Art Studio-ShaleneLorraine

I've been wanting an art studio for the longest time. Weaving on my bed in my room just wasn't cutting it and I needed space to branch out and experiment in new mediums. I had looked on Craigslist for studio spaces for rent and didn't find anything for months, so I gave up and figured I'd find the right place when it came along. One day I decided I'd just look on Craigslist again in the off-chance something was available. That was the day I found my new studio space. 

  with my niece and nephew

with my niece and nephew

The next day was an Art Walk, which happens the first Friday of each month; an event that opens the galleries and shops in town exhibiting the work of artists, musicians, and the like. It's great exposure to the public and a nice way to bring the community together. Having just a few hours that afternoon after my full time job had finished, I thought I wouldn't be ready to show my work, but figured I'd see how fast I could move in to my studio and get things set up. Four hours and one sweaty Shalene later, my studio was set up and ready to roll for the Art Walk. I posted a quick "Come see my studio!" Facebook post and waited for visitors to come.

It was awesome. I shared wine with one of my studio mates, got to meet some new people, mingled, talked art, and was surprised by family and friends who came to see me. The feeling of having my own spot and knowing that I had a place to work on my art from now on gave me such a high. The support from my loved ones was the cherry on top. I was anxious to get working!

What once was an apartment from the 1800's, had since been turned into a studio space for three artists, and I was the third to move in. My studio-mates are a fiber artist and a painter, which is amazing to me because it combines two of the mediums that I am trying to combine in my work.

It's been such an incredible experience growing into my space and getting to know the other artists who share the studio with me. We have a lot of ideas for our studio between the three of us, and I've been able to do the experimenting I've been wanting to do with my art for so long. I know I have a long way to go, but I'm enjoying the process of finding my "style".  

There's a lot in the works for the studio. We're coming up with ideas for logos, participating in shows and have ideas for workshops in the future. I'm so excited to be a part of this community and couldn't be happier with how much I've accomplished in the short 1.5 months I've been there. Onward and upward!

  acrylic & pastel on canvas

acrylic & pastel on canvas

  screen print self portraits

screen print self portraits

  acrylic on canvas

acrylic on canvas

  acrylic on canvas & fiber

acrylic on canvas & fiber

  acrylic on canvas & fiber. those metal things are never-been-used clips for chickens to prevent cannibalism. (my mom gave them to me so I put them to use)

acrylic on canvas & fiber. those metal things are never-been-used clips for chickens to prevent cannibalism. (my mom gave them to me so I put them to use)

Beginner Weaving: 8 Tips to Get You Started

Before I began my weaving journey I felt pretty clueless. I browsed through Pinterest swooning over beautiful tapestries created by talented artists wondering if I could ever achieve something so complex. When I decided I wanted to try my hand at weaving, I had no idea where to start. My Google searches only turned up hair weaving tutorials and the little information I did find on actual tapestry weaving was very brief .

It wasn't until I dug more into the internet and found out more information from my Instagram friends and random blogs that I began to learn the tricks of the trade. And of course, my Maryanne Moodie weaving classes left me with a head full of knowledge that I use every time I weave now. Thanks, Maryanne! 

However, I wish that before I even warped my first loom I had a "beginner's tips" guide or blog post that I could have read through quickly to know how to get started. So this is my rendition of that guide. I don't claim to be an expert, but this is something that I would have wanted to know, personally, when I first started out. I am not a seasoned weaver by any means, and have a huge amount I still need to learn, but figured this would be nice for any beginners out there who might be intimidated by the thought of weaving. So here it goes!


1) Start Small

The first loom I ever purchased was a used Lap Loom off of Craigslist. It still had some yarn left in it from the initial kit, all of the tools and the instructions were even with it! Try not to go for the big looms when first starting out. I suggest sticking with small lap looms to start or even make your own! I have a blog post on how to make your own tapestry loom, and it's meant for a larger scale, but you can make smaller ones just as easily. There are so many talented people out there who make their own looms, so try to buy from them and support small businesses! Etsy is a given...and here are just a couple of options that are affordable:

  • Board & Bread - I recently purchased this loom from Emily and couldn't be happier with it. It's such a great size, especially if you travel and want to bring your weaving with you! 
  • Loom and Spindle - based out of Australia, there are a variety of looms available in her shop and they come with awesome bright pink tools to boot! 
  • Harrisville Designs Lap Loom - I have a used version of this, but it got me started and is a really great loom to work on! 
  • Make your own! You can easily make a small loom using canvas stretcher bars and finishing nails as I mentioned above.

