Saturday, December 19, 2009

Paper weaving days--lots of fun

ECHO Arts School
Tiger, GA

Peggy McBride, owner of Globe Gallery in Clayton, GA recently opened this wonderful venue for teaching small, affordable classes.  The school is in a newly renovated house located near Tiger, Georgia.  It's in the woods on a ridge and views from the porch were beautiful (not that I was on the porch very much because it was quite chilly last week).

Another view of the rambling house that has lots of open space for classes.

My class was on three consecutive days--Thursday, Friday and Saturday--but each day's session was a complete activity.  The sessions were from 11-2 each day (with a lunch break); and each day one or two folks continued to work past 2 p.m., just fine with me since I was staying at the school for the week.

Three students were there on the first day, two of whom returned for the second day to be joined by three new folks--five for Friday.  Then on Saturday two returned from the Friday group and were joined by one new person.  So... a total of eleven sets of hands doing paper weaving during the three days even through four sets of those hands were of  returnees... confusing?

As I'd mentioned in an earlier post, I've used paper weaving for many years.  While I don't do it often it is always a great way to get some visual things happening--and I have, in fact, used the method to design tapestries.  And... Suzanne Pretty's designing with paper weaving as an art form and as inspiration for tapestry is amazing; her work is seen her website here:

Our class was the only one being held during the week so we spread out throughout several rooms.  Above is the long table we all gathered around to do the weaving.

I always bring examples and supplies, and Peggy has lots of supplies at ECHO, too.  She's teaching book arts classes on an ongoing basis so many tools and materials were on hand from those classes.

Almost finished on day one, with Helen on the left, Charles at the end of the table, and Midge on the right putting finishing touches on their weavings.

Charles made use of warm/cool contrasts combined with punching holes in assorted strips to create a vibrant color play.  He added some of the dots from punched holes to the top of selected areas, also.

Second day brought Robin (at the table's end) and Mary Grace to the group, as well as Joy... who was cutting paper in the other room when I took the photo of our weaving table... here's Joy at the paper cutter...

Helen, back for the second day, worked diligently to cut around the wolf photo that I'd scanned and printed from one she brought.  After completion, I rescanned and printed onto photo paper... looked really good.

Mary Grace had several photographs from her ancestors that I scanned and enlarged so she could cut and weave with twill pattern... you can see those to her left.  Her family photos showed ancestors who were spinning and weaving!  On the back of the photographs were descriptions written by her mother; she combined the handwritten information as the weft strips, interwoven into the carefully cut photograph scan... really was a stunning piece when she finished.

Roseann brought several photos to work from, but decided the colorful Barbie pattern cover from the 1970s would be a cheerful warp for bright weft colors.  So the pattern envelope was scanned, then she cut into the printed results rather than the actual object.  Looked great in the bright childlike colors.  Roseann is one of the founders of Bead Amigas ; she's wearing several of the paper beads made by the Nicaguaran women with whom the group works.

Robin was carefully constructing this last paper weaving she did in the class with a reverse twill repeat.  She and a friend have an business designing and selling greeting cards of all kinds.  Their website is at this link:

One of the things I learned as the class started was to use bamboo skewers to help with the lifting of the paper warp strips--that "learning" took place out of necessity since the tips of my thumb of my right hand and several finger tips had split open from the cold weather.  This happens to my hands every year, along about the time the temperature drops and heating begins to be used inside.  Pretty dang painful to try to manipulate paper strips, lifting them up, over and over again.

These skewers also work as a shed stick, once they're woven across:

and then the tip of the skewer can help slip the weft into place closely to the last strip.

After the classes were over I was spent several more days in residence at ECHO doing more paper weavings, getting some reading done, and also driving the few miles to Hambidge Center to complete the runners for the Center that I'd begun as a demo during their summer festival.  Got them with me to do end finishes through the holidays--maybe!


  1. Tommye - thank you once again for your wonderful class photos, and your sharing of information. I learn SO much from you! I have the "Weaving with Paper" book but - as yet - haven't done anything. You've got me going!!!
    Great for tapestry ideas.

  2. Jan sent me the address for your blog. I've been working with paper weavings for a while. See images intermixed on web site

    They are fascinating. I'm having a show in the spring at the Wren gallery and doing a few new pieces.

    These pieces are plaited (woven on the diagonal. Amazing all the different combinations. I've done a dimensional piece also.

    Love to see more of yours! I remember an article recently you had some pieces.
    Sue Pretty

  3. Rita... Thanks... and see Sue's comments. She's done some amazing designing with paper weaving. Her site is

    Sue... Thanks for the comment! I love your weavings and linked to those in my first post about my class--did you see that? I've linked it in this post.
    Would love to see your work again in person... it's been years!

  4. Oh my, the work your students were doing looks wonderful!
    I went over to Suzanne's site. Stunning work.
    So many creative people. So much inspiration.

  5. Hi! I teach high school and I think my students would love to do this and make a large envelope as the final product. How do you finish the ends so I could have them make the sheets and then attach them together? Thank you for your help!

    January 31, 2017 at 11:04 PM

  6. I think the high school students would very much enjoy making paper woven objects... envelop as final product sounds like a good use of it. It could also be book covers, turn into small boxes... really unlimited potential to be used in any way imaginable.
    About end finishing, depends on what I want to do with the final product. For an envelop, I think that if you glued the whole thing down to another solid sheet, that would reinforce the woven part. You could use white glue (like Elmer's or Aileen's or PVA) and thin it a bit so it would spread easily. Put down two pieces of waxed paper, both larger than the piece, use a large brush (foam brush works great for this) and spread the thinned glue completely on all parts of the paper, brushing out onto the wax paper to be sure that the edges are well coated, too. The put the two pieces together onto another waxed paper sheet and put yet another piece on top of that. Weight the whole thing down with heavy books, bricks, etc. Leave it overnight to totally seal and dry.
    The waxed paper keeps the any glue that squeezes out the sides and/or through the weave to not stick to whatever you are weighting it down with--or to the table or counter top.
    So, experiment with different ways to attach those ends. I'd be interested to hear how it turns out!