Galler Yarns (GY): How did you first learn to weave?
Sara: I first learned to weave in high school when I was given a frame loom. I used it, but did not like it much. I thought it was awkward …. and I had seen a floor loom which I thought was magic and wanted to weave on that! It was several years before I had the opportunity to do that.
GY: How did you get started selling your woven rugs? Sara: I set up my first studio in Saratoga, New York in 1974 and wove anything I could think of to sell at local fairs. Eventually, I narrowed my focus.
I loved cotton quilts, I loved fabric, and I loved to weave - especially tapestry, and I loved old traditions like rag rug weaving. I also worked at a large interior design firm and noticed that there were few colorful, playful rugs out there. So I had this idea to combine my loves of quilts, fabric, tapestry and rugs and I came up with this idea to use these elements in woven rugs.
I experimented a bit with this idea. Then moved to Portland, Maine in 1982. For the next several years I would take my rugs to stores and galleries up and down the coast to sell on consignment, and I went to a few fairs in the state, namely The Maine Festival.
What really got me started selling though was in 1984 - I think - I went to a wholesale trade show in the Hartford, CT area. I showed my rugs there and took orders from galleries and stores. It was great!
GY: Where do you find inspiration for your projects?
Sara: I find inspiration everywhere I see. Plants, rocks, old wall paper and textiles, anything that has shape …basically anything I can see is a potential rug. Right now I am obsessed with all these beautiful caterpillars and beetles eating away at my gardens! I don't like what they do, but I like how they look!
GY: Why do you use Galler Yarns Parisian Cotton in your projects?
Sara: I use Galler Parisian Cotton for ALL the warp in my cotton rugs. I would not use anything else but the Parisian Cotton. It is incredibly strong, has great abrasion resistance, and comes in beautiful colors. I use really good quality fabric, use a techniques that is very slow - tapestry -, and want the rugs to last a really long time. Therefore I have to use the best quality warp I can find. Do I sound like and advertisement? :)
GY: Tell us more about your teaching schedule.
Sara: My teaching schedule is still a work in progress. I offer classes when I can or when students ask me to put together a class. My favorite class is Weave a Rug/Color Your Home. The next session is on October 20 and 21. This rug weaving workshop is structured as if the student chose me to weave them a small 24" x 36" custom rug, but instead the student contributes design input and becomes the weaver.
I do the prep work and coach the students during weaving and finishing. Students are asked to provide me with all the color and design references I require when designing a custom rug. I make a fabric swatch board based on this information and send it to students prior to class for their approval. I set up each loom for each student with warp colors that complement their design board and I prepare the fabric ahead of time. The student arrives and immediately begins weaving. It is really fun and gratifying to see how the color information on their fabric swatch boards is transformed into their very own custom rug. Finishing techniques are included.
It costs $250, which includes all materials and a gourmet lunch for both days. We keep the classes small with a maximum of 3 students, but we have room for 1 more student in the October 20 and 21 class. I plan to schedule one for early November as well.
Thank you for stopping by to share your story, and for your support of Galler Yarns!