Suzi Ballenger is an endorsed participant in the Arts in Education program of the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA). Private, semi-private and virtual instruction is available through my studio at The Mill at Shady Lea in North Kingstown, RI.
Weaving cloth is magic! I hope to inspire a sense of wonder and excitement of the Handweaving process through individually designed programs. Computer aided technology; Pattern and structure; unusual materials; Special needs and high risk populations; Professional development; Consultation; Loom repair and restoration.
Transforming Tools and Weaving Wonders
Understanding the equipment we use, as weavers, is the first step to changing the way we use it. We will identify way for disrupting the fluid order of warp and weft through closely observing loom anatomy. Then you will learn how to use the knowledge of weaving equipment to achieve fantastic and unexpected effects in your cloth. Contemporary tools such as Open Reed®, Supplementary Beater®, and RailReed will be explored and demonstrated as simple alternatives we can use to transform the traditional grid into a woven wonder. Don’t be put off by the anatomy of your loom — learn it and use it!
Renegade Treadlings on Traditional Threadings
Ms and Os, Huck-a-Back, and Swedish Point : These three traditional weave structures offer weavers the opportunity to explore myriad possibilities for towels, clothing, and accessories. Once we learn what distinguishes these threadings from others, we can expand our treadling vocabulary to create our own voice in creating innovative designs for our cloth.
The pleasure of weaving your own linen bedsheets
Indulge for a moment, in the idea of sleeping in bedsheets that you have woven. That fantasy is achievable! This presentation is how to handle a wide linen warp, how to finish it, and a few other special stories about the importance of handweaving your own bedsheets. The sultry allure of sleeping between layers of a treasured fiber is part of our weaving heritage. Our souls all want the spice of bedsheets woven by our hands, treadled by our feet, and followed through from our dreams.
Paper. Book. Art.
I am a weaver who is fascinated with paper making and book making. Every aspect of making paper allows for repetition, concentration, discovery and opportunity – just like weaving. Drawing on my experiences in Hawaii and with traditional Japanese papermakers, this presentation will share the various methods of making paper and Hawaiian bark cloth. You will have many samples to handle, explore and question. In a workshop, we will use beautiful papers to explore basic ways to make a treasured book. One with a folded binding suitable to slip in fabric swatches or post cards; the second binding is a Japanese Stab binding technique – very simple but practical. Guaranteed, you will be giving books all year long after this!
Spinning Paper Yarn
Spinning paper is a dynamic process that has been used for centuries to create textiles from Obi to undergarments to WWI uniforms to accessories. Join me in exploring the characteristics of fibers that create the best paper yarn. We will learn the straightforward method for preparing paper to spin and then, start spinning! We will use familiar and unusual fibers and the results are astonishing.
Textiles: Fashion Smart to Fashion Savvy
(Teen to Adult)
In this project oriented program, we explore the science of Fashion – from fibers to fusing to felting to making and beyond. This program will incorporate new technologies and materials/fibers into textiles using LEDs, conductive thread, insulating and recycled materials, and some programmable units to make our wearables shine with brilliance!
Starting with an introduction into the world of textiles, we will follow through on the concept of fabri-“cation”, e-textiles and fashionable technology while studying the roles of form/function/fun/aesthetics/beauty. Each student will have their own electronic “kits” to work with to demonstrate their understanding of the basic tenants of our textile fashion explorations.
Community Weaving Project
This activity involves the use of large wooden frame looms (typically 4’x6’) that the students help build. These frame looms are free standing and two-sided allowing participants to work from both sides as they weave wide cloth strips through the holes to weave their design.
This project is most successful when students produce designs that have been inspired through earlier classroom discussions on color, pattern, texture, and symbolism. We discuss finger-manipulation techniques, woven joins, embellishments, color choices and finishing.
The Community weaving process takes 8 – 20 hours from start to finish. It is amazing to watch this process! Just when you think it is done, it becomes clear that the weaving could use a bit more fabric here or a touch of color there. It is a wonderful lesson in group dynamics and offers students a chance to interact directly with their peers – they are the leaders in this.