Stephanie is a hand weaver. Her studio, Tenth Post Handwovens, is around the corner from me at Mellwood. I've always been mesmerized by floor looms begining from the time I worked at an adult day facilty where there were about 7 of them. Sadly, I could never (and still can't) wrap my mind around setting them up. I am content being hypnotized by the click-clack rhythms they make when a weaver has her hands on the plow.
Stephanie Brown: I am a handweaver focusing on small batch production. I am drawn to the weaving craft because of its inter-lacement of creative design and technical skill.
I love the slow (yes, sometimes tedious) process of preparing the loom for a new project; if done well, the weaving is quick and smooth. Once I am weaving, I work into a rhythm that allows my mind to fly wherever it wants to. This is when I do most of my design work.
SB: I have dabbled in knitting, sewing, quilting, basket weaving, felting, dyeing, and spinning. Finally, I realized that a jack of all trades I will never be. A master I hope to be some day.
What challenges do you face in your craft?
SB: My biggest challenge is in trusting enough to try something new. The craft of weaving offers so many pathways and I find that I get very comfortable in what I know well. Being around all of the amazing creatives here at Mellwood has helped me to start seeing over the wall of comfort.
How has having a studio at Mellwood impacted your work?
SB: First off, when I break a number of warp threads in a short period of time and want to cut off every last thread, I find great solace in the smiling faces of people in the midst of their own creative and technical battles around me. Perhaps more importantly, it is the stirring of the pot that artists can offer each other. I think we are all intrigued by the visions and processes of other artists and taking time to witness these is inspiring on even the most droll, discouraging day.
What suggestions can you offer to make Mellwood an even better place for artists?
SB: Mellwood is such an amazing venue to work and to see work. That being said, I do think we could foster a stronger sense of community, both for the artists and for Louisville. Some of us use the space for public display and some of us use it for practical work space alone, many are in between. When it comes down to it, art is for the artist and it is also meant to be seen so we need to foster a healthy space for both. Artists getting to know each other, finding support within. Mellwood reaching out to the public more actively to invite them in. More art on the walls!
What exciting things are going on with you as an artist?
SB: My work is at the Kentucky Arts Council right now to be juried for Kentucky Crafted. Fingers crossed! Also, I am starting a position as Educational Coordinator for the Little Loomhouse on Kenwood Hill which is an excellent opportunity for introducing the art of weaving to a broader base. I firmly believe that handweaving is ready for a revival!