In the Studio

Welcome to my studio! My home studio is where I teach all of my one-on-one lessons, custom tailored to individual interests and abilities. It is also where I create all of my amazing cloth! 

 

Equipment

 

Grace  

Let me introduce you to Grace, my 32″ 4 harness Gilmore. I don’t usually name my tools, but I found her at a college that was selling off all of their looms. At the time I had just one loom since my studio is rather small. Grace was so compact and perfect for weaving scarves. I noticed a small metal plaque at the base of harness mount: GIVEN IN MEMORY OF GRACE HOSSACK WEAVER. After some research, I discovered Grace had been Anita Mayer’s mentor years ago. I am blessed to have a loom of spirit come to live with me. To make it even more wonderful, the loom came with reeds: 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 15, and 16. I had never seen a 14 or a 16 before. Interestingly enough, for my first 20 years of weaving I only had a 12 dent reed. I guess if a person only has one reed, a 12 would be the one.

Gary

About 22 years ago I decided I had earned a Fireside loom. The loom is cherry wood (horse logged by Amish loggers in the Midwest) 48″wide 8 harness and a custom tilted commuter bench.

Since 1997 I have only used all 8 harnesses twice. I finally had to see what the loom would do at full capacity. It was really cool, but I am a plain weaver at heart.

Why did I name my loom Gary, you might wonder? Well, Gary Swett is the maker/owner of Fireside looms, and he hand signed the loom.

Love

The newest addition to my loom family is 2 harness 20” Saori which I named “Love” after weaving on it. One of the best features of the Saori loom is that anyone can sit down and weave on it (and I do mean anyone who can count to 2 and reach the treadles) with just 3 minutes of instruction. I got my Saori from Saori Santa Cruz, but the main Saori weaving studio and store in the United States is Saori Worcester, in Worcester, Massachusetts. 

 

Fibers and Formats

I have worked with cotton, rayon, chenille, silk, wool, alpaca, musk ox, bamboo, tencel, and, most recently, hemp. My current focus is in sourcing local fibers to create fabulous woven cloth equally pleasing to the eye and hand.

I express my love of textiles by weaving scarves, shawls, blankets, and throws, with regular forays into mixed media wall art and origami.

If you asked me what I like to weave best, I would answer “blanket.” To create a large textile, equally functional and decorative, is the ultimate in weaving satisfaction for me.

 

Techniques

Color Horoscope Weaving

0cd5c-april10-09mmaontheloomIn 1979, I developed a method of translating an individual’s horoscope into color using a system of superimposing a color wheel over the horoscope. I wanted this product to be too individual to be mass produced. The result was Color Horoscope Weaving. There are 360 degrees in a circle, 360 degrees in a horoscope, and 360 threads in each weaving. I use 12 colors (to represent each sign, house, and planet), and these colors combine to create over 5 billion color possibilities. Color Horoscope Weaving lends itself to any fiber, is equally striking as a scarf or a bedspread, and is the ultimate personal gift. (Satisfaction guaranteed) See the showroom for more examples of Color Horoscope Weaving.

Turned Weft Ikat and Almost Ikat

Bonnie’s interpretation of an ancient yarn dyeing technique

JOY 112The term “ikat” refers to an ancient technique in which yarn is tie-dyed into patterns before it is put on the loom and woven. This is a very time consuming process. First the design must be planned out and a cartoon made the size of the finished piece. Next the yarn lengths are counted out and placed over the cartoon. Then the sections of the design must be tied and the yarn dyed. The dye is blocked from the tied sections creating a design. If one is planning to use more than one color, the yarn must be un-tied, replaced on the cartoon and retied. I have recently seen a video that simplified this last step, and the warps were painted instead of dip-dyed.

In Turned Weft Ikat, I bypass the planning and cartoon stage. I tie and dye the yarn in skeins, wind the skeins into balls, and use the ikat dyed balls combined with solid colors to count out the warp (placing each length carefully to create a spontaneous design).

With Almost Ikat, one can bypass the whole dyeing process completely and buy variegated yarn! Technically, painted skeins are not considered ikat. When I first started playing with ikat, all I could find was red, yellow, green, blue in regular intervals. Now it is almost impossible to find yarn that isn’t patterned in some way. I love hand-dyed yarn! See the gallery of techniques.

Woven Words

I developed a system of color and number correspondences with each letter of the alphabet. I found a book that had alphabet colors, but I changed them somewhat to suit my aesthetic. As for the numbers: A=1, B=2 and so on. This is a delightful method of producing a personalized textile.