Teachers' Biographies

Louise Abbott

Since the early 1970’s, I have been involved with textiles in a business as well as creative capacity. I love the textile process and am excited by the idea of creating a woven piece for functional use that is also esthetically pleasing. Technical development is important to me and I have taken numerous workshops and classes. I developed my knowledge and skills as a Contract Weaver in the late 70's and in early 80's while maintaining a studio in the Artist Cooperative, The Brush Art Gallery, in downtown Lowell, MA. In the late eighties and early nineties I had the opportunity to work in the yarn development divisions of two major Textile Industry Manufactures.

Currently, I weave in my home studio and have exhibit space in the Arts League of Lowell Gallery, Lowell, MA. The exotic sensuality of fiber and color continue to inspire me to create my own designs for rugs, tapestries, afghans, and other items. I find excitement in the melding of process, design and fiber, and draw much of my inspiration from nature and my travels.

For the last twenty years, my focus has been with Tapestry, a powerful art form dating back many centuries, and an eloquent means of expression. The materials used, the weaving process, and interpretation of the design give the tapestry life. Weaving is very labor intensive and offers me the opportunity to slow down and be deliberate in this accelerated paced world.

Suzi Ballenger

Suzi Ballenger pursues the connections between craftsman and machine by pushing pre-conceived boundaries of weaving with her choices of fiber and tools. She strives to realize the fullest expression of threaded order, disorder, function, and form to show the simple and amazing beauty of cloth. She is currently an MFA candidate for Artisanry in Fibers at UMass Dartmouth and for many years was the studio assistant to Norma Smayda at Saunderstown Weaving School in Rhode Island.

Carol Birtwistle

Carol Birtwistle has been weaving and teaching for more than forty years in Ohio, Michigan, California, Massachusetts, Florida and Connecticut. Her study of fiber structure and color theory have taken her to the Cleveland Institute of Art, London's Victoria and Albert Museum, and Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Maine. Currently, she is exploring the various ways in which computer design facilitates her 20 shaft weaving. Carol teaches classes and workshops that focus on the multiple ways in which weave structure, yarns, sett and color interact to form the finished product.

Cathie Chung and Diane Smith

Cathie and Diane are owners of Just Our Yarn (JOY), a company that came together because of their love of fiber and color. They bead, weave, spin, dye, knit, and crochet. JOY was founded on their experience teaching and managing a retail shop for a fiber arts school. Between them they have nearly 40 years “fiber” experience. For the last 11 years they have traveled the country sharing their love of color and helping weavers overcome their fear of too much color.

Jayne Flanagan

Jayne Flanagan has been spinning and weaving at least since 1973. Her weaving includes everything from backstrap to drawloom, with particular fondness for structure, interesting equipment, manuscripts, and “narrow wares”. She has taught spinning, weaving and knitting topics at the NorthEast Handspinners Association “Gathering”, NEWS, WGB, NHWG, VWG, Mainely Weavers, and the Southern Maine Guild. She is a member of Cross Country Weavers, several New England guilds, and is the current Study Group Coordinator for Complex Weavers. She served as HGA Maine Rep for over a decade and is a Past President of NEWS (2003). Jayne “invented” DPW back in 1995 when looking for a way to weave words. Imagine her surprise years later when she found Klara Cherepov’s monograph Diversified Plain Weave, dated 1972 !! Oh, well…

Andrea Garr

Andrea Garr is the owner of BEAD & FIBER located in the SoWa Art and Design District of Boston. In its ninth year, BEAD & Fiber offers unique materials, day and evening classes as well as the work of its teachers. For the last 16 years, Andrea has kept the traditional technique of crocheting beads alive, with her contemporary styling, by selling her creations at many juried craft shows in the Northeast and beyond, and at BEAD & FIBER. Andrea is also a skilled knitter, experienced on and off loom bead weaver, as well as a metal worker.

