Conference Instructors--MAFA 2015 Workshop Weekend

Sharon Alderman
Salt Lake City, Utah
Sharon Alderman began weaving in the fall of 1969 and has been weaving nearly every day since. She began teaching in 1976 after being awarded the Certificate of Excellence by the Handweavers Guild of America that summer. She has had three books and about 160 magazine articles published. Her enthusiasm about weaving and joy in its execution are a huge part of her life.

TopPolly Barton
Ojo Caliente, New Mexico
Polly Barton was born in New York City. She studied Art History at Barnard College and has lived and traveled in Paris, Florence, and Rome. In 1981 she moved to Kameoka, Japan to study with master weaver, Tomohiko Inoue, living in the religious heart of the Oomoto Foundation. She returned to New York in 1982, married, and continued to weave on her Japanese tsumugi silk kimono looms. In 1989, she and her husband bought land in Ojo Caliente, New Mexico. They are now based in Santa Fe. A nationally recognized and award winning artist, she shows her woven silk ikat paintings on both coasts, and her works are collected by the Art Institute of Chicago; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; and by important private collectors. Her work has been published in numerous magazines including Hali Magazine, FiberArts, Surface Design Journal and American Craft. She is a member of the Textile Society of America, Friends of Fiber Arts International, the Surface Design Association, the Textile Study Group of New York, and the Handweaver’s Guild of America. She has taught private students and small workshops in her Santa Fe studio, at Penland School of Crafts, and the MidAtlantic Fiber Association.

TopSara Bixler
Dover, PA
Sara Bixler is an instructor at the Mannings Handweaving School in East Berlin, Pennsylvania. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Bachelor of Science in K-12 education. Sara is a frequent contributor to Handwoven, Craft Daily and Weaving Today. She has been hosted by several mid-Atlantic weaving guilds for discussions on Color Relationships in Weaving where her primary focus of studies has been. Sara has a broad range of knowledge across a variety of fiber arts. Her eclectic interest can be seen in her various works.

TopMichelle Boyd
Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada
Michelle Boyd is a spinner, knitter, weaver and writer who lives in Northern Canada. Educated as a graphic artist, Michelle has pursued a career in fiber arts for over 30 years, working in such diverse areas as theatrical costuming and fiber consultation for farmers. Michelle graduated from Olds College’s Master Spinner program in 2007 and she now instructs Master Spinner classes, both on and off campus, as well as contributing to curriculum development and writing about spinning for publications like Spin-Off, PLY, and Goats Across Canada. In addition, she is currently the Workshop Coordinator for Fiber Week at Olds College but still manages to find time to play at the spinning wheel. You can learn more about Michelle at and on her blog at

TopSu Butler
Woodstock, Illinois
Su Butler earned her B.F.A. in Fibers and Watercolor painting in 1977 from The University of Northern Colorado, in Greeley, Colorado. For 37+ years she has been fascinated with the process of interlacing threads to form cloth. Weave structure, color interaction and surface design continue to keep her spellbound. “From plain weave on 4 shafts with handpainted and embellished yarns, to complex structures on 24 shafts with very fine yarn, every aspect of interlacing and creating fabric intrigues me. I have always loved to work with my hands, beginning weaving at age three. To me weaving is a tactile dialogue. Given limited elements and equipment restrictions, I can play with all the techniques I have learned through the years to create cloth that is uniquely my own. Each time I create something new the experience helps push me beyond my limits, allowing me to grow as a craftsperson and artist. My first book, Understanding Rayon Chenille, was released in December 2002, and re-issued as a CD in August 2009. I have articles published in Handwoven and Weaver’s magazines and the Complex Weavers Journal. I am currently working to finish a new book on tied weaves.”

