Posted by: bschutzgruber | October 31, 2018

Jean Gauger Workshop

One of great perks of being a member of the Ann Arbor Fiberarts Guild is that the guild organizes workshops several times a year. The workshop offered this fall was with Jean Gauger, who creates unique art-to-wear nuno felt pieces.

We would be learning to make a nuno collage cowl neck poncho.

With eleven people signed up and each of us needing table space of 8ft x 5ft/4.5m x 1.5m, AAFG member Helen Welford generously offered to host the workshop in the upper level ballroom of her barn.


Day 1

Michigan weather in October can be a ‘rollercoaster’ experience. The morning found us wearing layers, coats, hats, and gloves as the barn is unheated.

Jean talked about her method and helped us decide which of 3 patterns each of us would like to make.

In the afternoon we made samples to check shrinkage rates and test color combinations. I had variegated wool roving that I thought might work well with my hand-dyed silk, plus black wool roving so a test was definitely in order.

I  liked the multi colored wool (R side) better than the black (L side). 

Using the body dimensions of one pattern with the cowl from another my pattern nearly covered the full table.


Day 2 

We laid out the silk fabric for the front and back of the ‘inside’ of the poncho

and the layer of wool fibers.

I really liked how the colors were blending!

As the day went on the weather warmed up. We were all in shirtsleeves by the end of the day! So different from Day 1.

Day 3

Over 3 days the temperatures had gone from cold, to warm and humid, to just right.

Now we add silk fabric for the front and back of the outer layer.

I was very pleased with how the colors were blending on this side too and did not add any embellishments.

Late afternoon into evening was spent rolling and shrinking the poncho 40% to the desired size. By 9pm I was ready to try on my rather damp poncho.

Several of us brought them to the October guild meeting for ‘Show & Tell’.

I love the variety. Each one is unique and true to the personality of the one who made it!

This poncho is so versatile!! It is reversible from inside to out, front to back, side to side – each presenting a new perspective.


I have enjoyed wearing mine, especially when I performed the end of October at the Scary Story Festival in the haunted Howell Opera House. Built in 1881 the theater was closed in 1924 by the local fire marshal and has remained untouched for over 90 years. The space is unheated so on this cold rainy night my poncho was the perfect garment to wear as I told the frightening tale of a wandering musician who wears a pied cloak of rags.


  1. WOW! To walk away from a workshop with an amazing wearable.

  2. Just beautiful Barb! I love your work and your stories. I would love to see everything live!

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