This week we’re featuring the studio of of guild members and educators Kala Exworthy and Anne Masemore, who share a space in Northeast Minneapolis. Here we’re talking with Kala, who teaches rigid Heddle weaving among other classes at the Guild. Stay tuned for Part 2 where we’ll hear from Ann.
WGM: Tell us about yourself. Are you a weaver? dyer? spinner? more?
Kala Exworthy: I’m mostly a weaver, dyer and sewist. My paternal grandmother taught me to sew on her treadle sewing machine. The first project was a pillow case made from flour sacking. I still have that machine (but not the pillow case). My maternal grandmother taught me to knit, embroider and started me on painting. I enjoy taking rosemaling classes and did a lot of faux finishing for about 10 years. It’s also wonderful to be able to pick up a needle and any kind of fiber to embellish a project. My mother continued the sewing education for which I am forever grateful.
WGM: Tell us more about your studio.
KE: Our studio has three weavers. Ann Masemore, Nancy Berlin and myself. We’re really missing Nancy right now because Covid is keeping her away. We have fun doing color consultations and sharing resources. Warping is easier with two people as well. We will never run out of things to do! If we need a break, there’s a chaise by the window and trains going through for entertainment.
WGM: What kind of looms do you have in your studio?
KE: I have a 12-shaft Louët Spring that was delivered new in multiple boxes with not one screw or texsolve fiber attached to anything else. It took three days to assemble. They have since changed their packing methods. It’s a parallel countermarche system so it has a fabulous shed.
For travel I have a baby wolf that I bought used from a Guild member and for teaching and home use I have a Schacht 15” Flip and stand.
My newest loom is a 20 shaft Öxabäck that I got directly from Sweden. I’m still learning how to use it. Thankfully there are wonderful people in the Guild that are willing to be resources and help with assembly (Thank you Steve, Tom and Mona). One of my next projects will involve using the second back beam.
WGM: Tell us about your favorite tools.
KE: I’m very attached to a couple of other tools in the studio.
My Louët warping reel is a joy as is the rolling table that holds it. The table was built by Steve Berlin to be the perfect height for me.
I have the largest box of colored pencils that I could find in order to match as many threads as possible when designing.
My favorite shuttles are one that Jon Hayman made and my end-feed shuttles and the tiniest tool is a wing nut tightener thingie that I’d be lost without.
WGM: What projects are you currently working on? What materials are you working with?
KE: Cottolin towels for friends are on the Spring loom. I’m trying to make fun gifts without deadlines for balance right now. I just took my 16 shaft wool fabric off of the Öxabäck for a capelet that goes to Norway House for the Baldishol exhibit. Using that many rear suspended treadles had a huge learning curve. It’s the longest I’ve ever taken to weave fabric. My favorite fibers would be cottolin, wool and silk. Dyeing silk is instant gratification. We’re fortunate to have water in our studio for dyeing as well as creating a mini kitchen.