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

In 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.

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!

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.

 

 

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"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! "
—Kathie
"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
"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."