Mediums: Fiber Arts, Handweaving
Amy Blair is a drawloom weaver who creates original, whimsical textiles using time-honored techniques and materials. Formal training at the Vävstuga Weaving School in Shelburne Falls, MA has given her a deep knowledge of Swedish methods and structures, including damask, Opphämta, and other multi-harness techniques. Although Amy is endlessly inspired by the weavings of old, her focus is on the re-imagining of traditional designs to reflect the world she sees around her. Lehigh Valley born and bred, she is as likely to include steel mills and automobiles in her pieces as she is the folk motifs of weavers past. Ever grateful for the help and encouragement she has received from generous experts over the years, Amy is now passing on her own experience via publications and a YouTube channel dedicated to the how and why of double-harness weaving.
Amy has been granted Master Artisan status by the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen on the strength and execution of her original damask designs. Amy’s studio, Duelling Rabbits, is named after her signature piece.
Why a drawloom? To me, it is the perfect synthesis of art and science. The engineer in me delights in the mechanical genius of the thing and my creative side is drawn to the complex designs it makes possible on cloth. I find endless inspiration in the work of drawloom-weavers past – it is a transformative joy to consider Elfrida Svensson’s monumental damask ‘View from my Window’ with its Swedish gardens and windmills and imagine how the design might become the view of Bethlehem’s Third Street from my car or my own kitchen though its dining-room doorway. The drawloom allows me to connect with the weavers who came before me but enables me to create pieces that are true to the times in which I live. With damask weaving I can channel my imagination and my humor – and tell stories that are relevant to me and my community.