October 15, 2018

Got a hankering to weave? Slater Mill invites you to just “drop in”!

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(Pawtucket, RI) Need to quell that busy body for a couple of hours? Looking for wholesome activity, or to learn a useful new skill?

Slater Mill in downtown Pawtucket has the answer, and all you need to do is drop in.

On Saturday mornings in August, the mill offers a free Drop In & WEAVE! Program from 10 a.m. to Noon, open-house style, meaning you can show up anytime during those hours, even for a quick try. The program is family-friendly, and suitable for all ages.

“Here’s a chance for the curious fiber artists, young and not-so-young, to try their hand at one of the worlds oldest domestic crafts: handweaving,” said Lori Urso, executive director of the mill.

Urso says weaving, and flax fiber production, can be traced back thousands of years to the Egyptians. Today it perseveres, as has our need for cloth and fabric.
“At Slater Mill, we tell the story every day of how industrialized spinning and weaving changed America in the 18th and early 19th centuries. But handweaving has remained a desired and necessary skill amidst that change, and continues today as one of the most popular and practical forms of fiber art,” Urso notes.

Drop In & WEAVE! invites participants to try their hand on small cardboard looms, and two types of tabletop looms. Slater Mill staff will be on hand to assist, as will more experienced weavers who may drop in at times to educate and inspire participants with their own techniques.

“Our younger participants will work on a cardboard loom, which they are allowed to take home with them,” said Samantha Lavoie, who manages the program. “These are the same looms we give to our visiting school students, and they are great for making bracelets and small items.”

For the bigger “kids,” basic weaving concepts may be tested on a collection of Melissa & Doug brand table looms, and two Cricket looms, recently acquired to enhance the program.

For those who feel they want to take their new-found skill even further, Slater Mill offers a 10-week handweaving class with veteran weaver Suzi Ballenger on Saturday mornings in the spring and fall. Students work on the museum’s full-sized floor looms for the entire session. The next session begins on September 29.

Slater Mill is located at 67 Roosevelt Avenue in Pawtucket. The weaving studio is ADA accessible, located on the mill’s second floor. For more information call 401-725-8638, or visit slatermill.org.

Drop in & WEAVE! is supported by the Phyllis Kimball Johnstone Foundation, Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, the Carter Fund, Berroco yarn company, and the City of Pawtucket.

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