After our arrival on Salt Spring Island in 1975 I became involved with the Arts and Crafts on the Island through my friend and neighbour Judith Mckenzie.

She introduced me to weaving, spinning and dyeing yarns and introduced me to the Salt Spring Islands Weavers and Spinners guild.

 My former training in Germany, where I was born and grew up, was in the fashion industry. There I learned the art of designing, patternmaking and the making of garments.

With that background I decided to make garments from hand spun, hand dyed and hand woven fabric. Later on I switched over to commercial yarns.

 Inspired by the beauty of the island and the range of colours one experiences, colour and the finishing of the garments became my trade mark.

 After about 35 years of making hand woven garments I had to stop weaving, as my back did not like it. I switched to knitting, which I had used with my woven garments, and created more “one of a kind” garments.

Looking at other ways to make hand made fabric I looked at felting. Judith Dios was giving a workshop in Nuno felting. I was delighted as it promised to give me a new road to travel on. Making garments of hand felted materials. Using the remnants from my hand woven garments.

Ilse Leader

Ilse Leader

And the next step was not to cut the fabric up into pieces, but use the full size as wall hangings.