Thursday, September 6, 2007

Canada: Sensorium, Touch

The sense of touch is the first and last one that we experience. It has the ability to distinguish between something soft, hard, smooth, wet, dry, etc. We experience this sense through receptors located on the skin, some areas being more sensitive than others. The skin is the largest organ of the body, like a sponge it is a porous membrane. In Aromatherapy the skin is one of the pathways we focus on when utilizing pure essential oils therapeutically. Vancouver is much cooler than Los Angeles in the month of August, so much so that most of the time I was cold.
Vancouver gets an average rainfall of about 43 inches per year, which is why it is called a temperate rain forest and the city is so green.

On our first visit to Granville Island we discovered the Silk Weaving Studio. The moment I saw the shop name in combination with the display of lustrous rainbow colored silk hanging from the wooden racks, I was drawn in. The shop is set right on the edge of the island, with large windows overlooking the waterfront onto False Creek. One enters through a gallery space with exquisite woven garments on display, including iridescent scarves, Irish inspired shawls, locally made hats, etc. Having been completely seduced by the beautiful creations, you then enter into a secondary room with the hanging silk threads, several looms, balls of colored yarns and a small area on the counter showcasing the industrious creators of the silk, the silk worms. A cocoon contains one continuous strand of silk that measure nearly one mile! The silk is incredibly soft and seductive to the touch. The labor intensive process involved in preparing silk for weaving is akin to that of creating botanical perfume. In fact, all these artisan trades of ancient times, require huge amounts of hand work that the industrial age managed to simplify, for better and worse. Personally I choose to support businesses that incorporate nature, the human being and hand work. There is great magic and so much evident love in products produced in this manner.
We explored two other yarn shops while in British Columbia, "Stitches, Quilts and Yarns" on Salts Spring Island and "The Bee Hive" in downtown Victoria. Each of these independent boutiques exhibited great aesthetic appeal for the eyes and incredibly soft to the touch. The feel of handwoven silk and spun wool is captivating. The warmth provided by a a woolen scarf around the neck is sensual and snuggly. Eve was a very busy bee while in Vancouver, she produced several scarves, many of which were made from yarns purchased at these inspiring shops.

Silk Weaving Studio, Granville Island
Silk Worm Information
Stitches, Quilts and Yarns, Salts Spring
The Bee Hive, Victoria

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