TopCathie Chung
Falls Church, VA
Weavers are often described as either color people or structure people. Cathie Chung needs both. The color is what catches the eye, but the structure is what allows weavers to manipulate the color and texture. A Japanese braiding class over 20 years ago led Cathie on to explore multi-harness weaving. Just Our Yarn (JOY) is owned by Cathie and Diane Smith, who came together because of their love of fiber. The two of them bead, weave, braid, spin, dye, knit and crochet. JOY was founded on their experience teaching and managing a retail shop for a fiber arts school. Cathie and Diane hand-paint yarn in small batches. Each color-way is unique and will not be dyed exactly the same again. The colors and fibers are designed to indulge the senses

TopMarg Coe
Tuscon, AZ
Margaret’s early introduction to computers (1970’s) at the same time as teaching spinning, dyeing, and weaving, led her to focus on digital design and weave structures. She has completed college studies in graphic design with concentrations in web design and digital approaches to weave design. Margaret is the author of: 4-8 . . . Weave!; Fit 2 Be Tied - a digital approach; Designing 4 the Future; and 2 Be Tied or Not 2 Be Tied - book 1 not tied.

TopJason Collingwood
Colchester, Essex, UK
Having briefly and rather reluctantly learnt to weave at 18, Jason returned to the discipline 6 years later. The intervening years were spent pursuing a largely unsuccessful career as a pop star. He set up his own workshop in 1986, located in Nayland, Suffolk. Over the last 28 years Jason has woven to commission somewhere in the region of 2,000 rugs mostly for private individuals, though also for some corporate clients, and worked with numerous architects and interior designers. His larger commissions include 24 rugs for the Sheraton hotel in Dar es Salaam, in Tanzania; and a series of rugs for a “castle” in Switzerland. Exhibitions include a one man show in Amsterdam and two man shows in Oxford, Connecticut (USA), and Portland (USA). The rugs can be woven to any size and colour way, are strong and durable for use on the floor, but equally can be used as wall-hangings. In addition to designing and weaving, Jason spends three to four months each year teaching at various art schools in North America, Australia and Europe. This has led to Jason having his own brand of rug wool available in the USA, as well as instructional DVD’s and publications.

TopInge Dam
Schomberg, Ontario
Inge Dam is the author of Tablet-Woven Accents for Designer Fabrics: Contemporary Uses for Ancient Techniques. She has taught workshops in the US, Canada, and England, and taught for Convergence. She has won many awards for her work and her work has appeared in Weaver’s, Handwoven, Shuttle, Spindle & Dyepot, Fibre Focus, and GCW Bulletin. She weaves on a 32-shaft Louet Megado dobby loom and specializes in weaving unique garments. In some of her garments she incorporates tablet weaving and other embellishments.

TopBarbara Diefenderfer
Hagerstown, Maryland
Barbara has been the Weaving Teacher in Residence at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts in Hagerstown, Maryland. She has woven for over 35 years and taught for more than 30. In her First career she taught tailoring and general clothing construction in public schools. She is a familiar lecturer on various weaving topics in the Mid-Atlantic region. She earned a Master Weaver certification from Potomac Craftsmen Guild in 1987 and was a member of the committee creating the Guild Advancement Program for the Central Pennsylvania Guild. While Barbara is enthusiastic about every aspect of weaving, she particularly enjoys creating unusual combinations of weave structures and weaving with fine threads to produce unique clothing. Perhaps her greatest thrill comes from turning on the light bulbs of novice and advancing weavers – directly reflecting her belief that there are always new things to learn about weaving.

TopChad Alice Hagen
Asheville, North Carolina
Chad Alice Hagen has been a felt maker exploring the resist dyeing of hand felted wool since 1979. Richly dyed colors and multilayered surface markings are the trademarks of her years of intensive explorations with resist. Her felt work can be found in major collections and have appeared on the covers of Surface Design Journal, Fiberarts and Shuttle, Spindle & Dyepot. She is the author of three books: The Weekend Crafter: Feltmaking (2002); Fabulous Felt Hats (2005); and The Fabulous Felt Scarf (2007) all published by Lark Books. She is currently working on her next book, Resist Dyeing on Handfelted Wool. She earned her BA and MS from University of Wisconsin and MFA from Cranbrook. Chad maintains a full-time book making and resist dyeing studio in Asheville, North Carolina, and teaches workshops in the US and Europe.