2) Get Some Tools 

Below is a list of some standard tools to get you started on your weaving. If you bought a loom kit that came with tools, that's great! If not, here are some basic ones to get you going. Several of these were part of a kit I got at Maryanne Moodie's weaving workshops, but you can get any of these in a craft store and/or online! And you won't necessarily need all of these, depending on your personal preference/style.

  1. Weaving Sword- this is simply a piece of wood, plastic, etc. that is similar in shape to a standard ruler that you weave through your warp in order to allow your yarn to pass through freely.
  2. Sewing Needle- you can use a simple sewing needle with a large eye to weave your yarn through your warp.
  3. Small Crochet Hook - this has become an integral tool during my weaving process and I'm absolutely in love with it. 
  4. Scissors - self explanatory 
  5. Weaving Comb/Fork - pictured below are, yes, an actual fork for eating, and a comb that is meant specifically for weaving. Before I decided to buy an actual comb I used a kitchen fork and it works perfectly! 
  6. Shuttle - wrap your yarn around this in order to speed up your weaving process!
  7. Warp String - a thin string used to "warp" your loom. I'll explain what a warp is below! 

3) Terminology 

To be honest, I'm still learning the correct terminology used in weaving, but below are some basics that are useful to know.

  • Warp - this is created by the string you use to make the vertical lines in your piece. Basically, the "bones" of your soon-to-be weaving.
  • Weft - this is what is created when you weave horizontally through the warp.
  Credit:  Wikipedia

Credit: Wikipedia

  • Tension - this refers to the tightness of your warp on the loom.
  • I am going to create another blog post with a "how-to" cheat sheet for common weaving techniques, stay tuned!

4) Stay Inspired

We all know weaving is nothing new to the world. It's been around for centuries and lately has been trending as the new cool thing to do. And can you blame it? It's an intricate, meditative art form that is translated all over the world with gorgeous rugs, tapestries, clothes, you name it. So what better way to make yourself a knowledgeable weaver than to take that inspiration and run with it? Nowadays there are so many extremely talented textile artists who are really reinventing the way weaving is done. Below are some of my favorites. I could make an extremely long list, but will try to keep it short. :)

  • Maryanne Moodie - One of the main reasons I started weaving was because I saw a piece Maryanne had made on Pinterest and was immediately hooked. I had the pleasure of meeting this beautiful woman and learned a great deal from her. If you ever have the chance, take her weaving classes. 
  • Warped Threads - Two absolutely lovely women residing in Australia creating gorgeous weavings full of texture and delight. Your eyes will thank you once you see their work.
  • All Roads - Unique pieces created by Janelle Pietrzak that really push the envelope and take risks. Her eclectic style and non-traditional materials work to create eye-catching wall hangings.
  • Meghan Shimek - Holy amazing texture. Her pieces are like fluffy clouds that you want to sleep on. You need to check out her work. She's even created a Beginner Frame Loom that has a rotating heddle! (You'll see what I mean when you click that link)
  • Himo Art - May Sterchi is the creator of these mind-blowing macrame pieces. I have no idea how she does it, but it's incredible.
  • Rachel Hine - this woman creates tapestries that I couldn't even draw. Her attention to detail and illustrative style are truly impressive.
  • Mimi Jung - her minimalist pieces pack a punch. And she works in such a large scale for some of her work that I can't even fathom. Can you say #inspiration?
  • Ranran Design - another macrame artist who was a huge inspiration when I first started out. Bethlehem's beautiful bright colors and mass amounts of texture will make you swoon.

Like I said, there are so many artists out there who make fantastic work, and the ones I have listed above are just a few that I follow and take inspiration from. But do yourself a favor and explore the social media world, browse Pinterest, and don't limit yourself to only textile artists. I find images every day that I am inspired by that have nothing to do with weaving, but they make me think of my next piece or the colors I want to use, or the movement I want to create. Inspiration can be found everywhere, you just have to keep your eyes open and be ready to take it all in.

