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).
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 weaving of the ancients, and those of weavers yet to come.
To wear a Bonnie Tarses woven creation is to display a distinctive work of art.
Come visit me in my studio and see the secret of how I get so much weaving done.
Weaving with unknitted cashmere
Weaving with Turned Weft Ikat
Monster Wefts podcast with Syne Mitchell
“The reasons for weaving are as various as the needs, gratifications and abilities of the weavers, but I believe they boil down to this: essentially we weave because we like to do it, and in a secondary way, because we like to have our own beautiful textiles, made with our own hands, for the greater comfort and seemliness of our lives. We like to throw the shuttle; we like to beat with the batten; we enjoy combining colors and textures and decorative figures to make a brave new fabric that will be a pleasure to the eye and that will serve a practical need–the “fulfillment of demand” if you like. Doing these things gives us the pleasure of creating,–the artist’s pleasure, the good craftsman’s pleasure.
Why we enjoy these things is a different question. Weaving is a very ancient art and goes back to the dawn of human life on earth. It is built into the human nervous system; it is an urge in our brains and our fingers. To give it expression brings us keen pleasure, and also an “escape” from the distresses or the hum-drum detail of our daily lives. And the value of this escape in hard and cruel times like the present can hardly be overestimated.”
—Mary M. Atwater, “The Weaver”,
July-Aug, 1941, vol. VI #3, p. 13