Beth Guertin

Beth Cederberg Guertin has been a weaver for more than thirty-five years. She has been involved with teaching weaving for more than 30 years, first through her store in Arlington (The Batik and Weaving Supplier), and now through her studio in Waltham (A Place to Weave – Individualized Weaving Instruction). Her specialty is planning projects to use up small amounts of yarn.

Peggy Hart

Peggy weaves multiharness patterned blankets on 1940’s woolen industry looms, after first spending years handspinning, handweaving, and plant dyeing. In 1976 as a Peace Corps volunteer, she started and managed the Nanyuki Spinners and Weavers in Kenya, and later lived in Ghana with her family. She received an M.A.E. from RISD in 1981, then worked as a weaver in one of the last NE woolen mills. Since 1982 she has worked as a production weaver and teacher. Teaching includes the Penland School of Crafts in 2012, and speaking at weavers’guild meetings, the Clayton Textile History conference, and at NEWS 2015.

Debbie Kaplan

Debbie Kaplan branched into weaving 20 years ago from a background of handspinning and knitting. Her knowledge of materials informs her work. For a number of years she worked with collapse weave and unusual materials such as copper, steel, undegummed silk, and horsehair to obtain open, gauzy, surprising effects. With the purchase of a new computerized loom, she has shifted back, at least temporarily, toward more traditional materials – cotton, wool, linen and silk. Debbie’s work has been featured in SpinOff, Handwoven and the Complex Weavers Journal and won awards at NEWS and Complex Weavers.

Penny Lacroix

Penny Lacroix is a weaver, spinner, teacher, historian, manager, learner, creator and general lover of all things fiber. When she’s not actively learning something, she’s sharing with others in one way or another – developing museum exhibits, making something by hand, demonstrating at historic events, or maybe just catching up on Jeopardy or NCIS.

Phyllis Leck

Phyllis owns her own business “Maine Village Weaver”. She began weaving as a little girl on a pot holder loom and a backstrap loom. In high school an art teacher had looms and taught her how to warp, provided books and mentored her. Today Phyllis is a production weaver and sells on Etsy, in shops in Maine and through catalogs. Over the last 30 years she and her husband who owns the “Scottish Lion Wrought Iron” have traveled to craft shows supporting each other. Being self-employed means they both can arrange their schedules to make time for family.

Linda Lincoln

Since retiring from my “real” job, I try to weave every day; that includes winding, warping and escaping to my loom room to throw the shuttle and find a place of calm, although my husband considers the chaos in the room anything but calming. Currently President of the New Hampshire Weavers’ Guild, I have been weaving since the 70’s, my first loom a “loaner,” my second a Harrisville , and my current looms are a Tools of the Trade 8 shaft and a Macomber 8. A structure person, I enjoy exploring structures in depth.

Connie Lippert

Connie weaves tapestries using the wedge weave technique and yarns hand-dyed with natural materials.

Her work has been accepted into over 150 juried exhibitions. She has received 2 artist grants from the South Carolina Arts Commission. Her work is represented in museum, corporate, academic and private collections and has been published in Fiberarts Design Book 7, Line in Tapestry by Kathe Todd-Hooker, Fiberarts magazine, Handwoven magazine, and in Shuttle, Spindle, and Dyepot (the magazine of the Handweavers Guild of America).

Connie also works as an artist-in-residence in South Carolina public schools and has taught weaving to thousands of children through residencies, summer art camp and classroom activities in her children’s classes. She has presented seminars and workshops for adults at national and regional conferences, craft schools and guilds.

Kayla McCumber and Vicki Oman

Kayla McCumber joined Plimoth after spending several years in both the historic and theatrical costuming worlds in London and New York. She spent her undergraduate career studying costume construction at Ithaca College in New York and obtained her master’s from the university of Glasgow, Scotland, where she focused on displays of allegiance and authority through dress during the Wars of the Roses. Kayla has been employed as Plimoth Plantation’s Manager of Historical Clothing and Textiles for the past two years.

