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April 13, 2013 - Scott Norris - Weaving with Linen

Linen is beautiful. Moreover, it is beautiful in unusual ways: it is crisp yet curiously weighty, pleasantly cool to the touch and, particularly when freshly washed and ironed, possesses a pearly sheen unlike that of any other fiber. Linen is also durable. If treated with reasonable care, a well-woven piece of linen will last nearly forever, easily surpassing the lifespan of any other natural fiber. But despite its beauty and permanence, linen is seldom used by most weavers. Many weavers are discouraged by the yarn’s dry, grass-like texture, so different from the gentleness of cotton or wool. Other weavers find the fiber unforgiving and temperamental, prone to twisting and snagging in the shuttle, likely to break without warning and, unless handled with care, certain to reveal every inconsistency in a weaver’s technique. There is some validity to each of these concerns, and every linen weaver has struggled with all or some of them.
However, experience has shown that any difficulty posed by linen can be overcome with forethought and patience, and seasoned linen weavers treat the fiber with the same confidence as they treat wool or cotton. Scott will discuss each of these issues and describe techniques used to weave a variety of linen items, including dish towels, bath towels, and tablecloths. The topics will range from selecting appropriate linen yarns to utilizing attractive finishing techniques, and include color selection, design ideas, and caring for linen.

Biography: Scott Norris is a linen weaver and dyer who specializes in the production of hand-dyed tablecloths, bath towels, and other functional, household textiles. He has taught extensively for more than 15 years, with an emphasis on classes in weaving linen, dyeing linen, and multi-shaft design, as well as numerous introductory courses for beginning weavers. He is a 2011 recipient of the Best In Show – Gallery award from the New England Weavers Seminar, and a former MacDowell Colony fellow. Scott Norris is also a writer, with profiles, articles, essays, and reviews published in magazines such as American Craft, Ceramics Art and Perception, and Ceramics Monthly. For more, visit his website at http://www.elamswidow.com/.




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