Artist and Teacher Bios

Robyn Josephs-Gallery Assistant-Teacher- Artist-Instructor

I grew up in a tribe of crafty women, many in our family working in textile mills and garment manufacture. Yarn was one of my earliest toys.
I am a multi-media artist,facilitator,educator and nurturer with a major interest in fibers, paper and book arts and spirituality and the arts. I reuse, recycle and use rejectamenta as much as possible.
I love the art and craft of spinning, weaving, all needle arts, getting lots of color on everything,sharing what I know and am passionate about and making a lot of mess in the process.

My work has been widely exhibited and is in many private collections
I have taught hundreds of folks to spin, weave,felt, fold, stamp, ink, stitch and knit and to discover their inner fiber creative selves.
I look forward to being a part of your fiber journey here at Nice Threads.

Eileen Hallman-Advisor-Artist-Instructor

I have been obsessed with cotton since the early 1980s when I learned to spin my home grown colored cotton on a great wheel.  I graduated quickly to the charkha. While I do spin and weave with other fibers, the organic cottons are my passion.   I am involved in research on organic, naturally pigmented, and recycled cottons and in the development of spinning slivers and yarns from these cottons. I am not committed to 100% cotton products; I also blend these cottons with other natural fibers to provide cotton spinners with a wide selection of cotton-rich fibers to choose from.
As an engineer, my background surfaces in my development of tools and techniques; as a weaver, I realized that the charkha spindle was small enough to fit into a shuttle, and if such a thing existed, I could eliminate several steps in the production of cloth. In 1996 I introduced the Khadi Khanoo spindle shuttle so that I could go directly to the loom with my handspun.
Additionally, because I also work with cotton sliver that is colored, I eliminated even more steps between yarn production and patterned cloth production. I began spinning in a color sequence to obtain weft stripes. From there, I added warp stripes using commercial yarns to come up with a single shuttle plaid. The shuttle and the color sequence in the weft combine to simplify the weaving of plaids or weft stripes.
Along the way, I also realized that there is little to no usage of singles in the handweaving world. I began exploring the use and manipulation of yarn energy; any singles yarn has energy, but the amount of twist is very important. I find the hand of a fabric woven with singles is much softer and responsive to the touch than a cloth made with balanced yarns.
In experiments with energy and weave structure, I developed a method to shape cloth on the loom. I call the technique "Crepe & Shape".
There is a dual fascination with both the color play and the dynamics of the cloth made with singles yarns.              The possibilities for live texture are endless, and I expect to be exploring them for a long time.

Leslie Owens-Owner Nice Threads-Artist-Instructor

I grew up in a fiber-centric family - my grandmother was a seamstress for Hart Shaffner Marx and my mother knitted and sewed for her children. My first fiber craft was making octopuses from dime-store yarns, but I graduated into embroidery, crochet, macrame, and sewing while in college. After 25 years as a corporate graphics designer, I came back to fiber when I went to Haywood Community College in 2000 to learn weaving and dyeing. That began my journey into the myriad techniques that comprise the fiber arts.

I found right away that I loved wool and loved to handle it, learning spinning just for the joy of feeling it glide through my fingers. I was an extremely slow weaver, since I just had to stop every few minutes to feel the new cloth I was making. When I discovered felting, a technique that consists of just hands and fiber, with no equipment intervening, I knew I had found my true calling as a feltmaker.

The real discovery was that making felted garments was more like sculpture that any other technique. Starting with the loose wool fibers, I can form the fabric and the garment at the same time, and my weaving liability - handling the cloth to excess - is precisely the technique that creates the garment. Each garment is shaped by my hands, coaxed into three dimensions and finished with a few carefully chosen closures.

Miraculous, a warm, light garment, formed only by my hands.