About Bonnie

Bonnie Tarses is a textile designer specializing in one-of-a-kind and custom handwoven textiles since 1960. From the time she began her weaving journey, she was drawn to the color symbolism in all ethnic textiles. “I continue to be amazed by the fact that weavers of old attached special meaning to the placement of every thread.” In search of a set of personal symbols, Bonnie developed several techniques that have become her trademarks—Color Horoscope Weaving, Woven Words, and Turned-Weft Ikat (a twist on a traditional theme).

“I believe it is practically impossible to weave something ugly since weaving by its very nature is beautiful.” —Bonnie Tarses

“I believe it is practically impossible to weave something ugly since weaving by its very nature is beautiful.”
—Bonnie Tarses

Originally from the East Coast, Bonnie first learned her craft at Rhode Island School of Design. She later moved to Montana where she had a brief stint as a weaving shop owner. In 1980, Bonnie settled in Seattle where she operated her colorful weaving studio until 2010 when she returned to Missoula, Montana.

Bonnie specializes in private commissions—working closely with the client to co-create a unique fabric which reflects the spirit of the individual. Since 1993, Bonnie has been teaching workshops and presenting lectures to numerous fiber organizations throughout the US and Canada.

Her art is a meditative practice. Thread by thread Bonnie works to help create a world filled with balance, harmony and beauty. Each of her pieces is a bridge between the weavers of old and those of weavers yet to come.

About her decision to become a professional weaver, Bonnie writes, “I wove for about 20 years before I decided to try and make a living at it. Why did I wait so long to jump in? I think I always knew I didn’t want to be or couldn’t be a production weaver. I suspected I would burn out, wreck my back, get carpal tunnel, lose the passion, and move further away from the sheer magic of weaving. I feared one day I would no longer be able to hear the echoes of the ancient weavers. Although it is often questionable as to whether I actually make a living from weaving, (metaphorically speaking) the Weaving Goddess communicates with me on a regular basis.”

To wear a Bonnie Tarses woven creation is to display a distinctive work of art.

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"The whole concept is such fun!!! I really loved working with the colors and seeing the combinations. Just that alone has given me some ideas of color choices for other projects. Thank God for digital cameras to record which ones I like best and add them to my notes."
"After enjoying Bonnie's inspiring presentation to our North Olympic Shuttle and Spindle guild in Sequim/Port Angeles WA on the joys of designing with Turned Weft Ikat, a group of members held a wrap, dye and warp day in July. It was an excellent, though lengthy day, and all participants left with dyed yarn and lots of enthusiasm. We hope to see a series of towels this year at our monthly show and tell and want to thank Bonnie again for an excellent concept."
—Lynn Baritelle
"Never under estimate the powers of your horoscope shawl.  I am continually amazed at how this technique (Woven Words) makes me use new colors and they always seem to work together. Thank you, "
—Karen Driscoll, California
"I found Bonnie to be a great new weaving mentor in my life and not the least bit intimidating. And I feel more confident now to weave more fine pieces than I had before. "
—Martha, Missoula
"This has been the most challenging, rewarding and inspiring experience for me and I feel that I can now call myself a weaver! "
"Your Horoscope Workshop was the best workshop I have ever attended in my 10 years of weaving. In addition to providing the opportunity to warp and weave something new and different, I learned a lot from the tips you shared with us, gathered from your 50 years of weaving.  If your ears are ringing, it is because we are still talking about how much we enjoyed your workshop and that we learned so much. Thanks again for a great experience."
—Bobbie, Tennessee
"After your workshop, I came home and worked in a fury to complete the scarf. I had not intended to finish weaving until after the SoCal experience, BUT the scarf was "sizzling" on my loom!!!! I could not leave it alone! So the weaving is done with the fringing process started. I decided to put little faceted clear seed beads here and there--it looks like the stars. The whole experience was very cathartic. I will send a pic when I have completed it. Thank you so much for your insight and wisdom, I couldn't have asked for more."
—Susan von Sosten, Sacramento
"This was a lovely gift to myself and I am very grateful to Bonnie for developing this idea. I have never warped anything without knowing how it was going to turn out. Each new color was eagerly anticipated to see how it would blend in. Like Bonnie promised, it all worked out."
— Shelley Hamilton, Saskatchewan
Thank you for developing such a clever system and for your help and guidance on this project. It was very fun to make, and my new shawl is amazing!! —Isabel Clark
My husband is fighting me for it. I told him it is MY horoscope and he can't have it.
—Sonnie Sperati, Delaware
Thanks Bonnie, your workshop opened doors in weaving I had not thought of or did not know how to execute.
— Sandy Buckworth, Delaware