TopLinda Hartshorn
Eureka, CA
Linda is an award winning weaver known for unique dyework and lively use of color in her handwoven textiles. Linda teaches weaving in Eureka, California. She enjoys weaving at her studio in the mountains as well as travelling the country with her dyepots and looms.

TopKaren Heppen
Havre de Grace, MD
Karen Heppen and Jen Weber, the Temari Twins, have been “hooked on temari” since first seeing the beautiful thread balls during a guild daytrip. They have been stitching together for several years and happily admit to their obsession, although it has not made them desert their other fiber arts interests. (Karen is a weaver; Jen a weaver and spinner). Jen is a mathematician and a scientist; she loves nothing better than to delve into the fascinating spatial relationships inherent in temari. Karen is a pragmatist and likes to take the simplest path from “here to there” to create color and design. Their team teaching approach provides a variety of ways to learn and enjoy this beautiful folk art. More information about the Temari Twins can be found on their website:

TopBarbara Herbster
Manchester by the Sea, Massachusetts
Barbara’s pleasure is teaching and sharing the excitement and knowledge of weaving with others. Her work has a contemporary direction which she achieves through clean design and a strong sense of color. Barbara has a BS degree in Art Education from Montclair State University in New Jersey and has been teaching and lecturing in New England for 35 years. Barbara’s woven work has appeared in numerous articles for Handwoven magazine and her chenille shawl is pictured on the cover of Interweave Press’ “Design Collection #19”. In an article for Handweavers Guild of America she led a learning exchange about Bamboo yarn for weavers. She enjoys designing for galleries and commissions for public spaces.

TopBobbie Irwin
Montrose, CO
A weaver since 1973, Bobbie Irwin is the author of three textile related books and has published dozens of articles in more than a dozen fiber/textile and craft publications in three countries. On a freelance basis, she has worked in various editorial capacities for Interweave Press since 1987 and is a former columnist for Handwoven and Piecework. She has traveled to teach for guilds, conferences, shops, and schools in 36 states and two Canadian provinces since 1985. Bobbie loves textile research, especially topics that have not previously been covered extensively in the literature. From her studio in Montrose, Colorado, she takes an active role in reviving historical techniques in a modern context, and pushing the limits of contemporary weaving. Her ongoing study of iridescent fabrics is one of her most extensive.

TopSarah Jackson
Santa Ana, CA
Sarah H. Jackson earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts, concentration in textile design, from the University of Kansas. She owns a business dedicated to designing and marketing textiles and is a frequent contributor and technical editor for Handwoven. She received the HGA Award for Weaving in the yardage exhibit for Convergence 2012.

TopTom Knisely
Dover, PA
Tom Knisely is the general manager and resident weaving instructor at The Mannings Handweaving Studio and Supply Center. Tom has made his career at The Mannings over a span of four decades. Along with teaching many different aspects of weaving, Tom enjoys teaching spinning and dyeing as well. Tom was voted weaving Teacher of the Year by Handwoven. Tom has done several instructional videos on weaving through Interweave Press and has recently released his book on weaving rag rugs through Stackpole Press. He is currently working on a new book all about weaving baby blankets that will have more than 40 different baby blanket designs with lots of ideas on what yarns and threads work best for baby blankets. Tom lives in rural York County, PA. When he is not weaving, spinning or collecting antique textiles for study, Tom loves to work in his garden.

