Workshops and Lectures

Teaching Weaving

Student in Sarah's

Over time, I find I’ve evolved a teaching philosophy for weavers. My goal is to help participants build a conceptual framework that they can then apply to their own weaving . . . to empower themselves, shaping their own weaving destinies by having thinking tools that help with answering the weaving questions they may encounter in the future. In my hands-on workshops, I emphasize an integrated approach, where we study how threading, tie-ups and treadlings directly influence how and why shafts move in order to create interlacements of warp and weft. Because the emphasis is on building your personal understanding and empowerment as a weaver, my workshops are built around exploring at your own loom and then sharing our results rather than round-robin workshops. It’s not unusual for participants to have “ah-ha” moments during my weaving workshops!

I have been weaving since I was a child of eight, when I asked my parents for a loom. Today, I teach weaving in the School of Art at Syracuse University and dye and weave on a computerized dobby loom. I write about weaving, conduct school residencies, and teach at conferences and to guilds.

Contact me for more information or to schedule a workshop or lecture.

Visit the school residencies page.

Workshops for Adults


Workshop: $350/day

Lecture: $150 with workshop. $225 stand-alone.

Additional: Travel expenses. If driving, mileage reimbursement at the current standard IRS rate. Accommodations as needed can be in a private home. All meals while in residence.

Making Good Cloth

2-3 Day Workshop

This workshop provides a concentrated look at how to create the appropriate cloth for its function by understanding and using good principles of sett, density and beat. We will explore the relationship of sett to weave structure, fiber content, and the function of the cloth. By the end of the workshop, each participant will have a great set of samples to for future use, as well as a deeper understanding of the characteristics of well-conceived cloth. Each participant will work at their own loom.

Freedom of Expression: Painting Warps on Loom

Student in Sarah's

2–5 day workshop

In this dyeing and weaving workshop, we will have lots of spontaneous fun painting warps with fiber reactive dyes, after the loom is warped. This wonderful technique allows weavers to work with color and pattern in a loose, free, expressive way, creating large-scale abstract forms. We will paint enough warp to explore the possibilities of the technique, and for l or 2 scarves. We will learn how to mix our own colors working from six primary hues. The workshop is primarily hands-on, but includes lectures and handouts on dye technique and safety, basic color theory, and special considerations when weaving painted warps. Students bring pre-warped table or floor looms to the workshop. Level: participants should be confident with warping the loom and have a basic understanding of 4-shaft weaving.

The workshop space needs running water nearby and table space for each student.

Freedom of Expression II: More On-Loom Painted Warps

2–5 day workshop

This workshop is primarily designed as a second workshop for groups who took the first one. We review the basics of working with fiber reactive dyes. We will explore more dye application techniques, which can include painting borders, separating the warp into layers for painting, stenciling, masking, and stamping. We'll work with a 6 primary color mixing system to obtain a broader range of colors. We will also think about integrating weave structure and the painted warp. After some experimentation, participants will paint enough warp to weave a scarf integrating their favorite techniques. This is open to students who took the first one as well as those who didn’t.

The workshop space needs running water nearby and table space for each student.

Space-Dyed Skeins

2 Hours to 1 Day (Can be combined with Painting Warps Off-Loom)

In this workshop, we’ll learn the basics of working with fiber reactive dyes. They are safe, simple to use, and extremely color-fast. We’ll have lots of fun mixing colors and then painting your own skeins of natural-fiber yarns in glorious colors. You’ll leave the workshop with lots of beautiful yarns ready to use in your knitting, weaving, and other fiber projects.

The workshop space needs running water nearby and table space for each student.

Painting Warps Off-Loom

2 Hours to 1 Day (Can be combined with Space-Dyeing Skeins)

In this workshop, we’ll learn the basics of working with fiber reactive dyes. They are safe, simple to use, and extremely color-fast. We’ll have lots of fun mixing colors and then painting enough warp to use to weave 2 scarves on your loom at home after the workshop. Space requirements same as above.

Note: this is off-loom warp painting.

Double Your Pleasure: Welcome to 4-Shaft Doubleweave

2–3 day workshop

In this workshop, we will learn about four-shaft double weave by weaving cute doubleweave projects. Each item is actually a sample of a different doubleweave technique. We will weave double-width cloth, connect layers on the top, bottom and sides, weave tubes and flaps, stuffed items, and more. By the end of the workshop, you are guaranteed to fully understand the simple logic of 4-shaft doubleweave, and you will have had lots of fun along the way. Level: participants must be able to warp a loom and understand the basics of 4-shaft weaving and drafting.

Companion dog of
            workshop student

The More the Merrier: Combining Weave Structures

1–3 day workshop

We will discover ways to use all those harnesses on your loom, by exploring how to combine more than one weave structure in the same piece. Following some simple principles, this approach yields handwoven cloth with rich visual and textural variety. We will start by adding tabby selvedges, and then create drafts with intriguing structural squares and rectangles surrounded by twills and plain weave. Each woven sample can be a completed coaster or mug rug. We will make the most of simple weave structures, including tabby, all kinds of twills, laces, basket weave and more. Workshop level: Participants must be able to warp a loom preworkshop and read drafts. In the workshop, each participant will work at their own looms.

