Alice Gillespie

Studio 2

I have been making things with yarn and fabric for most of my life.  My mother was interested in various needle arts, and taught me the basic skills of knitting before I was 10.  My great  aunt, a former art teacher, inspired me as well. Her talents ranged from sewing clothing to all kinds of fanciful paper and mixed media crafts. As a result, I sewed, knit ,and did different types of needle crafts through high school and college.

I never considered the arts as a career path – I completed college with a degree in nursing, and worked in the field until retiring.  I have continued to pursue fiber arts as a hobby and my interest has grown over the years.   In the early 70’s, I watched someone spinning yarn, and soon had the opportunity to take a class.  Being able to make my own yarn was thrilling!  I got a spinning wheel – I took a natural dyeing class. I gathered black walnuts and goldenrod and cooked up pots of dye for my yarn.  I thought I would not be interested in weaving – but I was soon borrowing every weaving book in the library and  teaching myself the basics, and soon I had to purchase a loom.

I love combining different aspects of fiber art, and starting at different points in the process to create a finished piece.  I might knit myself a sweater with purchased yarn and pattern.  I can also start with raw fleece, or use prepared,dyed fleece for hand-spinning and combine the results with commercial yarns in a piece that I have designed myself.

I have done some more experimenting with dyeing – my approach is not very systematic, but it is more fun that way.  Projects with hand-dyed yarns include a series of woven scarves, and a sweater with “rescued” yarn.

I continue to seek sources of new inspiration and excitement for my fiber work – color, texture, pattern, and construction techniques are all waiting for me!