"The last time I visited Marshfield School was just prior to acquiring my current cat. At the school Kate was working on producing moire patterned fabric, a process not yet perfected. In the evening she would put the calender press to bed with fresh fabric, and in the morning Kate would open the press. Upstairs I would hear cries of delight from below (it worked) or curses (fabric scorched.) When I got home, moire patterns were fresh in my mind and when we picked up the new kitten, it was obvious: he could only be Moire.
My interest in weaving began in 1969 while watching a friend dash off scarves for Christmas on a small folding loom. Not long after, I visited the Putney Mountain loom maker in the dead of winter and found his driveway lost in ice and snow. I was able to climb up and I ordered a nice 4S 45” loom. “How do you get a loom down your driveway to ship?” I asked. “Sleds” he replied. I taught myself to weave on this loom from books and my imagination: I wracked my brain about how to contrive warp weights and came up with sacks of potatoes! Now I weave on a Fireside Fiber Arts 10S 60” loom and Glimakra 12S 63” loom which is fitted with damask hardware which I have yet to learn (and use brass rods for weights.)
I worked in computer software until 2001, weaving when I could as a hobby. In 1991 I took my first weaving class in Taos with James Kohler, who became a famous tapestry weaver. He made tapestry seem easy and introduced me to Navajo designs. I was inspired and for a number of years did only large tapestry wall hangings starting with a simple chief blanket of black and white stripes between wide stripes of my own colored designs.
After retiring, I missed linen and other types of weaves. I set up a small business, Rosepath Weaving, and wove housewares by commission and also for the large annual sale of Weavers’ Guild of Boston. Commission work is an opportunity to translate a client’s vision into reality. We sit at my dining room table with samples, yarns and weaving books to choose whatever the client likes that is within my skills. It can be a constrained environment as the case of the “husband chair problem” which was solved by two throws for a pair of beloved brown chairs (the husband’s) to extend the feel of the delicate Asian sofa (the wife’s) and play down the brown chairs. But commissions can also be an exploration of something new, as in the case of the chenille throw in analogous colors, purple-red-orange.
I found Kate Smith and Marshfield School of Weaving after looking through back issues of Shuttle, Spindle and Dyepot where I recalled reading about the school. I loved the historic weaves I found at the school. I developed a keen appreciation for what the old timers had accomplished as well as the beauty of simplicity and attention to detail.
After Marshfield, I became interested in the Guild’s languishing program of volunteer weaving for Plimoth Plantation. I revived it and recruited guild members to weave toweling and throws. In collaboration with Kate Smith who custom-dyed the colors, I produced the first throw from a tiny detail
of a period painting. Since then I’ve explored on my own linens in northern Europe in the 17th c. I find that people love the stories of the origin of weaves I use; it gives handwovens life.
I have a current hobby project with the Carlisle Historical Society, which recently received a 17th c. loom I’m working with others to restore. I’m including a picture of part of the warp beam braking system and would appreciate hearing from anyone who has seen anything like it."
|Moire on the Fireside Fiberats Loom.|
|Undulating Twill Throw to|
complement Asian feel sofa.
|Fabric for the "Carlisle Artisans Jacket" project which|
was made entirely in Carlisle, MA from sheep to
|Overshot Runner - Chariot Wheels|
|Silk/ Wool Scarves in a self designed|
|Tesswater & Wensleydale Shawl for|
a rare sheep workshop.
|M's & O's Shawl|
|Tapestry Rug - "Diamonds"|
|Red Chenille Throw|
|Fine Linen Tea Towels in a 3/1 Twill.|
Blue and Green dyed by Eaton Hill Textiles.
|Towels for the study of 17th c. Northern|
|Hand Dyed Yarns by Eaton Hill Textiles|
for the Plimoth Billington Blanket.
|Blanket in the Billington House|
|Anyone see how a brake stick fits this warp beam?|