Posted by: bschutzgruber | August 23, 2016

City Mouse…. Country Mouse…. part 1

August has been a month of fabulous fiber adventures in two very different settings!

Convergence, the Handweavers Guild of America‘s biennial international fiber arts conference, was held this year at the Wisconsin Center in downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

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I’ve been to 3 Convergences over the years (in 2000 Cincinnati OH, in 2002 Vancouver BC, and in 2006 Grand Rapids MI).  Each was a feast of creativity and inspiration and this year was no exception.  Even as we walked into the lobby… art was everywhere beginning with HGA’s Ice Age Yardage Exhibit


and the Center’s “security guard” to whom most of us did a double take when first entering the building!

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I took a 3 day workshop with Joan Berner – Successful Pattern Design for Handwoven Garments“You have the most beautiful handwoven fabric you could imagine – now turn it into the most perfect garment for you to wear!”

Joan is a fabulous teacher!  She moved smoothly between the 10 of us in the workshop, each of us with a different pattern, sewing experience, and pattern fit issues.  She gave clear explanations of pattern line and design….

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how to adjust a pattern you love but your body is no longer the same shape….


what alternations are needed to get that perfect fit, plus amazing ‘tricks of the trade’ sewing techniques to make working with handwoven fabric easier.  (Getting sleeves to fit is NOT an easy task. No wonder vests/waistcoats/sleeveless tunics have been so popular over the centuries across the globe!)

Being in a convention center, our classroom was a typical partitioned ball room so in true fiber artist fashion, we created our own ‘extension campus’ (which we shared with the dyeing workshops) in the ladies restroom using the mirrors there to help with fittings.

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At the end of the 3 days I now have a muslin jacket pattern that fits me.  Next step will be to take it apart, lay it out, make the pattern incorporating all the alterations, and then figure out what I will weave or felt to make the jacket.








Besides the workshops during the day, there were exhibits to see….

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evening activities with the fashion show….


and the opportunity to see the garments up close afterward (Diamond Leggings by Carol James were made using an ancient fiber technique called sprang)….

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the Shuttle Race sponsored by Schacht Spindle Company complete with weight and measurement checks…..

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as well as a fascinating keynote presentation by Dr. Juan Hinestroza from Cornell University on his pioneering work creating multifunctioning fibers using nanoscale technology.

Members of the Ann Arbor Fiberarts Guild were well represented in the Mixed Bag Exhibit (multi media using any fiber arts technique) with art work by Bonnie Kay (High-row Glyphics), Kathleen Zasuwa (Ancient Graffiti: First Exhibition and Ancient Graffiti: Lines to Letters), and Jenny Schu (Uprooted 2).  Jenny also had a piece (Gypsy Leaf) in the Small Expressions Exhibit (small scale not exceeding 15 by 15 inches) which won the Edith Whiteman Award.

Early in the week, we had the added excitement of being evacuated for an hour due to electrical issues….

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but this gave the opportunity to see the Tapestry Exhibit a few blocks away at the Milwaukee Public Library, a building with inspiring architectural detail!

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From clear evenings with city skylines and dinner by the river…

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to funky street art….


This was an awesome urban fiber experience!




  1. Looks like you had fun at this Barbara 🙂

  2. […] past summer at Convergence (see City Mouse…. Country Mouse pt 1) I wandered the trade/vendors hall and came across Cochenille Design Studio. This company has […]

  3. […] past summer at Convergence (see City Mouse…. Country Mouse pt 1) I wandered the trade/vendors hall and came across Cochenille Design Studio. This company has […]

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