Saturday, May 7, 2016

Former Student - Craig Evans ….in his own words.

"I first learned to weave in a small studio in New York City in 1975, on a contemporary Harrisville floor loom.  After two courses in that studio, and another course elsewhere, I began a small business out of my tiny Manhattan apartment of weaving scarves and shawls, selling the products through craft fairs and private commissions.  I also did some production weaving for a professional weaver in Manhattan doing her own line of textiles.  In 1979, I left New York and my professional practice to undertake the full time study of traditional weaving at the Marshfield School of Weaving.  After a six week intensive course with four other students, I was able to stay on living and working at the school with Norman and assisting in the teaching of new students for another year.  I remained affiliated the School for another three years, living in my own residence and helping out at the school and doing my own weaving.  I waited tables to support myself.

This was the most active period of my life as a professional weaver, and certainly the most productive.  I was involved in numerous juried exhibitions and was a juried member of the Society for Arts and Crafts in Boston, and the State Craft Center at Frog Hollow in Middlebury, VT.  I was selected competitively as an Artist-in-Residence for six years with the Vermont Council on the Arts, as well as producing my own woven goods for sale.  In 1981 I participated in a large juried state-wide exhibition and was awarded one of two “Awards for Technical Excellence” by juror, Jack Lenor Larsen. In 1985, Kate, Norman myself and Mary Worley mounted a year-long exhibition of our traditional weaving that circulated to several galleries throughout the state. 

In 1986, tired of being poor, I moved to Boston to return part-time to my other profession as a psychotherapist.  My equipment was stored and my weaving was limited to use of the looms at the school in Marshfield when I could visit for an extended period of time.  During that time, I completed seven yards of tweed, which was professionally tailored into a sports coat and vest; five yards of singles linen for shirting material and five yards of linen for vest and pants.

In 1992 I purchased my current home in Brookfield, NH and restored the 1785 center chimney Cape. By 1994 I was able to return to some limited spinning and weaving.  As a result of my pursuit of part-time evening studies at Tufts University, I was awarded a Graduate Certificate in Museum Studies in 1999, with a specialty in small history museums.  In more recent years, the emphasis on my craft has shifted towards consulting with museums regarding their textiles and textile tools, gathering my own extensive collection of hand-woven antique textiles and tools, and demonstrations and presentations on the same subject to a variety of interested groups and cultural events.  Since being in Brookfield, I have had a small business selling textiles, looms and wheels and the assorted tools used with both and in flax preparation. I developed a bit of specialty in great wheels and have enjoyed learning more and more about the various makers and aspects of each wheel.  I continued to spin and dye, and to weave occasional projects on my own barn frame loom.

In 2008 and again in 2014 I was awarded an “Apprenticeship Grant” from the NH State Council on the Arts.  This allowed me to work intensively with an “apprentice”, teaching them what I’ve learned about the techniques and tools of the trade of the pre-industrial revolution period in northern New England with a focus on domestic weaving.  Similarly, studying the socio-cultural and economic contexts of the same period in which traditional or heritage weaving thrived has always been an interest of mine and the grant afforded me an opportunity to share that with the student in a museum setting at the NH Farm Museum in Milton, NH.

At least once or twice a year I get to visit the school and am always absolutely enthused by the creative energy and work being accomplished under Kate and the staff. I treasure my friendship with Norman and Kate and all that I continue to learn from them.  From time to time I wonder what life would have been like had I stayed more concentrated on weaving."

Craig and Kate at their first session at MSW - 9/1979.

Craig in 1979 - at the farm connected with MSW.

Linen Towels - Traditional checks and M's & O's
Hand dyed, Hand spun Weft  - Wool Twill Blanket.
Hand dyed, Hand spun Weft - Wool Twill Blanket
Linen Tablecloth in M's & O's.
Overshot Coverlet in Sea Stars Pattern
Dyed with Black Walnuts.
Wool Twill Shawl.
Overshot Pillows in Sun, Moon & Stars Pattern.
Hand spun, Hand dyed weft.
Loom Shaped Hooded Pullover Jacket-
Irish & Welsh Wool & Alpaca.
Working on the apprenticeship grant at  the Farm Museum.
Craig weaving on his barn loom at home.