This week in Studio Tours we’re talking with WGM instructor Ann Masemore, who you may know her from one of our Rag Rug Weaving classes. In part 1 of this post we had a preview into her studio when we talked with her studio mate Kala Exworthy, now we’ll hear from Ann about her practice, projects and inspiration!
WGM: Tell us about yourself. What is your practice like?
Ann Masemore: I’m all about color. I combine color and pattern to create more complexity and texture to the woven fabric in a variety of fibers; cotton, wool, and plastic. I love using found materials: recycled plastic for woven totes, a donation of a wool yarn stash, clothing fabrics.
WGM: Where are you located and what will we find in your space? What do you cherish about your studio?
AM: We’re located in the Northrup King Building on the second floor. Love our south facing windows that provide natural light throughout the year and give us a view of downtown Minneapolis. Also the beautiful, but worn wood floors. We also love our wicker chaise lounge situated by the windows for an occasional cat nap in the sun.
AM:We have seven looms in our space; all used for a variety of projects. We share a large work table that’s primarily an idea space. We always have tubes of cotton, wool skeins, clothing patterns, graph paper and colored pencils strewn about the table. Most of the time it looks like mass disorganization, but it works for us. We also share about twelve feet of sewing space on a long table with 2-3 sewing machines for the finishing needed on many projects.
WGM: Describe what you are making. What projects are you currently working on? What materials are you working with?
AM: I’m always weaving towels; usually 300-400 per year for the 5-6 art shows I exhibit at every year. January is our experimental and fun month in the studio, so I try and weave something completely different. This past January it was wool blanket and hats. Once in awhile I’ll venture into dyeing wool skeins for hats or silk for the occasional scarf. I also have about 5 lbs of vintage fabric that was cut and sewn into strips and wound into balls. It was given to me by my mom’s neighbor, who found it in a garage stored in large tin commercial pickle containers. I’m guessing it’s from the depression era, as it’s all kinds of fabrics cobbled together with no rhyme or reason; cotton, poly, grosgrain, wool, from what was worn and ready to be thrown away. It will be woven into a rug, but for display only to preserve the vintage fabrics. When I have time, I’m going to weave a commuter bag from my rubber raincoat from college days.
WGM: What kind of looms do you use?
AM: Toika, Baby Wolf, and a 1960’s Kessenich. My versatile Kessenich is my workhorse for many types of projects. Side note to my Kessenich: These looms were originally made in Wauwatosa, WI, a suburb of Milwaukee where I grew up. My mom and I would visit the shop and she would buy all of her knitting yarn there, so I have fond memories of that place.
WGM: Which loom do you have warped right now?
AM: All three are warped and ready to go: cotton towels on the Baby Wolf, wool blanket on the Kessenich, and seine twine on the Toika for a Finnish rug for my daughter’s house.
WGM: What other tools do you use? Any favorites?
AM: Ski shuttles for weaving rugs and blankets on my big looms. Plastic clips for the Baby Wolf that hold extra heddles not in use off to the side of the shafts, and the 150 colors in the colored pencil box.
WGM: Whats your favorite storage solution?
AM: A reed cart on wheels for all types of tools (reeds, temples, raddles, lease sticks, winding paper) made by Duane Hansen, spouse of a guild member.
WGM: What colors have been standing out for you lately?
AM: Brights- lime green (no surprise for those that know me), fuchsia, turquoise, and lemon.