Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Second Weaving Trip!

Late last week I visited Shelburne Falls, Mass, with a couple of weaving friends.  It was open studio week at Vav Stuga.  We had made our plans too late to participate in weaving on the looms, but we were happy to make the trip to visit the town and check out this weaving studio!

 vav stiga

Shelburne Falls is known for its “Bridge of Flowers,” and we learned that the bridge has been turned into a small botanic garden, planted with trees, vines, shrubs and many perennials.  In May there is a lot in bloom!  Azaleas, wisteria vines, iris, Solomon’s seal, columbine, poppies….well, I just cannot name them all!  There were plenty of summer blooming perennials starting to bud! 

The Bridge of Flowers was started in the 1940s by a group of volunteers on an old trolley bridge .  For many years it was known as the “Bridge of Weeds.”  It is now supervised by a professional gardener, but still requires the hard work of many volunteers.  While my friends and I walked across, we saw one volunteer hauling numerous wheel barrow loads of black dirt onto the bridge. 

May Garden and Vav Stuga 004

May Garden and Vav Stuga 006

We stopped at WEBS on the way up and had a fun shopping spree!  Their spring sale was in progress, and we each got some wonderful things!  My most exciting purchase was two cones of tencel in complimentary colors to recreate the two-block twill fabric that was on Bonney’s loom when I got it.  That’s the fabric I wrote about earlier this month!  It will be wonderful to have my own version!

On our first evening in Shelburne Falls, we met the business manager of Vav Stuga who happens to be living at the Dancing Bear, where we stayed.  She mentioned that there was one cancelation for Friday, and after a little discussion, my friends agreed that I could take the spot!  Lucky me! So while my friends toured the town on Friday morning, I wove at one of the looms!  It was a rep weave project in colors that were just perfect for both my kitchen and my family room!  I loved the studio (sorry, no photos…but you can check out the website! I was too busy at the loom!), and I enjoyed weaving in this setting!  Now I hope to visit again for one of the week long classes.  Becky (owner), Susan (business manager) and Celeste (apprentice) do a wonderful job of creating a calm setting with lots of good weaving energy.  The studio and living spaces make you feel like you’ve just entered a Karl Larsson painting!  It’s lovely.

Here’s my runner!

May Garden and Vav Stuga 007

Weaving trips!

It’s full spring now, and I have just treated myself to two weaving trips!  I feel decadent, and it is wonderful!

First was a two day workshop and evening lecture at Jockey Hollow Weaving Guild, which is in a beautiful part of New Jersey, just west of Morristown.  This is horse country with lots of historical, colonial sites…not that I visited any of them since I was busy weaving!

The workshop instructor was Ruby Leslie from New Hampshire, and her class was titled “50 Ways to Weave Your Color.”  Seventeen students each got a warp from Ruby in the same colors but different color sequences with different weave structures.  We then had a very organized round robin of weaving over the two days.  It was great!Ruby Leslie workshop 042010 007

Huck Weave with dark weft on a shaded warp




Ruby Leslie workshop 042010 010

Advancing twill on a different shaded warp with dark bars between the color changes.  Woven with a dark weft



Ruby Leslie workshop 042010 009

Bumberet.  Lots of variation here.  Warp stripes in bright colors on muted background and weft, or more subtle colors when the bright colors sections are not raised.


Ruby Leslie workshop 042010 018

Color and Weave Pinwheels, using multi-colored warp instead of just light/dark. Weft also shades through the various pinks/terracottas and the various greens.


Ruby Leslie workshop 042010 013

Asymmetric plaid, woven either in straight twill or plain weave.




Ruby Leslie workshop 042010 014

Double weave, with color striping and dark weft.  There were two versions: one in cotton and one in tencel.



There were 17 looms, with six weave structures to try, so there were three each of 5 structures (bumberet, huck, adv. twill, plaid, color & weave) and two looms with double weave.  Everyone went home with six samples and some of us went home with 7 or 8 eight samples.  It was extremely well organized!  Ruby will be teaching at Convergence this summer, and I’m sure her students will be happy they chose her class!

While Ruby has lived in New Hampshire for many years now, she is originally from Queens.  She made a comment that she likes to receive tiaras from her students as a light hearted reference to her ‘royal’ roots.  One of the students really outdid herself by making Ruby a felted tiara late at night after the first day of class had ended! 

Ruby Leslie workshop 042010 027

Ruby in her felted tiara!





News of my second weaving trip to follow!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Weaver’s Legacy

An amazing turn of events last week brought three weavers together after three years…

About three years ago, a good friend of mine died from complications related to breast cancer.  She was a very artistic woman, someone I admired.  She wore her handwoven clothes with enviable flair, and she knew how to accessorize.  When she could no longer sit at the loom she continued to knit accessories that were as striking as her woven items.Bonney Ford crop

(Well, this is not the best photo to demonstrate Bonney’s fashion flair, but do notice the t-shirt on the sheep                commemorates National Spinners and Weavers week!)


Her daughters held a sale before selling her house, and I got some precious items which always make me think fondly of Bonney’s friendship.  I have two shirts, commerically made, that look deceptively handwoven, a sterling jewelry pin of a castle-style spinning wheel, and Bonney’s 8S  Baby Wolf.

When I got the loom it had samples on it, lovely samples of what looked to me like a ‘Sharon Alderman’ fabric.  There were several small samples, separated by unwoven warp.  The warp looked like 20/2 mercerized cotton in a medium grey.  The weft was the same size cotton in ‘rust’ or ‘burnt sienna.’  The color difference between the warp and weft made a lovely iridescence in the fabric, giving the finished cloth the look of silk.Ruby Leslie workshop 042010 044









I thought of weaving off the rest of the warp, but when I went searching for what the treadling might be I did not find this pattern. Also, I did not have the weft.  Eventually I cut the fabric off the loom so that I could warp it for a weaving workshop.  I thought I might serge the fabric samples and give one to each of Bonney’s good friends in my guild, keeping one for myself.

But I never did it.  The fabric has lain on top of my serger now for three years….

During these three years my path has occasionally crossed the path of another New Jersey weaver from the Jockey Hollow Guild.  I heard her name numerous times through mutual acquaintances, and I finally met her during her guild’s holiday sale last December. 

Last week when I had again warped this loom in readiness for a weaving workshop from the Jockey Hollow Guild, Sally was the organizer, so our paths crossed again. 

At one point during the workshop Sally offered to tweak my loom into better working condition.  I mentioned that this loom had belonged to a good friend who had left this life.  I asked if she had ever known Bonney, who had on occasion attended meetings at Jockey Hollow.

Well, Sally did know Bonney. In fact, some time before Bonney’s final days, Sally had visited her to weave off some samples that were part of an exchange (indeed, a Sharon Alderman design). Shortly after that visit Bonney died, and Sally did not know what became of the samples or of  Bonney’s loom.  The participants in that exchange never got the samples.

Isn’t it interesting that I had wanted to give those samples to some of Bonney’s friends, but I just never could bring myself to cut them apart and serge the ends?…. and equally interesting that I kept hearing about Sally from a couple of friends.  I, too, had visited some meetings of Sally’s guild, but I did not met her until recently….  And it is interesting that we did not get to the subject of Bonney and her loom on our first meeting, but obviously it was meant to come about at some point.

I think Bonney knew it would happen, all in good time, and I think she smiled when it finally did.  I will miss seeing the yardage in my studio, but I’m immensely happy that it will go to the recipients who were always meant to have it.  It’s a lovely length of finely woven cloth.  Good weaving endures, friendship endures.  It’s all good.