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In the 1950s, when handweaving all but ceased to exist, the clattering of a few old hand looms behind an Aberdeen, Scotland tenement caught Norman Kennedy’s attention. Drawn to the work, he traveled through the Outer Hebrides learning Gaelic, folksongs, and an unbroken textile tradition that stretched back centuries. In 1965 Norman was invited to perform at the Newport Folk Festival, returned the following year, and by 1967 was the Master Weaver at Colonial Williamsburg. He founded the Marshfield School of Weaving in 1974 which he ran until it closed for a period beginning in 1992. The National Endowment for the Arts recognized Norman’s remarkable preservation of the folk tradition naming him a National Heritage Fellow in 2003. Norman continues to live in Vermont; spins, weaves, and sings; and is a regular presence at the school. 


After completing a degree in Biology in 1976,  Kate Smith enrolled in a six-week scuba diving class. In a set of peculiar circumstances while riding on a bus to study desert ecology in New Mexico, she met a woman whose daughter taught weaving in Putney, Vermont. In the course of conversation and captivated by the thought of learning to weave, Kate changed her plans, turned around, and headed back north.  It was then another twist of fate that led her to Marshfield, where she discovered Norman Kennedy and his weaving school and her life was changed forever. A passion for working with historic equipment and weaving traditional textiles was ignited in that first six-week session and has continued on for the last forty years. Kate became Norman's apprentice and until the school closed in 1992, she absorbed herself completely in the world of dyeing, spinning, and weaving. As a result of the school closing, she founded what was to become Eaton Hill Textile Works—a textile studio dedicated to recreating historic textiles using traditional tools and techniques, and continued to teach students on a small scale. In a response to requests from former students of MSW, Kate re-opened the Marshfield School of Weaving in its original location in 2007. She continues to pass on her love of textiles to students and her staff at Eaton Hill and, has never gone scuba diving. 

Norman Kennedy

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Justin’s earliest memories of his grandmother are also his first memories of wool. An avid spinner, weaver, and dyer, Justin’s grandmother taught him how to spin wool on a great wheel that descended in his mother’s family while he was still a child. By his teenage years his interests grew to spinning flax and weaving, clearing most of the space in his bedroom to accommodate a historic four-post loom. In 2007, while working at Plimoth Plantation, Justin learned of Norman and Kate and spent several winter layoffs at Marshfield learning traditional weaving technique. In 2013 he left the museum field and returned to Marshfield to weave for Kate’s Eaton Hill Textiles, and in 2017 started his own business, The Burroughs Garret. Currently, Justin weaves linen damask using a 19th-century Jacquard loom and serves as Marshfield’s lead instructor. He is dedicated to rebuilding a connection between today’s weavers and the handweaving tradition that existed before the 20th century.


Dosia Sanford is an artist and weaver working between New York City and Marshfield, Vermont. Growing up in Marshfield, she didn’t find the school until 2013 while home visiting family. A short meeting with Kate one afternoon turned into a month-long work study, and led to almost a decade of dedication to both the school and the craft. Dosia’s interest as a teacher is to bridge a tradition based in efficiency and skill with contemporary artists and craftspeople, bringing a “learn the rules to break the rules” approach to teaching. Her personal work is always a nod to this relationship, primarily working with plant dyes to make colorful rugs and hand painted warps.


 Our  Guest Instructors

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Melissa Weaver Dunning

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Melissa Weaver Dunning

Graham Keegan

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Juniper Headshot

Rosemary Wexler


Marina Contro


Joann Darling


Noel Guetti

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