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This last weekend I had the distinct pleasure of teaching a weaving with wire workshop for the fiber students and weavers from the Dallas and Fort Worth weaving guilds, at the University of North Texas in Denton. I’ve been weaving with wire for over 25 years. It’s very similar to weaving with fiber, but wire is a lively material and requires special handling to be beamed onto the loom.
UNT has a great weaving studio, as well as surface design dye and printing labs. We gathered together on Friday, first looking at a presentation that featured artists that have been my inspiration, pioneers of working with metal using fiber techniques: Mary Lee Hu, Arline Fisch, Stuart Golder, and Donna Kaplan. I brought examples of the work I’ve created over the years that included sculpture, basketry, vessels and jewelry. These illustrated possible directions the students could take with their own woven metal fabric.
The weavers worked hard over the 3 days (some weavers pictured below)! Each student made a 3 yard warp of wire, beamed it onto the loom they would weave on, wove the entire warp, cut it off and began playing with it to create something special.
2nd row L to R: Cayce Johnson, Andrea Ramos, Bre Ferrara
It’s inspiring to hold the workshop in the fibers department. Wonderful student work is on display throughout the department.
Everyone worked hard! The warps are narrow (3/8″ – 1″ wide, set at 60 ends per inch), and though the warp is 3 yards long, it weaves up quickly.
Part of the fun is experimenting with different weft combinations of fiber and wire.
I set up one of the UNT looms with a wider warp so the attendees could get a sense of weaving with a wider, more open set. 10 yards of a 4″ wide silver wire warp were wound onto a Dorset 4 shaft loom.
By the last day of the workshop, warps were finished and were being cut off the loom! It was so fun to see what everybody had made!
Now it was play time! Students played with the woven metal fabric, sculpting it into various forms. Lesli created some great looking, simple sculptural earrings in just a few minutes! Other students made earrings or brooches.
Thank you, UNT & Abby Sherrill, for inviting me to teach your students and making me feel so welcome! It was a blast and I can’t wait to see what they will do with their new knowledge! If the reader is interested in finding out more about me teaching this workshop in your area, just contact me!