Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Summer 2014 - New faces and old faces!

What a summer this has been! We have had more students in the space of three months then we had in a whole year - in the old day's - and it is a very welcome trend. There were many new faces this summer and lots of our old favorites. Starting in June we had two friends come from NY and VA - Judy Fox and Kathy Parrot who both woven the traditional wool throws. Joining them that week was Sarah Severn, former Vermonter and former long term student, who has moved to Kansas. Her infectious laugh was a welcome sound back in the studio again. She wove a beautiful overshot rug during her all too short stay with us. The next week another long term student came back for a week from Canada - Deborah Livingston Lowe - who wanted to try out our 16 Shaft Dobby loom to weave a historic linen pattern. Then another former student - Marina Contro - was back for a few days to make a warp for the new barn loom that she has set up in her studio in Brooklyn. Eleanor Russell, former student from NH, arrived next with her two grand-daughters - Sydney and Maddie - to weave a group project for the upholstery of a camel back sofa. They all took turns weaving the summer winter pattern for the show cover and the two warps of linsey woolsey for the back….all with Eleanor's handspun madder dyed wool! Following that three-some were three new faces - Seth Rockman from Brown Univ. in RI, his future PHD student - Ann Daly and Camille Hawbacker from NE. Seth was here to further his research in the making of "Negro Cloth" by the mills in RI for the slaves in the south in the 19th c. He had never before thrown a shuttle and by the end of a week had woven 3 yards of singles cotton with a fine wool weft. We were all very impressed! Ann Daly, an old friend of Justin's, came to weave a throw and Camille Hawbacker was here for two weeks to hone her skills before teaching weaving this fall at the U of Nebraska.  Three more new faces were here the following week - Jan Cannon from MA to weave Saki Ori, Jon Eldan from CA to weave towels and a warp faced rug and Michael Lobel and Art Historian from NYC to  weave towels.  Micahel has been researching the "Weavers" series of paintings by Van Gogh and wanted to truly understand how the looms that were in the paintings worked.  He was more then captivated by the process! To round off the summer we had our former student from Ottawa, Canada - Bob Clark - return for three weeks to weave a summer winter project.   And then there was Zoe but we'll devote a whole blog to her work this summer!
Judy Fox making her warp for a throw.
Judy and Kathy with their finished throws.
Sarah Severns beaming on her warp for an overshot rug.
The rug in progress.
Marina back to make a warp for rugs.

Eleanor Russell and her two grand-daughters - Maddie and Sydney after finishing all their yardage!

The summer winter for upholstery.

Seth Rockman weaving his "Negro Cloth"

Sharon Costello with her rag rugs.

Jon Eldan beaming on his dishtowels.
Jon's second project - a warp faced rug.
Michael Lobel threading his dishtowels.
Michael's finished dishtowels.
Jan Cannon with her Saki Ori fabric and some extra linen.
Close-up of Jan's Saki Ori.
Bob Clark warping for his summer winter project.
Bob's summer winter.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Summer 2014 - Work Study Students

This summer we saw our new work study program really take off with three  incredible students!
 The first to join us in June was Jana Violante from Croton-on-Hudson, New York. She is a student at SUNY Purchase and was interested in weaving clothing fabrics for making 18th clothing. She had just joined a Revolutionary Warp Regiment and wanted to make some of her costume out of handwoven materials.
The next to arrive in August was neighbor and Brooklyn-ite, Dosia Sanford. The month before coming here Dosia did a 4 week apprenticeship at a wood working school in northern Vermont, where among other things she designed and made a sling chair. One of her projects with us was to be a piece of fabric for the seat and as you can see she out-did herself! Dosia also wove a beautiful cotton wool rug and a piece of fine clothing fabric.
 Ann Low was here with Dosia in August and she came all the way from Vancover, Canada. Ann was mostly interested in weaving with linen and she was to be the first to weave on our new barn loom - Big Bertha. This loom came to us from CT and is the largest barn loom we have ever seen. More on this loom in a later blog. At any rate, Ann set the bar high with wanting to weave linen sheets, linen shirting and linen napkins which she successfully completed. And she even wove a warp faced rug just to try out a new weave structure. All is all it was a great summer and besides their own wonderful projects they wove us lots of dishtowels!
Our first work study student of the summer - Jana Violante weaving cotton dress fabric.
Jana with her finished dress.
Jana's month worth of weaving - impressive!
Besides the cotton dress  Jana wove a fine cotton stripe for an apron, more fabric for a shortgown, and a summer blanket winter sheet.

Dosia Sanford our second work study student getting ready to dye yarn.

Dosia's first project was a cotton and wool runner in vibrant yellow!

Dosia working on her ikat fabric.

The finished cotton fabric for her custom made sling chair.
Our third work study student - Ann Low - working on Big Bertha.
Ann's first warp was for linen sheets in an indigo blue and white stripe.
Her second project was a pair of warp faced rugs.
And her third, a piece of singles linen.  Here she is sizing the warp…..
with Justin's secret sizing receipt.
Ann and Justin working the threads apart from the sizing.
Weaving the actual piece of spot weave linen.
Ann with her month's worth of work….I forgot that she also wove a 4 yard piece of indigo chambray!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

August 2014 - Indigo Intensive

This summer's Indigo Intensive was another successful four days of exploring the many facets of Indigo Dyeing. We were joined by Jean Hosford from Michigan, Lisa Bertoldi from Massachusetts and Jane Quimby from New Hampshire. Jane also taught the Shibori section of the class on Tuesday. On day one,  Zoe introduced the group to the six different vats that we would be using over the next four days - the Copperas Vat, the Zinc Lime Vat, the Thiox Vat and three different fermentation vats - Fructose, Wood Ash and Urine Vats. We then proceeded to dye a variety of wool, cotton, linen and silk samples in each vat to compare which vat worked best on each. Day two was a thrilling day of seeing what incredible effects could be achieved on cotton fabric using the different clamping, stitching, and folding techniques. On day three Zoe presented the different methods of resist printing….using blocks, stencils and silk screens and on day four students were able to spend the whole day working on whatever took their fancy!

Jean Hosford getting samples ready for her vat.

Jane Quimby checking the Thiox Vat.

Lisa Bertoldi helping Jean with the Copperas Vat.

Samples of dyed silk and some shibori.

More samples...

Close-ups of samples from the Zinc Lime Vat.

Shibori samples.

More Shirbori…..

And some more….

Zoe at the end of a good day!
Zoe and Jean getting ready for the block printing.
Zoe demonstrating how to set the block.
With just the right thump of the hand….
Jean giving it a go.
Trying out one of the small repeat patterns.
Lisa working with another small repeat.
Jean creating a design of her own!