keeping threads in order is a big part of a
weaver’s work. Here, a student makes
adjustments on an 11-foot-long runner.
providing a showcase for the colorful and
intricate woven pieces.
A kinship often develops between weaver
and loom, and Smayda takes obvious pleasure
in the history of some of her looms. One was
built by Weaver Rose, a famous 19th-century
Rhode Island weaver whom Smayda has studied extensively. “He probably built the loom
in the late 1800s,” she says. “It’s old and historic and there’s something spiritual about it,
but it is a bit uncomfortable,” she adds with
Although she clearly loves the role of
teacher, Smayda may be happiest when
she is doing her own weaving in a silo room
that holds just two looms: hers and an early
1900s German model that was used in the
“I love the thought that Anni Albers and
Paul Klee may have used this very loom,”
says Smayda, noting that Bauhaus alumnae
Albers, a renowned textile artist, and Klee, a
noted painter, were both teaching the school’s
weavers at the time. But she pauses by this
loom only for a moment, as she must check
on her own students, each one seated at a distinctive loom, in a barn filled with the ageless
spirit of artisans at work.
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