5) Sketch

I like to keep a sketchbook on me as often as I can because I have ideas come to me at the most random times. The other day I was at work and had an idea in my head that I had to get down on paper before I forgot. Try to keep a notebook or some paper handy for when your mind is going a mile-a-minute and your ideas need a physical place to live.

  a recent idea I had that I plan on bringing to life...

a recent idea I had that I plan on bringing to life...

6) Ask Questions

Don't be afraid to reach out to the artists who have inspired you. Send an email or a comment on Instagram if you have questions. The weaving community is a beautiful one, and we all like to help each other whenever possible, so just go for it. 

7) Connect 

Instagram has been my main source of inspiration and connection to the weaving world. I have virtually "met" so many talented artists through this social media connection and am beyond grateful for it. It's a huge platform for finding out when someone will be teaching an upcoming workshop, has a sale on their looms, new yarn kits available, literally, everything! Lately I've been seeing people post weaving meet-ups just to grab coffee at a local shop, weave, and hang out for a couple hours. How cool is that? Stay connected and you will be surprised at the amount of people who share the same passion as you, and you'll even make some friends. It's truly a beautiful thing.

8) Take Classes!

As you saw me gush earlier about Maryanne Moodie's weaving classes, you'll see that many textile artists have beginner weaving workshops. And from these workshops/classes you can usually get a loom/starter kit for weaving so you're ready to go! To my point above about "connecting", people post upcoming workshops and classes that could potentially be held in a city near you, so why not take advantage of that, meet some cool people, and learn? You'll not only take away knowledge that will make you a better artist, but you will network and connect with people that can lead to great opportunities! 


Like I said before, I'm not an expert, and I am still learning each day as I go. But when I first began weaving I wanted some tips to get me started.  If you are just trying weaving for the first time or know someone who is, I truly hope this is helpful. And please feel free to reach out if you have any questions. I will be more than happy to help. :) 

7 Yoga Poses for Weavers...

...and jewelers, knitters, painters, 9-to-5-ers, everyone! The beauty of yoga is that it's for anyone and everyone. In this case I've chosen to focus on weavers, being one myself, because of the long hours spent hunched over our beloved looms. Let's be honest, our upper backs take a beating from this craft. Passion comes with pain sometimes, and I'm here to help counter that with some body-loving yoga poses! 

I have carefully selected 7 poses that stretch parts of your body that need it most after a long day or night of weaving. I personally suffer from upper back pain and discomfort from sitting at a desk all day and weaving all night, so most of these poses are to stretch and strengthen our backs.

Try this sequence of poses before or after diving in to your current weaving project, your body will thank you! :)


1. Cat/Cow

    This is technically two poses, but they are done together so let's count them as one. Cat/Cow is a wonderful upper back stretch and doing "rounds" of this will really warm up your body.  -Start in tabletop position, have your knees hip-width apart, arms shoulder-width apart, wrists in line with your shoulders.  -On an inhale, arch your back, lift your tailbone and gaze up, keeping your hands pressing firmly into the ground. Exhale and continue pressing your hands into the ground, round your back, keep your tummy tucked in and feel that beautiful stretch in between the shoulder blades. Tailbone should be reaching down.  -Do several rounds of this moving with your breath. Inhale to cow, exhale to cat.  

 

This is technically two poses, but they are done together so let's count them as one. Cat/Cow is a wonderful upper back stretch and doing "rounds" of this will really warm up your body.

-Start in tabletop position, have your knees hip-width apart, arms shoulder-width apart, wrists in line with your shoulders.

-On an inhale, arch your back, lift your tailbone and gaze up, keeping your hands pressing firmly into the ground. Exhale and continue pressing your hands into the ground, round your back, keep your tummy tucked in and feel that beautiful stretch in between the shoulder blades. Tailbone should be reaching down.

-Do several rounds of this moving with your breath. Inhale to cow, exhale to cat.  

