It was a former High School classmate’s comment about weaving that sparked my lifelong passion for weaving. She had left the High School to attend school in either Vermont or New Hampshire that was operated by, I believe, Quakers. Among their many course offerings, there were weaving classes.
However, it was almost 10 years later, from 1974-1976, that I attended SUNY Fashion Institute of Technology as an evening student in their Textile & Surface Design Program. I took every weaving class they provided. This program focused on harness weaving.
My primary teacher was Nell Znamierowski. FIT Textile Department teachers were professionals in the field, and I believe Prof. Znamierowski had studied under some of the great named industry weavers of the 1940s-1960s (Anni Albers, Dorothy Liebes, etc.). She had also been teaching weaving at the now defunct Brooklyn Museum School of Craft, and told me about their selling out second hand floor harness looms: I bought my first loom, a Leclerc, in 1980.
Then in Summer 1991 I attended an introductory weekend workshop at Ruth Scheuer’s The Center for Tapestry Arts* in New York City: that experience of learning how to “draw in wool” further defined my weaving passion to include spinning and dyeing. From 1993-1995, I completed my Arts Education degree at SUNY New Paltz.
Around this time, I came ‘home’. Moving from the totally urban New York City to the very rural Delaware County in the northwestern Catskill Mountains represents a key moment in my life and in my craft.
*In the October/November 1985 issue of Threads Magazine, pp. 487-54, Joanne Mattera wrote about Ruth Scheuer and The Center “Bringing Tapestry into the 20th Century”; this article has detailed photographs that assist the reader in appreciating Ms. Scheuer’s expertise and business: https://issuu.com/mariamarko/docs/threads_magazine_01_-_premier_issue/51
The woodblock print of WINTER STREAM is an excellent example of my realizing I can create artwork that is good. More importantly I am excited by the evidence of an affinity between the woodblock grain marks that carry or resist the colored inks to the textures of the handspun dyed wools I use in weaving tapestries. This artwork started as a series of photographs of a stream in early Spring that translated successfully into a woodblock print which readily morphed into a drawing with wool (Further details: Summer 2016, Eberhardt-Smith, T. (CatskillMade) Flow, Spring/Summer, “Featured Artwork: Winter Stream”, issue 5, http://catskillmade.eberhardtsmith.com/issue/flow/).
In 1991 I met a group of women who knitted, crocheted, wove, and spun. They taught me how to spin, and Lisa Ann Merrin (Spinners Hill, Bainbridge, NY) sold me a second hand Ashford Traditional spinning wheel. From there I started dyeing locally sourced wools. I then hand spin (on a new Ashford Traditional wheel) these wools, delighting in the subtle color variations, which accent my textiles and tapestries.
I have been incredibly blessed in multiple ways: ~~networking with members and selling at the Catskill Mountain Artisans Guild (Margaretville, NY) http://www.facebook.com/catskillmountainartisansguild; ~~joining the American Tapestry Alliance http://www.americantapestryalliance.org; ~~attending art and tapestry workshops; ~~painting with a Plein Air group; ~~book making with the Catskilled Crafters http://www.facebook.com/catskilledcrafters; ~~and participating in the AMR Artists (Andes-Margaretville-Roxbury) Open Studios Tours since 2012 https://www..AMROpenStudios.org. or www.facebook.com/AmrOpenStudios
This is from the Delaware County Historical Association, Delhi, New York. Queen Anne of England signed on April 20, 1708 the Hardenburgh Patent that covers lands
became Delaware County. On this map, the diagonal line that runs through the words Hardenburgh Patent mark the south eastern border of Delaware County as it abuts what is now Ulster County. What is called the Pepacton Branch is the East Branch of the Delaware River, which then divides into two smaller branches. Roxbury (my home) is on the right hand mini branch, hence Roxbury’s claim to be the Headwaters of the Delaware River. Yet, the left hand mini branch leads into Stamford, which claims to be the Headwaters source. However, one slices or divides Delaware County and its names sake river, this River starts here and winds its way down past New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and southward.
Delaware County was home to small villages of self sustaining farm families, hence the need to have sheep for wool wives and daughters would spin and weave. Also, the Delaware County Historical Association still has, albeit in incomplete pieces, a Jacquard Loom that may actually was used to create many of The Delhi Jacquard Coverlets (The Delhi Jacquard Coverlets, 1982, and Delhi, 1976 Jacquard Coverlets, 1976)