TopDenise Kovnat
Rochester, New York
Denise Kovnat has been a knitter since childhood, encouraged by her mother, teachers, and her grandmother, who was a skilled knitter despite her blindness. In 1998 she began to study weaving and joined the Weavers’ Guild of Rochester. Texture and color delight her most. Denise weaves, dyes, knits, sews, and spins, in addition to teaching and selling her garments throughout the Northeast. Denise’s garments have been juried into the fashion shows at Convergence 2008, 2010, and 2012 (with 2014 yet to be announced at this writing) sponsored by the Handweavers’ Guild of America. She has received awards from the Handweavers’ Guild of America, the Weavers’ Guild of Rochester, and the Corn Hill Arts Festival. Aside from this, the work Denise is most proud of, to date, is serving on the founding team of the Weaving and Fiber Arts Center in Rochester in 2002.

TopRuby Leslie
Hardwick, VT
Ruby Leslie maintains a full-time weaving and teaching studio in northern Vermont, where she designs her own line of handwovens as Ruby Charuby Weavings. Boundless enthusiasm for sampling and experimenting, especially with color and its interaction with structure, has guided Ruby’s creative endeavors from the beginning of her weaving career more than 25 years ago. Handwoven’s invitation to become a contributing member of their Color Forecast series, and creating swatches on a regular basis, was the impetus for Ruby to streamline her design process. This fueled her desire to share her insights about how to successfully integrate color, structure and yarn in weaving without having to dye yarn or rely on recipes. She has taught above the Arctic Circle in northern Norway, as well as at Convergence, regional conferences and guilds throughout the US. She was one of three weaver/designer teams invited by the Handweavers Guild of America to create a collaborative runway ensemble for the second Design Fashion Challenge at Convergence 2010 in Albuquerque, NM. The rhythms of her looms inspired her children to produce a music video “Getya Loom Goin” for their “Ma, the Weava”:

TopAnita Luvera Mayer
Anacortes, WA
Anita Luvera Mayer is a designer of contemporary clothing inspired by ethnic originals with finishes and embellishments done by hand. These garments are designed to be wearable, are constructed from simple shapes, and include a wide range of surface decoration. The instructor’s work has been included in national and international exhibits. She is the author of five books and a recent DVD. Anita believes there should be something magical and unique about what is worn each day and she shares that concept of clothing through her workshops and lectures.

TopGay McGeary
Carlisle, PA
Gay has been researching and weaving coverlets for over twenty years. She is fascinated with nineteenth century coverlet patterns, weave structures, and fringe techniques. She uses her research as her inspiration for her artistic interpretation of early coverlets. With the assistance of weaving software to test her fabric analysis, Gay has drafted several hundred early coverlets. In recent years she has concentrated most of her research on coverlets woven by Pennsylvania German weavers who have left a legacy of handwoven coverlets and handwritten pattern manuscripts. She designs her work with the use of block designs to create patterns combined with a variety of weave structures in order to capture the traditional flavor. Gay is a regular contributor to the Complex Weavers Journal and is the chair for the Early American Coverlet Study Group. She gives presentations and workshops to local and regional weavers guilds. Her work can be seen at a number of galleries in the Central Pennsylvania area. Further information about her research and weaving can be found on her website at

TopJennifer Moore
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Whether it is in her striking doubleweave wallpieces or elegant wearables, Jennifer Moore is widely known for her luminous color gradations and distinctive designs that are at once both balanced and dynamic. Jennifer’s weaving has been widely exhibited for the past thirty years, and has won awards throughout the United States and abroad. Her work has been published in numerous magazines and in several books in the Fiberarts Design series. Jennifer holds a Master of Fine Arts in weaving from the University of Oregon, where she specialized in exploring relationships between weaving, music and mathematics in doubleweave wallpieces. She currently maintains a studio in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and travels throughout the world giving lectures and workshops in weaving and design. She is the author of The Weaver’s Studio: Doubleweave published by Interweave Press.

TopJohn Mullarkey
St. Louis, MO
John Mullarkey has been tablet weaving and spinning for almost a decade. He has had works displayed in the Missouri History Museum, and won awards from Interweave for garments submitted to Handwoven. He is the primary author of A Tabletweaver’s Pattern Book and has two new DVDs available on tablet weaving. He continues to find new ways to weave with this ancient technique.