2. Rabbit Pose

    See a theme here? Animals are a wonderful source of inspiration, and have the best stretches! ;)   -After Cat/Cow, stay on your hands & knees and sink your hips back to meet your heels (tops of the feet stay on the ground). Make sure your knees are touching and place your forehead about a hand's-width in front of you on the ground.   -Reach back to grab around the outsides of both your ankles and hold.  -On an inhale, lift your hips into the air, rolling onto the top of your head, and kick your heels into your hands. This will create a delicious upper back stretch in between your shoulder blades.  -Be sure not to put too much pressure on your head as most of the strength here is in your legs, and the grasp of your hands on your heels.  -Stay here for 5 rounds of breath (one round = an inhale and an exhale).

 

See a theme here? Animals are a wonderful source of inspiration, and have the best stretches! ;) 

-After Cat/Cow, stay on your hands & knees and sink your hips back to meet your heels (tops of the feet stay on the ground). Make sure your knees are touching and place your forehead about a hand's-width in front of you on the ground. 

-Reach back to grab around the outsides of both your ankles and hold.

-On an inhale, lift your hips into the air, rolling onto the top of your head, and kick your heels into your hands. This will create a delicious upper back stretch in between your shoulder blades.

-Be sure not to put too much pressure on your head as most of the strength here is in your legs, and the grasp of your hands on your heels.

-Stay here for 5 rounds of breath (one round = an inhale and an exhale).

3. Big Toe Pose

    Or in Sanskrit, Padangusthasana! This is an overall great pose that stretches the hamstrings allowing your head and neck to relax and fall down.  -From a standing position, bring your feet hip-width apart and hands on your hips.  - Take an inhale, then exhale and reach for your big toes (if you're really tight in the hamstrings, put a bend in your knees). Wrap your first two fingers around the bottom of your toes and your thumbs on the tops.   -Take another inhale and straighten out your back extending your chest forward while still grabbing hold of your toes.  -Then exhale and fold over your legs, letting your elbows bend out to the sides. Head and neck are  loose  hanging down, gaze is through and behind your legs.  -Make sure your shoulders aren't up around your ears, bring them up and back to avoid crowding around your neck.  -Stay here for 5 breaths and enjoy! 

 

Or in Sanskrit, Padangusthasana! This is an overall great pose that stretches the hamstrings allowing your head and neck to relax and fall down.

-From a standing position, bring your feet hip-width apart and hands on your hips.

- Take an inhale, then exhale and reach for your big toes (if you're really tight in the hamstrings, put a bend in your knees). Wrap your first two fingers around the bottom of your toes and your thumbs on the tops. 

-Take another inhale and straighten out your back extending your chest forward while still grabbing hold of your toes.

-Then exhale and fold over your legs, letting your elbows bend out to the sides. Head and neck are loose hanging down, gaze is through and behind your legs.

-Make sure your shoulders aren't up around your ears, bring them up and back to avoid crowding around your neck.

-Stay here for 5 breaths and enjoy! 

4. Triangle Pose

    This pose can be challenging, but give it a try because it really opens up the chest and creates space in the front of your body while strengthening your back.  -From a standing position at the front of your mat, raise your hands parallel to the ground, take an inhale and step your right foot towards the back of your mat. Left toes are pointing towards the side of your mat. Make sure your right heel is in line with your left heel here.  -Keeping both legs straight, on an exhale lean out over your right leg and reach for your big toe (or shin or ankle if you can't reach your toe).  -In this case, I grabbed my big toe. Once you grab hold of whatever you chose, inhale and reach your left hand up, arch your back slightly so that your chest is opening to the side and torso is parallel to the ground. Both legs are strong here (make sure your knees are not locked!) and your core is engaged to keep you stable.  -If it feels comfortable, gaze up at your left finger tips without straining your neck, and stay here for 5 breaths then switch to the other side.

 

This pose can be challenging, but give it a try because it really opens up the chest and creates space in the front of your body while strengthening your back.

-From a standing position at the front of your mat, raise your hands parallel to the ground, take an inhale and step your right foot towards the back of your mat. Left toes are pointing towards the side of your mat. Make sure your right heel is in line with your left heel here.

-Keeping both legs straight, on an exhale lean out over your right leg and reach for your big toe (or shin or ankle if you can't reach your toe).

-In this case, I grabbed my big toe. Once you grab hold of whatever you chose, inhale and reach your left hand up, arch your back slightly so that your chest is opening to the side and torso is parallel to the ground. Both legs are strong here (make sure your knees are not locked!) and your core is engaged to keep you stable.