As the director of Public Programs and School Services, Vicki Oman educates students, families and professional groups about life in 17th century New England. She holds a Master’s degree in theological Studies from Boston University and frequently teaches about post-Reformation history and the faith of the Pilgrims. Since joining Plimoth Plantation in 2008, Vicki has represented many colonial women and taken part in a variety of media campaigns including an innovative shoot with Scholastic films, which is shown in classrooms across the world.

Barbara Provest

Barbara Provest learned to weave in the 5th grade and taught at a summer camp from age 14 on small looms. Jean Bacon gave her lessons in weave structures and she studied with the Nobscot Weavers for several years. She studied on floor looms and has taken classes with the Weavers’ Guild of Boston since 1972. She has a 16-harness AVL, an 8-harness Schacht Baby Wolf and 10 other looms. She has every issue of Handwoven magazine and a large weaving library.

Traveling around as a warping buddy and teaching in people’s homes has been very rewarding and warping looms for charitable foundations has kept her busy for years. She and her husband, Jon, have restored many old looms like the barn frame loom at the Benjamin Caryl house which she weaves on for the Dover Historical Society and the loom at the Golden Ball Tavern Museum in Weston.

Barbara taught spinning and weaving at the American Textile History Museum for years where she taught up to 80 children a day in the Colonial Days program and gave floor, table, inkle loom and tablet loom weaving classes.

She is busy with private students and works with Plimoth Plantation and “outreaches” for the Weavers’ Guild of Boston. For fun she takes bobbin lace lessons-- the hardest craft in the world.

Sandra Rux

Sandra Rux received a B A in History from the University of Connecticut and an MA in History from Trinity College, Hartford CT. She is also a graduate of the Museum Studies program of the Munson Institute, Mystic Seaport Museum. Her business career was with AT&T in New York City as a district manager of telecommunications and information management. At present, she is the Curator Emerita for the Portsmouth Historical Society, Portsmouth NH, Chair of the Warner House association Board of Governors and Curator of the Warner House. A hand loom weaver herself, she has written about nineteenth-century carpet weaving for the Dublin Seminar and in Corsets, Clocks and Locks, a book about the industrial development of New Haven, CT. Recent exhibits include John Paul Jones: Real and Imagined, The War of 1812: What it Meant to Portsmouth, Mapping the Piscataqua: John Smith to Google Maps (all of these at the John Paul Jones House) and the Height of Propriety: Fashions of Portsmouth Athenaeum Proprietors Through Time, and the Kitttery Point Congregational Church and the Pepperrell Family (at the Portsmouth Athenaeum). Sandra lives in Kittery Point with her husband Alan Haesche.

Norma Smayda

Norma Smayda, a weaver, teacher, exhibitor and juror, learned to weave in Norway and occasionally returned to teach. In 1974 she established and continues to run the Saunderstown Weaving School. She has an MFA in Visual Design from UMass-Dartmouth, and has received the HGA Award of Excellence, the NEWS Weaver of Distinction, and the WGB Distinguished Achievement Award. Norma has written articles for various weaving journals and has had work featured in several books. Norma's special interests include Scandinavian weaving, the works of William Henry Harrison Rose and Bertha Gray Hayes, and weaving with the fan reed. She coauthored Weaving Designs by Bertha Gray Hayes.

She especially likes weaving functional pieces and reducing complicated designs to as few shafts as possible.

Deborah Watson

Deb Watson has been a Guild member for many years and is currently chair of the Ratings Committee. She received her Master Weaver rating in 2011.

Muffy Young

Muffy Young is a professional weaver selling hand dyed, handwoven scarves and shawls through national juried craft fairs and fine galleries. She grew up in Dedham, went to Simmons College and majored in Math and Physics. She first encountered handweaving on a high school trip to Latin America, then through the Avoca Weavers of Ireland imported by Carol Brown in Vermont. She took a class in a weaving shop to learn how looms work and that inquisitive attitude has been her philosophy throughout her weaving career: "Let's figure this out, what else can I do with this structure, what would happen if I try this?" Muffy was pleased to receive Awards of Excellence from the American Craft Council at both the Baltimore and Atlanta shows this past season.