TopMartha Owen
Murphy, NC
Martha began her adventure in spinning at the John C. Campbell Folk School, (founded in 1925), in Brasstown, North Carolina in 1978. Since 1980 her extended family has included sheep and angora rabbits. Also a banjo player (since 1973) and known to tell a story or two, Martha’s interest in sheep and wool, music and dance, have carried her quite literally and joyfully around the world. Some say she is a wool nerd but her sheep say she is outstanding in her field! Martha became a member of the Southern Highlands Craft Guild in 1988, is a Resident Artist at the John C. Campbell Folk School (, and co-owner of Yarn Circle ( in Murphy, NC, a store catering to fiber enthusiasts.

TopAndrea Mielke Schroer
Rudolph, Wisconsin
Andrea Mielke Schroer has been sharing the joy of spinning for over 20 years, teaching across the nation at festivals, conferences, schools, and guilds. Her teaching style has been described as patient, knowledgeable, and thorough. She has written for Spin-Off , PLY, and Fiberline.

TopNorma Smayda
Saunderstown, RI
Norma Smayda, a weaver, teacher, exhibitor and juror, learned to weave in Norway and has occasionally returned there to teach. In 1974 she established and continues to run the Saunderstown Weaving School. She has an MFA in Visual Design from the University of Massachusetts, and has received the Weavers’ Guild of Boston Distinguished Achievement Award, The New England Weavers’ Seminar Weaver of Distinction, and the Handweavers Guild of America Award of Excellence. Norma has written articles for weaving journals and books, and is coauthor of Weaving Designs by Bertha Gray Hayes . Norma’s special interests include Scandinavian weaving, and the works of William Henry Harrison Rose and Bertha Gray Hayes.

TopMimi Smith
Pittsford, New York
Mimi Smith has been weaving for about thirty years, First as a production weaver of hand-woven clothing, and for the last twenty as a teacher of many different textile applications. She has taught both adults and youth in a variety of settings from fiber shops to the state psychiatric center and has given workshops and seminars both regionally and nationally. Currently she is teaching at the Weaving and Fine Arts Center run by the Weavers’ Guild of Rochester, New York, and at the Creative Workshop of the Memorial Art Gallery affiliated with the University of Rochester. Her special interests include unusual weave structures and experimenting with tie-ups and treadlings. Always searching to bring out the creativity in each student, she is continually researching new techniques to share with her classes.

TopRobyn Spady
Bremerton, Washington
Robyn Spady was introduced to handweaving as a baby with her handwoven baby blanket woven by her great-grandmother. Inspired by her “blankie,” she learned to weave at a young age and has been weaving for over 40 years. She completed HGA’s Certificate of Excellence (COE) in 2004 with the specialized study “Loom-controlled Stitched Double Cloth.” Robyn is fascinated by the infinite possibilities of crossing threads and loves coming up with new ideas to create fabric and transform it into something new and exciting. She is committed to turning the weaving world on to double-faced fabrics, four-shaft weaves, uncommon and advanced weave structures, and narrow warp weaves.

TopRegina St. John
Amherst MA
Regina and Dan St John are a marbling and bookbinding team who have owned and operated Chena River Marblers for 28 years. They teach widely and specialize in the marbling of fine papers and silks.

TopMarjie Thompson
Cumberland, Maine
Marjie Thompson enjoys being “stuck” in the pre-20th century weaving world. Her focus is the textiles produced both at home and by the professional weavers. Marjie enjoys adapting these weaves to contemporary colors and uses. She is the coordinator of the Complex Weavers “Early Weaving Books and Manuscripts” study group, past president of NEWS, a past Dean of WGB (1996-1998), past president of Complex Weavers, an active guild member in Weavers’ Guild of Boston, New Hampshire Weavers’ Guild, and a member of many study groups including Cross Country Weavers. Her woven pieces have received the HGA award, Handwoven’s Weaving for the Home Award. Marjie is one of a handful of weavers awarded the “Weaver of Distinction” title from NEWS in both the gallery and fashion shows. She is the coauthor of Forgotten Pennsylvania Textiles of the 18th and 19th Centuries, The Huck Pattern Collection, Miniature Patterns for Weaving by Josephine Estes, and the editor of The Gartner Manuscript. Her articles have appeared in Weaver’s, Handwoven, Complex Weavers Journal, Shuttle, Spindle & Dyepot, and The Spinning Wheel Sleuth’s Loom Supplement.

