Workshops & Lectures

Each lecture and workshop is designed to suit the group to which it is presented.  While this list is offered to give an idea of the sorts of topics that may be chosen, other subjects may also be available.  Your inquiries are welcomed.

All of the topics listed below can be presented in a much shortened form as a lecture or guild program lasting an hour to an hour and a half. Keep in mind, however, that the longer workshops allow us time to go into topics deeper.

A large, steady chalkboard is required for all presentations. 

Three new workshops.  All three are round-robin workshops which will allow you to go home with samples of several different fabrics.

As weavers we generally study weave structures by climbing what I think of as a structural tree with a branch for twills (and further branching within that topic), lace weaves, overshot, and so on.  Most of the time when I am designing a new cloth I don't think about a particular structure but about how I want the cloth to look and what features I want it to have.

Three new workshops have grown out of that idea.  All are found robin workshops so each participant has the opportunity to weave each of the structures, taking home a woven sample of each one which establishes a sort of cloth library so you know the hand and weight of each.


NEW Playing with Blocks--It's Almost Child's Play

One Day Presentation or Three Day Workshop

A one day presentation covers profile drafting, what it is, what structures fit into the system and how to do it. Profile drafting is a powerful design tool allowing the designer to look at the big picture first and then execute the design in any of the structures that can be used with these useful drafts.

A three day workshop includes weaving samples of fabrics in a round robin format using the various structures we discuss. At the end you go home with a binder with the drafts and the samples you have woven using them.

Materials fee for binders: $15.

NEW Structures for Creating Stripes

Three Day Workshop

This workshop deals with warp-wise and weft-wise stripes and the structures that allow you to make them in a particular cloth.  The weight and hand of the cloth will vary depending on which structure you choose so this is a chance to make samples of all 15 to keep as reference.

NEW Structures for Creating Checkerboards or Grids

Three Day Workshop

Checkerboards or grids have stripes that move in both directions.  Like the Stripes topic above the workshop is a round-robin.  At its conclusion you will have 15 fabric samples, a reference for the weight and hand of each possibility.

NEW Structures to Create Dots

Three Day Workshop

In this workshop, the grid is exploded in the engineering drawing sense.  When the grid is blown apart we are left with dots,  patterns that are isolated in the cloth.  As with the two workshops above you will go home with 15 samples of different structures that will make dots in the cloth.

Double Weave: Beyond Basics

Program or Three Day Workshop

If you have woven loom-controlled double weave: for example a tube, double-width cloth, two separate layers but you are sure there must be more that can be done, you are right!   This workshop is intended to take you from those basics to see what else you can do without resorting to pick up.

Participants need to have more than four shafts on the loom each brings to the workshop.  Eight shafts will do but more possibilities open up with more than eight shafts.  Bring a loom with as many shafts as you can.

Color For Handweavers

Two - Five Day Workshop

This workshop begins at the beginning with definitions, color theory and discussion of the relationships between colors.  Participants learn about color by working directly with colored papers, exploring relationships and how color perception is affected by such things as environment, value, saturation, proportion and placement.  These explorations are related directly to woven cloth and the experience of that handweaver.

Workshops lasting three days or more include work with yarns, as well as paper. Looms are not required.

NOTE: This workshop can be--and has been--tailored to a group in which there are participants from other fiber areas :   quilters, painters on silk, knitters, etc.

It's Not In the Book!

Program or One - Two Day Workshop

You have an idea about a cloth you would like to make but you have no draft for it.  In fact, you have never seen a cloth made exactly this way.  What do you do?

There is a way to figure out you many shafts it will take, how to thread the warp, and now to weave it to make the cloth you have envisioned.  This workshop shows how it can be done with plenty of cloth examples to show how I did it.  No looms are required, but you will want to take notes.

Designing & Weaving Fabrics for Interiors

One - Two Day Workshop

Many of the fabrics that are used in interior spaces--upholstery, curtains, draperies, wall coverings, table, bed and bath linens--may be handwoven. Many choices are involved in the design process--fiber, weave structure, fabric finishing; each depends on the way the fabric will be used and how it must look. All of these choices plus advice about weaving the fabrics are covered.

This workshop is liberally illustrated with fabrics handwoven by the speaker.

Looms are not required.

The Swatch Collections: How They were Designed

Program or One Day Workshop

A lot of thought goes into designing the Swatch Collections that appear in Handwoven magazine.  This presentation is concerned with the process of coming up with and refining those designs.  The fabrics, themselves, illustrate the presentation.

A full day workshop covers many of the collections; a program covers three or four of them.  Special emphasis can be given to the winter/fall or spring/summer collections, if desired.

Looms are not required.

Stripes! Stripes! Stripes!

Three Day Workshop

Stripes are common in ethnic textiles for good reason:  they provide opportunities to create rhythmic (or arrhythmic!) patterns in cloth with very simple looms.  They also allow weavers to use color effectively.

