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. :) 

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! 


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!