TopKathe Todd-Hooker
Albany, Oregon
Kathe Todd-Hooker has been a tapestry weaver since 1980. She has a deep and abiding interest in historical textiles, symbols, and how those symbols have been used in textiles. Ms. Todd-Hooker has exhibited her art work both nationally and internationally. She holds a Masters degree in Craft Design, History, and Clothing, Textiles and Related Arts. She lectures locally and nationally on design, tapestry, and the Russian Old Believer. Her primary focus for the last several years has been in small scale/small format tapestries. Ms. Todd- Hooker also teaches workshops in tapestry technique, color theory, design and journaling. In her spare time she is writing books on tapestry technique, avoiding housework, reading, and tormenting family and friends. She is a member of HGA, the now defunct Tapestry Forum, a former Board Member for the American Tapestry Alliance (ATA), and past President/Vice President of the Corvallis Handweavers Guild. Kathe co-owns (with Pat Spark) Fine Fiber Press, where they publish and write books on tapestry and felting and sell supplies for these media. Kathe has written four books, Shaped Tapestry, Lines in Tapestry, Tapestry 101, and So-Warped. With Pat Spark she has written articles on Russian Old Believers and Journaling. Websites:,

TopAmy Tyler
Lake Ann, Michigan
First a dancer, then a neuroscientist and professor, Amy now devotes herself fulltime to the fiber arts. Amy has taught spinning and knitting at venues across the country and is well known for her animated and engaging teaching style. She has published articles in Spin-Off and PLY. Her art and science backgrounds give her a keen understanding of learning movement skills, composition, pattern recognition, and systematic exploration. The result is her focus on spinning and knitting technique, texture, three-dimensional structure, and knit designs that exploit handspinning techniques. You can find out more about her work on her website, and on her blog,

TopBarbara J. Walker
Salem, Oregon
Barbara J. Walker is passionate about ply-splitting and weaving. She is an active member of Northwest Designer Craftsmen, has taught at the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, holds HGA’s Master Certificate of Excellence in Handweaving, and has conducted workshops and seminars in the US, England, and Canada. Her work has been exhibited internationally, and two of her pieces are the only examples of ply-splitting in Lark Books’ 500 Baskets . She is an enthusiastic educator and has had numerous articles published in major weaving publications. She published Ply-Splitting from Drawdowns: Interpreting Weave Structures in Ply-Split Braiding in 2012.

TopHeather Winslow
Sugar Grove, IL
Heather Winslow is a fibre artist working mainly in the area of handwoven clothing. She considers her garment designs as three dimensional sculptures which use subtle simplicity to adorn the body in a very positive way and make the wearer feel “special” by the very act of putting it on. She often incorporates other fibre techniques such as knitting, crochet, spinning, dyeing, braiding, beading, and needlework to provide that “finishing touch” which makes each garment unique. Nature is an important part of her life and it provides most of her design inspirations. Heather loves to interpret what she sees around her either directly or indirectly through color or texture. Her one-of-a-kind garments have been exhibited internationally and are in several private collections and books. Heather’s educational background is in teaching and after 47 years, she still has a passion to share her knowledge with others. She teaches all aspects of garment design at conferences and guilds. Heather is a faculty member of The Fine Line Creative Arts Center in St. Charles, Illinois. She has several articles published in national fibre magazines and is the author of a weaving book, MORE ON MOORMAN, Theo Moorman Inlay Adapted to Clothing.

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