-If it feels comfortable, gaze up at your left finger tips without straining your neck, and stay here for 5 breaths then switch to the other side.

5. Extended Side Angle

    Extended Side Angle is a nice transition after Triangle Pose because the entrance into it is similar.   -Standing at the front of your mat, inhale and take a bigger step (about one of your leg's distance) towards the back of your mat with your right foot, arms raised parallel to the ground.  -Exhale bend your right knee so that it is directly over your right ankle and your leg is at a 90º angle. Plant your right hand on the outside of your right foot and inhale your left arm up and over reaching overhead. Gaze is at your left elbow. You should feel a nice stretch all along your left ribs and in the side of your body here.   -Make sure you are pressing your right knee into your right arm so that your hips don't fall inward, and keep that left leg strong!  -Stay here for 5 breaths then switch to the other side.

 

Extended Side Angle is a nice transition after Triangle Pose because the entrance into it is similar. 

-Standing at the front of your mat, inhale and take a bigger step (about one of your leg's distance) towards the back of your mat with your right foot, arms raised parallel to the ground.

-Exhale bend your right knee so that it is directly over your right ankle and your leg is at a 90º angle. Plant your right hand on the outside of your right foot and inhale your left arm up and over reaching overhead. Gaze is at your left elbow. You should feel a nice stretch all along your left ribs and in the side of your body here. 

-Make sure you are pressing your right knee into your right arm so that your hips don't fall inward, and keep that left leg strong!

-Stay here for 5 breaths then switch to the other side.

6. Seated Twist

    Twists are amazing for the body and very detoxing, so this perfect after hours of having your body in one position.   -Sit on your mat with both legs extended in front of you, feet flexed.  -Bend your right knee and grab hold of it with your right hand.  -Inhale and lift your left arm into the air, then exhale and twist to the right bringing your right hand to the ground behind your hips, and your left elbow to the outside of your right knee. If bringing your elbow around doesn't seem feasible, just hold your your right knee with your left hand.  - Make sure you have a straight spine here and gaze over your right shoulder.   -Stay here for 5 breaths, and on each exhale, inch your left elbow further and further across your right knee. After 5, switch and do the other side.  -And keep that left foot flexed, don't forget about it! :) 

 

Twists are amazing for the body and very detoxing, so this perfect after hours of having your body in one position. 

-Sit on your mat with both legs extended in front of you, feet flexed.

-Bend your right knee and grab hold of it with your right hand.

-Inhale and lift your left arm into the air, then exhale and twist to the right bringing your right hand to the ground behind your hips, and your left elbow to the outside of your right knee. If bringing your elbow around doesn't seem feasible, just hold your your right knee with your left hand.

- Make sure you have a straight spine here and gaze over your right shoulder. 

-Stay here for 5 breaths, and on each exhale, inch your left elbow further and further across your right knee. After 5, switch and do the other side.

-And keep that left foot flexed, don't forget about it! :) 

7. Backbend (two options)

    I'm giving you two options here because everyone's body is different and may not feel good in one or the other. Yoga should make you feel good, so don't push yourself if you feel any pain at all. On the other hand, if you're feeling flexy and strong, go ahead and try both!   First up is  Bow Pose.   -Lay down on your mat, feet and legs together and arms out in front of you.  -Reach your arms back, bend your knees and grab your ankles, gaze is slightly in front of your mat on the ground.  -On an inhale, kick your feet into your hands lifting your chest and knees off the ground, and your gaze in between your eyebrows.   -Keep breathing here, don't hold your breath, and stay here for 5.

 

I'm giving you two options here because everyone's body is different and may not feel good in one or the other. Yoga should make you feel good, so don't push yourself if you feel any pain at all. On the other hand, if you're feeling flexy and strong, go ahead and try both! 

First up is Bow Pose.

-Lay down on your mat, feet and legs together and arms out in front of you.

-Reach your arms back, bend your knees and grab your ankles, gaze is slightly in front of your mat on the ground.

-On an inhale, kick your feet into your hands lifting your chest and knees off the ground, and your gaze in between your eyebrows. 

-Keep breathing here, don't hold your breath, and stay here for 5.

