Art in the Time of COVID
Black Sheep member Barbara Shapiro will share the productive burst of artistic output inspired by moving her studio in January 2020 and by current personal and political events. The sequestration that Covid forced upon us all brought forth lots of new work in several series. Unfinished and abandoned projects from years ago were seen with new eyes and finally finished. Newly discovered materials inspired different ways of working. And as always, Indigo colored her materials. Barbara hopes to inspire you to look at your own work in new ways as you enjoy this saga of 20-21 in her studio in the time of Covid.
Mathemagical Design – Geometry in Textiles
Since ancient times, human beings have observed the world around them and found recurring patterns in nature. The Golden Proportion, the Fibonacci Series, symmetry movements, tessellations and fractals are some of the mathematical ideas that have found their way into art and architecture for thousands of years. In this slide show we will see examples of how these ideas have been used throughout history, various cultures, and particularly in contemporary fiber art.
From the first time that Jennifer sat down at a loom, she was drawn to the orderly universe of colored threads and the rhythmic repetition in the process of weaving. Because of her background in piano and pipe organ, she felt an immediate affinity with this new stringed instrument whose patterns flowed from her hands in the form of color and design rather than sound.
Jennifer has developed new methods of setting up and weaving doubleweave and made it accessible and understandable for all weavers. Her techniques and systems for working in doubleweave can also be found in my book The Weaver’s Studio: Doubleweave and in her online courses.
Totally Twill – The Basics
Twills are one of the most versatile weave structures and the possibilities are amazing! The breadth of weaving twills can be a bit daunting, but so much fun! In this program, Robyn will cover the basics from straight draw and point twills and then move on to broken, undulating, M&W, Dornick, plaited, and turned twills.
Robyn Spady was introduced to handweaving as a baby with her handwoven baby blanket woven by her great-grandmother. Inspired by her blankie, she learned to weave at a young age and has been weaving for over 50 years. She completed HGA’s Certificate of Excellence in Handweaving (COE-W) in 2004 with the specialized study Loom-controlled Stitched Double Cloth. Robyn is fascinated by the infinite possibilities of crossing threads and loves coming up with new ideas to create fabric and transform it into something new and exciting. She is committed to turning the weaving world on to double-faced fabrics, four-shaft weaves, uncommon and advanced weave structures, and passementerie techniques.
In 2016, Robyn launched Heddlecraft®, a digital magazine for handweavers. She believed there was a void in educational resources for the intermediate-to-advanced weaver (and adventure-seeking beginners).
Sampling is Not a Dirty Word!
Are you a member of that illustrious “full-size sample” club, feeling guilty that you should have sampled first…but there wasn’t enough time, yarn, or money available, and you were sure your weaving software would figure out everything for you? Listen up! The aim of sampling is to acquire information, not cause guilt or pain! Stop treating sampling as a dreaded disease – sampling IS weaving and can significantly improve your textiles.
An inveterate sampler, Ruby has always tried to extract as much information as possible from each warp. After years of being a closet sampler, she wants to dismantle the negative ideas that the word “sampling” invokes and turn it into an easy habit to embrace. Sampling is more than weaving or not weaving a sample at the loom before embarking on a project. It is a design tool – an easily acquired way of thinking about how to weave and create cloth. There are techniques and strategies for how to extract a maximum amount of information from a surprisingly small investment of time, money and/or yarn.
Ruby Leslie maintains a full-time weaving and teaching studio in northern Vermont, where she designs her own line of handwovens as Ruby Charuby Weavings. Boundless enthusiasm for sampling and experimenting, especially with color and its interaction with structure, has guided Ruby’s creative endeavors from the beginning of her weaving career 30 years ago. Handwoven magazine’s invitation to become a contributing member of their ‘Color Forecast’ series, creating swatches on a regular basis, was the impetus for Ruby to streamline her design process. This fueled her desire to share her insights about how to successfully integrate color, structure and yarn in weaving without having to dye yarn or rely on recipes. Ruby has taught above the Arctic Circle in northern Norway and Greenland, as well as at Convergence, regional conferences and guilds throughout the US. She was one of three weaver/designer teams invited by the Handweavers Guild of America to create a collaborative runway ensemble for the second Design Fashion Challenge at Convergence 2010 in Albuquerque, NM.
The rhythms of her looms inspired her children to produce the music video Getya Loom Goin’ for their “Ma, the Weava.”
A program of images and video by Laverne Waddington on
AN INTRODUCTION TO WOVEN STRUCTURES USED IN SOUTH AMERICAN TEXTILES.
Simple looms do not necessarily mean simple textiles. Weavers in South America use rustic looms to create complex cloth employing a wide variety of techniques using complementary-warp structures and both supplementary warps and weft. Even plain-weave textiles are not in any way ‘’plain’’ when incorporating ikat or finished with intricate knotted fringes, colorful joining stitches and tubular edgings.
In this program Laverne will walk you through some of the various woven structures she has encountered while learning to weave in South America, share stories about her experiences learning them and show examples of how she has used these in her own work on the backstrap loom.
