The Layna is not a new design for me; but one that was worthy of revisiting for the Joy collection for KC Fashion Week. The tunic vest is named for another Nebraska weaver, Layna Bentley of Omaha. I read recently that Layna had been weaving for more than 40 years and the occasion that prompted this design surely had to be 20 years ago or so. These days all is measured by relevance to The Shepherd's Mill and this particular KAWS Conference was certainly before the mill. KAWS was happening in Wichita Kansas and the vendors were set up in the basement area of City Arts. I was in my "starving artist" phase, weaving in a spare bedroom of our home, selling fiber arts supplies and equipment at conferences, teaching a bit and dreaming a bunch.
Layna was set-up with her beautiful vintage buttons. She speaks of falling in love with buttons and in that we share a common thread. I spent much more than I should have on some beautiful, raspberry, mother-of-pearl, inlaid walnut buttons that only had one hole, at least on top! Layna patiently explained that they were "whistle buttons" and I was hooked. I kept going back to look and make sure they were still there before I "just happened" to find the perfect, shimmery, hand-dyed yarn to go with them. My dreams that night were filled with ideas of how to use those buttons with that yarn and when morning came, I couldn't go home without those inspiring buttons.
Now, Layna is an accomplished seamstress, using commercial patterns to cut and sew her handwoven fabric into beautiful garments. She also retired from teaching in the fashion studies field and her use of her fabric in garments has always been exciting to me. Since meeting her at KAWS that year, I've continued to be inspired by her work as a weaver, designer, dyer, and seamstress. She shares her passion for beautiful buttons and beautiful fabrics and is an amazing individual of distinction.
"Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight." 1 Peter 3:4