We study proportion, placement and color interaction in stripes.  While this is an on-loom workshop, some of our work will be done with pencil and with papers.

You will go home with many ideas and a woven sampler.

Looms are required.  A 2 day, off-loom workshop is also possible.

Designing: From Your Idea to the Fabric in Your Hands

Program or One - Four Day Workshop

This is a workshop in which fibers, yarn styles, weave structures, colors and fabric finishing are explored from the point of view of what they can do for the weavers.  The process of moving from a general idea for a fabric, based on a particular application, to specific plans for creating that fabric is the meat of the workshop.

A one day workshop or a program is limited to an overview of design considerations.  In a two-day workshop, each participant talks through the process and formulates plans for the initial samples.  Three or more days allow the fabrics to be woven and finished in class.

Drafting: Planning Your Cloth on Paper

One - Three Day Workshop

This workshop begins at the beginning defining terms and notation systems and works through several kinds of drafts:  structural drafts, pattern-only drafts, profile drafts, turned drafts, color and weave effect drafting and how to read and use industrial drafts. Fewer than three days reduces the number of topics that can be covered.

A program concentrates on one o two kinds of drafts listed above.  Longer workshops include the working out of original drafts based on an idea for a cloth.

Looms are not required.

Exploring the Eight-Shaft Loom

Two - Five Day Workshop

At last!  You have an eight-shaft loom.  Now it is time to see what it can do for you.  This on-loom workshop is designed to put the loom through its paces and show you what the two of you can accomplish together.

We explore the structures you have read about and studied.  You see how one verstile threading allows you to produce a variety of coordinated fabrics on one warp.  Our study is systematic and thorough.

Each participant must have an eight shaft loom (more than eight are welcome, too!)

Looms are required.

Snazzy Yarns: How to Use Them, Not Lose Them!

One - Four Day Workshop

Do any of these situations sound familiar?

        You ransomed a glorious, fancy yarn at a conference, now what?

        You have mastered spinning and have a luxurious yarn, now what?

        You have learned to dip-dye yarns, now what?

If you recognize yourself, this is the workshop for you.  In it we explore the structures which will allow you to show off your special yarn instead of obliterating it as it is woven.

We consider structures with detailed instructions about how to tailor them to your application which will allow the fluffy yarn to be fluffy in the cloth, allow the yarn which changes color over its length to be seen, allow the thick and thin yarn to be a star.

As is always the case with Sharon's workshop although this time the subject is structure, fiber choices, yarn styles and color choice information is woven into the topic.

Workshops lasting 3 or 4 days require looms and are round robin.

Understanding the Structure

One - Five Day Workshop

If you have always wanted to understand weave structure so that you could design structures yourself instead of having to "shop" in books and magazines for a draft, this is the class for you, a workshop focusing on the structure of woven fabrics.

All you need to know in advance is how to read and use a weaving draft.  Participants receive a thorough grounding in drafting that takes them far beyond the basics.  We explore many kinds of drafts:  structural, pattern-only, profile and industrial drafts.  A three (or more) day class includes color and weave effect drafting.

Using this information we work through various weave structures to get to the heart of the issue:  how to translate your idea about structure, drape and hand into a draft.  

Although structure is the topic, there are plenty of references to the way that color may be used in a weave structure, discussion of yarn styles as they apply to the structure being considered and lots of practical tips from a full-time weaver/designer.  Our work is directly related to woven cloth by the handwoven fabrics I bring with me.

Looms are not required.

As a program, this topic is, necessarily, a survey of the material described above.

Color & Weave Effects: More for Your Money

Program or One - Three Day Workshop

A one day workshop consists of color and weave effect drafting and suggestions for uses for complex-looking cloth woven in simple interlacements.  A two day workshop includes drafting and then weaving the patterns that have been worked out on paper.  In three days all the content of two days plus how to work from a graphic image you are considering backwards to derive the draft is added.

Looms are required for two and three day workshops.

Double Weave & Color & Weave Effects: One Warp, Two Major Techniques

Three - Four Day Workshop

A three day workshop uses one warp to explore six loom-controlled double weave variations and also color and weave effects.  Color and weave effect drafting is taught and used to design the cloth that is woven.

A four day workshop includes drafting color and weave effect patterns by working from the idea or image to the draft which will produce it.

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Looms are required.

Finishing Your Fabric

Program or One - Four Day

The final step in any woven textile design is finishing the fabric.  The cloth, as it comes from the loom, is no more ready to use than muffin batter is ready to serve.  Loom-state cloth is transformed by the finishing process, sometimes just as dramatically as baking changes the batter.

A three or four day workshop allows us to weave the cloth in class and then finish it.  We need access to hot water, an automatic washer and dryer and a hand iron.  Distributions of before-and-after samples is simplified if a serger is available.

In a two day workshop, the cloth must be woven ahead of time according the instructions supplied.  (In-class weaving allows the passing along of handy hints and technical tips.)

A program on this subject consists of the presentation of variously finished fabrics with a description of the methods used in their finishing.