    If Bow Pose doesn't sound like your cup of tea, you can try....   Camel Pose!   -Kneel at the top of your mat, legs hip-width apart, tops of the feet on the mat.  -Rest your hands on your hips, roll your shoulders back, and begin to move your hands onto your lower back.  -Inhale lift your chest and gaze up, and on an exhale slowly begin to walk your hands down your back past your booty, thighs, calves, finally to meet your heels.  -Keep your pelvis reaching forward, arms straight, and let your head fall back (if it's comfortable).   -Stay here for 5 breaths, then move into child's pose right after to stretch out the lower back.

 

If Bow Pose doesn't sound like your cup of tea, you can try....

Camel Pose!

-Kneel at the top of your mat, legs hip-width apart, tops of the feet on the mat.

-Rest your hands on your hips, roll your shoulders back, and begin to move your hands onto your lower back.

-Inhale lift your chest and gaze up, and on an exhale slowly begin to walk your hands down your back past your booty, thighs, calves, finally to meet your heels.

-Keep your pelvis reaching forward, arms straight, and let your head fall back (if it's comfortable). 

-Stay here for 5 breaths, then move into child's pose right after to stretch out the lower back.


And there you have it! If you do these poses in the order I have presented your body will love you for it. Be sure not to push yourself to a point of pain in any of these poses. Like I said, yoga is meant to make your body feel good, so take it nice and slow, and make sure you are breathing through each movement. 

There are always modifications for yoga poses, and what better way to show you than a video? I will be creating a short "Weaver's Yoga Practice" no more than 30 minutes long, with each of these poses included! 

I hope this helps all of you, and any friends or family members that you'd like to share this with who would benefit from it! 

Namasté, my artisan friends! :)

Maryanne Moodie Weaving Classes

So for my birthday a couple of weeks ago, I was very pleasantly surprised to receive not one, but TWO weaving classes with Maryanne Moodie as gifts from my family and boyfriend. Needless to say, I was beyond thrilled, and couldn't wait to finally meet the woman who was one of the main reasons I started weaving. Her work is absolutely incredible, and her personality is even better.

The classes were held in the Makeshift Society in Brooklyn. A beautiful space filled with natural light, exposed brick walls and an overall airy feeling that made you excited to be there. As soon as I walked in, Maryanne greeted me with a big smile, gave me a hug, and I immediately felt welcomed in that space. She has such a warm and inviting personality, one that I've always appreciated in people, that made the entire day fun and exciting. She was excited to be there, we were excited to be there, it was perfect. 

 The Makeshift Society

The Makeshift Society

First up was the Weaving 101 class for Beginners. The tables were adorned with beautiful arrangements by Karma Flowers, our brand new handmade looms, yarn, scissors, weaving needle, warp, and a little instructional booklet created by Maryanne. We were so spoiled. It was amazing. 

Maryanne introduced herself and her lovely assistants, gave us a bit on her background, and then we got started. She would take us to a smaller space a few steps away from our tables and taught us different techniques, then we'd go back to practice them. It was a great set up. Did I mention we were given mimosas? And other sweet treats, as well. I completely broke my "no sugar" rule, but it was well worth it.

Once the morning class ended, those of us that stayed for the afternoon class had a two hour break, then we were back at it! It was extremely inspiring to see Maryanne's work in person. Her technique is so impressive and her color choices are reflective of her personality: bright, beautiful, and fun. 

 Maryanne and I. Aren't her weavings out of this world?! 

Maryanne and I. Aren't her weavings out of this world?! 

As I walked in for the afternoon class, I saw more goodies on the tables and I couldn't wait to get started. We sat down, started to warp our looms, and got going! Since this was a Weaving 102 class (the first was a Weaving 101 for beginners) we were told we'd finish a small piece to take home! When we opened our goodie bags, gasps and "oohs" and "aahs" filled the room. We pulled out vintage yarns, gorgeous roving, golden leather, horse hair, and so much more. Again, so spoiled. She also gave us tools made by the same man who made our looms from the beginners class. Shuttles, weaving swords, weaving comb, vintage crochet hooks, to name a few. Amazing! Maryanne taught us even more techniques, and I was excited to take these home and practice. 

