equipment. The possibilities for complexity are also enormous. Braiding stools, bobbins and weights are supplied; can usually be purchased.

Take Ten - a Kumihimo Workshop Two Day Workshop: 
Ten variations on the theme. Four structures (square, flat, round and hollow) and what you can do with them. Topics include: cores, bumps, textures, distortions, adding beads, endings/no endings, findings/no findings. 

Kumihimo for Jewelry 
As above, but focusing on jewelry.