Laverne Waddington has been learning to weave on simple looms with indigenous teachers in South America since 1996. In her home in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, she draws on ethnic design influences from around the world to create pieces on a backstrap loom using the various techniques and structures she has studied in South and Central America as well as with backstrap weavers from Vietnam and Myanmar.
Since 2010, she has published eight instructional manuals on the various woven structures and finishing techniques that she has studied and produced a dvd on Operating a Backstrap Loom.
Her articles on backstrap weaving and indigenous textiles have appeared in Handwoven magazine. Shuttle, Spindle & Dyepot and Spin Off as well as in the published proceedings of the 2012 and 2016 Braid Society conferences.
She has shared her skills and experiences with many visitors to Bolivia over the years and now reaches a global audience with her weaving tutorials and travel tales on her blog. She provides online advice and support to weavers through forums such as Ravelry and teaches and speaks at guilds and textile conferences around the world.
Although we will not be able to meet in person this year due to COVID-19, the Programs Committee is working up some fun holiday program for the guild. Stay tuned for more information.
The November Black Sheep Handweavers Guild program will feature Laura Fry as she discusses her evolution as a weaver. Laura is certified as one of Canada’s Master Weavers. She is the author of Magic in the Water and The Intentional Weaver: How to Weave Better.
Laura Fry has been weaving for 45 years, 44 of those as a production weaver. She shut down her business in December of 2019 and ‘retired’ from making and selling textiles as her primary focus.
She has taught, written about and researched about weaving for all of those years and continues to learn – both from her own mistakes and the journey of others who explore this fascinating craft.
A few years ago she became an adjunct teacher for the Olds College master weaving program, which eventually led her to set down as much as she could about what she knew about making textiles. This became The Intentional Weaver, her second self-published book.
For the past year she has concentrated on weaving down her yarn stash. And barely made a dent in it! But she persists.
October Black Sheep Handweavers Guild program will feature Daryl Lancaster, a handweaver and fiber artist known for her award winning handwoven fabric and garments. Daryl will lecture on how to combine warps and structure for a one of a kind fabric. This will be a Powerpoint presentation. While the focus of the presentation will be on 8 shaft looms, the theory can easily applied to 4 shafts, or more than 8 shafts, if you are inclined.
The lecture will start with some basics on weaving yardage, what to weave and how to sett it. The most important part though, is finding out what you’ve got, and how to make it work for you. Learn how to know what’s on the cone, or in the skein, and see how far it will go! The focus here is on 8 shafts. With 8 shafts you can magically combine structures and different yarns and create some inspiring and truly unique fabrics. Lots of drafts and lots of examples.
Daryl Lancaster, a hand-weaver and fiber artist known for her awardwinning hand-woven fabric and garments, has been constructing garments for more than 50 years. She gives lectures and workshops to guilds, conferences, and craft centers all over the United States. The former Features Editor for Handwoven Magazine, she has written more than 100 articles and digital content, frequently contributes to various weaving and sewing publications and writes regularly for Threads Magazine. Daryl maintains a blog at www.weaversew.com/wordblog Find her at www.Daryllancaster.com.
The September Black Sheep Guild program will feature Carol James, expert in sprang and the would-have-been keynote speaker from CNCH 2020. She’ll talk about the fascinating structure that is sprang. There will be a live demonstration and examples of the tremendous variety of clothing and other items that can be made with the versatile technique. She’ll include examples from history and modern applications.
Carol James has been playing with strings for a long time; she learned to embroider and to crochet before she entered kindergarten. Since the 1980s she has been exploring a wide, flat, braiding technique known in North America as fingerweaving. In the mid 1990s she was introduced to sprang. She is now a world-recognized teacher. She has spent the past 20 years rediscovering textile forms that had been considered lost, resurrecting these ancient techniques and making them accessible to everyone through her publications, books and workshops. Carol believes that textile creation is part of our human heritage. Textile is an amalgamation of threads interconnecting with each other, just as humans work together in order to create the fabric of society. The method used to create fabric in disparate communities around the world is often quite similar. This is a common language of humans: the construction of fabric. Woven together we are stronger.
Carol James’s website may be found at
Carol writes about the image on the right: “I made myself a new sprang shirt, using a 5/2 mercerized cotton from Lunatic Fringe, leftovers from other projects. Inspired by the stitch pattern in a Ukrainian belt, I made vertical stripes in the body. I inserted a weft along the shoulder where front and back meet, it gives stability to the shoulder, bearing the weight of the sleeve.” More information about this piece is on the blog at Carol’s website.
Karen Donde weaves garments, fashion accessories and home textiles for sale and teaches beginning-advanced weaving classes and assorted workshops for guilds and conferences. Teaching credits include HGA’s Convergence 2012, 2014 and 2016 and 2020, Southeast Fiber Forum, the Mid-Atlantic Fiber Association’s Workshop Weekend, Midwest Weavers Conference, Intermountain Weavers Guild Conference and Florida Tropical Weavers Conference. In Asheville, NC, she has taught at Sutherland Handweaving Studio, Friends & Fiberworks, Local Cloth and her own studio.
Photos are used with the kind permission of the copyright holder, Karen Donde.
Take a look at Karen’s website: https://karendondehandwovens.com