Overall, it was the perfect day. I felt like I was in a dream. The entire experience was something I feel so lucky to have been a part of. And I owe a huge THANK YOU to my boyfriend for getting together with my family to surprise me with the best birthday gifts ever. And another massive THANK YOU to Maryanne for being such a delight and someone I hope to spend time with in the future again. I came out of those classes with a head full of new techniques, knowledge, and inspiration. I learned so many things that will save time and make my weaving  process so much smoother. It was great to be surrounded by women who were just as excited to be there and learn from a successful and inspiring woman. This made my love for weaving grow that much more, and I can't wait to see what's next on my journey!

 My weaving loot from the day! 

My weaving loot from the day! 

I highly recommend taking Maryanne's classes. And follow her on Instagram! That's how I found her, and it's been a huge inspiration for me. 

Bethlehem ArtWalk

So the ArtWalk came and went! I spent months preparing for this, working on stocking up my inventory of weavings and creating the overall look I wanted for my "booth". I worked up until the 11th hour to get everything finished. From my logo sign on my booth, to creating what felt like a million little "S" hooks to hang the weavings, to making my business cards, it all came together in the end and I'm proud of how it turned out. Although I didn't sell as much as I'd hoped, it was a fantastic experience and I did what I went there to do: get my name out there and display the pieces that I worked so hard creating.  It was the perfect day to have all of us local artists come together in Downtown Bethlehem and showcase our work. The sun was shining, the street was buzzing with people heading to dinner and shopping, all in all, just perfect.

My mother has been making dreamcatchers for as long as I can remember, and she made some for me to sell at the ArtWalk along with my weavings. They fit right in and looked absolutely beautiful with my pieces, and definitely made a lot of people stop to admire them. I'm going to work with her getting set up on Etsy soon! ;)

The first couple of hours (the event was four hours long) was a bit slow. People were preoccupied with getting to dinner and didn't seem to have much time to stop and look at everyone's work. All of us artists were spread out along Main St. in Bethlehem and a couple of nearby cross-streets, and I was in a great location next to one of my favorite restaurants. It was a bit windy and my weavings were taking a beating from time to time, but they held up well and worked with the garment rack set-up I had.

Towards the end, around 8pm, more people were stopping and showing interest. I think if I was there another hour or so, my sales might have been up. But like I said, I'm happy regardless of how many got sold. A few of my business cards got taken, which I was thrilled about. Who knows, maybe I'll get an e-mail or two within the next week for some custom orders! :) 

What made this experience so fulfilling wasn't the fact that I sold some products and had my art on display for everyone to see. It was the crazy amount of support I received from my family, friends, boyfriend, and even Instagram followers whom I have never met. It was unbelievable. After reading all of the supportive comments, the "how did it go?" texts, the phone calls, the sharing of my photos, my heart was (and still is) so full. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world to have this support system and people rooting for me from all over the world. It's such an amazing feeling. I want to say a huge THANK YOU to my family, my friends, and everyone who has given me a pat on the back for this. I may end up doing another one in August if I have time. But this is just the beginning and I can't wait to see what the future holds. :) 

And I've gotta say, I could not have done any of this without the help of this guy right here. And of course, his trusty Platinum wagon to carry all of my things. ;)

Here's a little sneak peak of what I'm working on now...soon I'll have my weavings for sale on Etsy! 

Make Your Own Tapestry Loom... for Under $20!

When I first started weaving I was browsing the internet for an affordable loom to buy. After about a day of looking I realized I wasn't going to find one under $75, which is out of my price range, unfortunately. I ended up finding some DIY looms, but most of them still cost close to $50 to make, so I decided to figure it out myself. I remembered an article I read about New Friends, and saw in some of their pictures that they used canvas stretcher bars for their looms. I figured if it works for them, it will work for me! And I already had spare stretcher bars, so I was halfway there.

If you are new to weaving or are a seasoned weaver and just want to have your own custom loom that's quick and easy to make, this project is for you. And the supplies will cost under $20 in the end! That is, assuming you have the necessary tools to begin with. :)

What you'll need:

  • Four canvas stretcher bars- you can get these at any art store, I bought mine at Blick Art Supplies and it came to about $12 for four bars. The price will vary on which bars you choose. I went with bars to make a 22"x34" loom.
  • Finishing Nails- I could only find ones that were 1.5" in length because there weren't any shorter ones, but I wouldn't go any shorter than 1". You can find these at any hardware store for under $2.
  • Drill-a small hand drill with a 5/64in drill bit will work just fine
  • Tape Measure
  • Hammer
  • Marker/Pen
  • Four wood screws -or- a staple gun (I recommend staple gun)
  • A companion or two

Now you're ready to make your loom!

