WHO WE ARE
NORMAN KENNEDY - FOUNDER
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.
KATE SMITH - DIRECTOR
After completing a degree in Biology in 1976, Kate Smith enrolled in a 6 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, VT. 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, VT 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 6 week session and has continued on for the last 40 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 former location in 2007and became its Director and Head Teacher. She continues to pass on her love of textiles to students and her staff at Eaton Hill and.....has never gone scuba diving.
Our Support Staff
OUR MONTHLY STUDENTS IN TEACHER TRAINING
Patty Lewis, Tess Bacevicius, Christina Sacalis & Lydia Wild. (Not shown - Heather Pipino)
The monthly students here at MSW come for 2 days a week to use our looms, take part in instruction and work on their own projects. Some of them have been coming for years and are now pursuing professional careers on their own. This particular group of mothly students have now entered a teaching training program here at MSW and will be helping to teach our beginning weaving classes this coming year.
NELLY DETRA - HEAD TEACHER
Nelly Detra grew up in the weaving studio of a dear friend in Guilford, Vt. She has a BA in Environmental Humanities and Textile Anthropology from Sterling College in Craftsbury, VT. She discovered MSW as a student in college and integrated an internship into her college studies, before being hired as a weaver for Eaton Hill Textile Works. When she's not working on the teaching team at MSW she continues to weave historic fabrics for Eaton Hill.
Our Guest Instructors
Melissa Weaver Dunning
Melissa Weaver Dunning