Necessary equipment: Blackboard or Whiteboard; chalk or markers, looms of at least 8 shafts.

Adventurous Weaving

3–5 day workshop

This is an introduction to basic floor loom weaving, but with a sense of adventure and fun. We will dress the loom and then weave a series of explorations of color, texture and pattern, each one like a page in a book, to make the warp into a personal weaving journal. Participants will leave the workshop with an understanding of how to make the interaction of warp and weft work for you. No previous weaving knowledge necessary. Also appropriate for all beginning and intermediate weavers who would like a refresher on basic skills and new ideas.

Celebrate Eight: Welcome to 8-Shaft Weaving

2–5 day workshop

This on-loom workshop provides an overview of eight-shaft weaving, so participants can confidently take advantage of the full potential of their looms, expand their weaving vocabulary, and readily design projects for multiple shafts. Eight-shaft weaving opens up all sorts of possibilities including intriguing, but easy-to-weave twills; crepe; waffle-weave; double-weave, satin; as well as greatly expanded block weave design possibilities for twill, lace, Summer and Winter, and more. Each student spends the entire workshop at their own loom, weaving a series of explorations. This workshop is an outgrowth of the research I’ve done on 8-shaft weaving for my column in Handwoven, “Now We Are Eight.”

Level: Participants should be able to warp their loom, have access to an 8-shaft loom to bring to the workshop; and understand the basics of drafting.

Understanding Summer and Winter

Lecture or 1–5 day workshop

This program is designed for weavers with little or no previous experience designing and weaving this versatile weave structure. It focuses on understanding the simplicity and logic of its structure, so participants can easily go on to design their own Summer and Winter projects rather than rely on recipes.

This program is designed for beginners who know the basics of drafting and intermediate weavers. In the workshop format the participants bring pre-warped table or floor looms. They will explore the various treadling systems, and explore color use.

The Joy of Color

1 ½ hour to 5 day workshop

This hands-on workshop encourages weavers to build their confidence in color for weaving. The lecture portions cover basic color theory, but the main focus is on a set of weaving exercises to open new windows on color. This can be a two-day workshop in which the student's warp will be striped. As we weave different weave structures and different colors, we will be able to study a wealth of color interactions. Each day we will examine the day's efforts to make new color discoveries. In the 1-day workshop, we make yarn wrappings to explore color relationships. The workshop's purpose is to make color fun rather than scary. This workshop is for all weavers from beginners who can warp a loom and anyone who wants to work more with color.

Lectures for Adults

Exploring Color and Weaving Through Painted Warps


In this lecture, illustrated with many images taken in my studio, I will illustrate the nuts and bolts of painting warps on-loom and subsequently weaving the cloth. It documents the life cycle of one warp, following it from warp painting, showing the finished scarves on display at a craft show, and every step in between. My AVL Compudobby loom and computer-derived drawdowns will be explained; and my interest in the relationship between the painted warp and weave structure explored. The color versatility of the technique is highlighted.

The Fabric of Life


In this illustrated lecture, cloths lead us on a journey through space and time. We examine how cloth and the process of cloth-making has permeated a multitude of aspects of human culture. Examples are drawn from archeology, art history, contemporary living weaving cultures, and more. A very inspirational talk.

Handmade Cloth: Exploring Ritual


My recent work includes Jewish prayer shawls (talisim). This has led me on an exploration of handmade cloth and its role as a ritual object in traditions across time and space. It also invites the celebration of tradition, which has taken me on a literal journey to museums in New York and Israel researching a little known and now virtually lost fiber technique called Shapanyer Arbet.

Berta Frey: Tradition/Innovation


In this lecture, we will celebrate the career of American Handweaver, Berta Frey. The images will be actual examples of her work from the collection of the Museum of American Handweaving, in Clayton, New York. Frey is noted for her always helpful book, Designing and Drafting for Handweavers. Examining her actual weavings reveals a masterful, inventive weaver, well versed in tradition, yet willing and able to take it to new places.

Note: there is an additional fee of $75 for this lecture

Windows Into Weaving: My Life As a Weaver


In this presentation I chart my personal weaving history and creative influences, dating back to my childhood. My enduring passion has been the interaction of color and structure. I have been weaving most of my life, and as a professional, my interests have evolved from my original focus on contemporary Summer and Winter to painted warps combining weave structures on a 16-harness AVL loom. Along the way, I’ve been influenced by painting, quilting, and ethnic textiles, both contemporary and historical. The content can be tailored to fit the needs of the group.

Evolution and Variations


In this lecture, I use images of my weaving, as well as sources of inspiration, to show how ideas can evolve. My design sources are often ethnic textiles and other man-made objects, and I sometimes keep working with the same idea but changing it many times over.