Step 1: Frame It Out

The nice thing about using canvas stretcher bars is that they're made to fit right into one another, so go ahead and put those bad boys together.

Step 2: Secure the Corners

This is where a staple gun comes in handy. I made this frame a long time ago before knowing I was going to use it for a loom (it was fate, I know) so I used wood screws to hold the corners in place. They worked just fine, but I used a staple gun on a larger loom I made a few months ago and it's much easier and more efficient. If you're using a staple gun, just shoot a couple of them over the gap to connect the two pieces.

Step 3: Measure

I measured 2" in from the sides of each of the shorter bars and 1" in from the top just to avoid any collision with the gap where the bars meet. Once you have those set and marked up, just measure and mark every 1/2" along the bar until you have enough to span the width of the loom. 

Step 4: Make Pilot Holes

This step is very important. I know from experience that if you skip this step, the wood will split and the nails won't be secure. Take your drill with the 5/64in drill bit and make small pilot holes at each of the spots you have marked. This is a tedious step but well worth it! Be sure not to drill too far in or your nails won't set correctly.

Step 5: Nails Nails Nails

You're almost there! The final step....pound those nails in. After setting the pilot holes, you're ready to get the nails in there. They aren't going to be perfectly straight, so don't worry about that. All that matters is that you get them in their spots securely without splitting the wood. This is where having a companion or two helps. Since you're spending this time making something for yourself that you will clearly cherish forever, why not have someone to help you pass the time? In my case, it was my boyfriend and my cat Floyd.

Step 6: Relax!

You've done a lot of work getting this loom together. Now it's time to bask in your own glory. Go on with your bad self! You just saved a good chunk of change and you're going to weave on a loom you made all on your own. Well done! 

If you have any questions regarding this process, feel free to send me a message on my Contact page! 

Packaging Design

Last week I sent out a couple of my new mini-weavings to two of my friends. This was my first test in shipping my products and first attempt at creating the packaging for them. I've always known the type of experience I want the customer to have from the start. I want it to be personal, inviting; A beautiful gift they are excited to open. 

For my first shipment, I decided wrap the weavings in muslin. To me it has that soft, natural touch while also maintaining the protection I want on the weavings. A handwritten note rests in the muslin as a personal "Thank you" for purchasing one of my products, or just a simple "Hello" if it's a gift. One or two strands of yarn hold it together in a nicely wrapped package with my logo tag attached. The yarn color is matched to one that appears in the customer's woven piece to add that personal/custom touch. 

As I progress I'm sure my approach to the packaging will evolve, but for now, this is what I've got and it seems to work well so far! I'll have to adjust according to the size of the weavings since the larger ones will require more maintenance when it comes to wrapping. My friends seemed to enjoy these little packages and they held up well during the mailing process, so that's a good sign to start! 

Mini-Weavings

A couple of friends have told me that they want to buy one of my weavings. At the moment I'm working on some larger pieces that I'd like to start selling, so I don't have time to make big ones for them just yet. But at the same time, I've been wanting to send them something to hold them over until I do have the time to make larger, more personal ones. 

My solution? Create mini-weavings! Thanks to Janelle Pietrzak of All Roads, I noticed she made these awesome little weaving ornaments that inspired me to make tiny weavings for my friends. They don't take too long to make and they still have that personal touch that I wanted. I figured out that I can make two at a time using my Lap Loom (check out my Instagram page to see!). They are only about 3" wide and 10" long, so they won't take up much space on your wall. And...they're cute! I plan on having a table full of these for the Artwalk this June in Bethlehem. 

These could also be a nice miniature version of how I want to create larger pieces in the future. It allows me to decide on a color palette with limited space so that I can see what works and what doesn't. It's almost as if they are sketches for my large tapestry hangings.

I have to refrain from making a million of these for more of my friends and family because right now I have to focus on creating larger pieces to sell this summer. But once the Artwalk is over, I'll be able to send these little gifts on to more who have asked for weavings!