By Kathy Roulston

Participants from Indiana, New York, Missouri, Georgia and Germany gathered on Zoom to work with Karen Donde from Asheville, NC to learn about Turned Beiderwand on 18-19th September 2021. Workshop participants learned that Turned Beiderwand is a type of double weave structure in which some “warp ends work as separate layers, others as tie-down ends” (Donde, 2017). Karen shared numerous images of her beautiful work using Turned Beiderwand, as well as historical examples. This structure has been found in Chinese textiles created 2,000 years ago and in fabrics from across the centuries, including 13th Century Spain and Italy.

Karen led participants through the Beiderwand draft, which uses two shuttles, before discussing the differences between “tied” and “untied” Beiderwand. Participants learned the process of turning a draft, thus creating a one shuttle weave. Prior to the workshop, participants had prepared their looms in one of 13 different drafts using 6 and 8 drafts, with options for those with more than 8-shafts. Karen provided clear warping instructions for those with and without supplementary back beams. Karen also shared design possibilities using Fiberworks.

Throughout the workshops Karen shared numerous tips on how to evenly tension the supplementary warp, how to mix fibers and yarns, and how to determine the optimum sett for a fabric. Not surprisingly, she reminded everyone of the important of sampling for sett and yarn. Karen provided a range of treadling and tie-up options for participants to explore at home, and as participants shared images of their work, the astonishing variety that can be created using this weave structure became even more apparent. Across the group – the immense possibilities for design using Turned Beiderwand unfolded, as participants discussed images of their multicolored work using the different profile drafts that Karen provided to participants.

Although participants did not get to experience the tactile pleasures of the samples that Karen talked about and showed – there was something for weavers of different levels of expertise in this workshop. Participants left the workshop with lots of resources and eagerness to explore the “rabbit hole” opened by the workshop. They expressed their gratitude for Karen’s expert facilitation of the “wonderful workshop” through their comments: “your explorer attitude is infectious” and the “samples are a joy to see”.

If you are interested in learning more about how to design and weave fabric using supplementary warps, be sure not to miss Karen Donde’s second workshop scheduled for 6-7 November. This will be facilitated on Zoom. Thanks also go to Chris Hitchcock for organization of another excellent workshop.

Donde, K. (2017). Turned Beiderwand: One Threading, Multiple Structures. Workshop presentation.

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