Graham Keegan Showing Indigo Extraction Outdoor Workshop

Graham Keegan, L.A.-based natural dyer and textile artist, is setting out on a tour across the United States to spread the good word about the magic of Indigo. From May to June 2018, Graham will be stopping in the following cities across the United States to circulate indigo seeds, give away indigo seedlings, and teach indigo dyeing workshops:

Sunday, May 13: All Roads, Yucca Valley CA RESERVE THROUGH ALL ROADS

Thursday, May 17: Weaving Southwest, Arroyo Seco, NM

Saturday, May 19: Marfa TX: El Cosmico, RESERVATION COMING SOON

Monday, May 21: Austin TX: Ft. Lonesome

Wednesday, May 23Manready Mercantile, Houston, TX RESERVE THROUGH MANREADY

Thursday, May 24: Florence, AL: RESERVE THROUGH Idyllwilde 6:00-8:00PM

Saturday, May 26: With Stony Creek Colors at Nashville Farmers Market, Nashville, TN

Thursday, May 31Wollam Gardens, Jeffersonton. VA 5:00-9:00 PM

Saturday, June 2Art In The Age, Philadelphia PA 3:00-5:00 PM (Cocktail Included)

Sunday, June 3Rikumo, Philadelphia, PA RESERVE THROUGH RIKUMO

Thursday, June 7: Tamworth, NH : Tamworth Distilling : 5:00-7:00PM

Sunday, June 10: Burlington VT : Stonecutter Spirits, 3:00-5:00PM

Graham Keegan Persicaria Tinctoria Indigo Plant Growing Indigrowing

Along his route, Graham will share indigo plants and dye knowledge with anyone that wants to begin their indigo cultivation and/or dye journey. His trip is a special opportunity for folks in the cities listed above to get hands-on experience with an indigo dye expert, which is often hard to find in many cities in the United States. You can learn more about his trip and sign up directly for a workshop via his indigo tour website.

At Weaving Southwest, we couldn’t be more excited about hosting Graham on Thursday, May 17 as he makes his way across the southern tier of the United States and heads up to Vermont. There is a rich history of indigo dyeing in the Navajo, Chimayo, Mexican, and Southwest Contemporary weaving traditions that are so important to our region. It is always special to host an educator that can contribute to our knowledge of indigo and natural dyeing. The opportunity to participate in that sort of cultural exchange doesn’t come along very often. We would love you to take a dye workshop with Graham, pick up some seeds or seedlings, or just come to shoot the breeze.

Graham Keegan Hand Dyed Indigo Textiles on Clothesline

It is also not lost on us that there is a broader cultural significance to Graham’s journey.  Living in times of disconnection and polarization, it has never been more important for us to engage in experiences that empower us to make things with our hands, connect us with one another, and build our knowledge of the environment that surrounds us. Art and craft has always held the special ability to build fellowship between small groups of artisans and provide the space to reflect on our connection to the natural world. In this moment, there seems an urgent need for artists and art educators to be the imaginative builders of spaces that foster conversation, skill-sharing, and knowledge of the natural world across social, economic, and ecological divides. Viewed through that broader perspective, Graham’s journey has this special distinction of providing the space to bring forth a blue wave of new indigo dyers and cultivators across the country. We cannot think of many things more beautiful that uniting people living in very different places across the country through a common connection to indigo, a natural dye plant that has retained a deep cultural significance to many cultures throughout the world.

Graham Keegan Brick Wall Workshop Clothesline

In advance of Graham’s visit, he was kind enough to answer a few questions about his natural dye journey and his trip. We hope you enjoy the interview!

Weaving Southwest: How did you get started natural dyeing?

Graham Keegan: Slowly, and with a lot of failures! But I really I started to explore natural dyeing in earnest when I moved to Los Angeles in 2009. At the time I was reeling from the transition from Vermont living to LA living and felt desperate to spend as much time with as many plants as possible. I had been working as a screen print designer and loved the interaction of print and fabric. I’ve always had an interest in doing things as “from scratch” as possible, so I decided to try to grow my own colors and try different ways of getting them on cloth. I was excited by the potential of being able to cultivate almost any plant in the Southern California Mediterranean climate! I started growing dye plants in containers in my apartment and borrowing land from friends who had places to put plants in the ground. As each plant would mature, I researched ways to use it. Once I got comfortable with some of the basics of natural dyeing, I began to explore the local plants in my neighborhood that grow wild : Peruvian pepper (Schinus molle), Tree tobacco (Nicotiana glauca) and Eucalyptus resinifera. I continue to be intrigued by the infinite possibilities under the umbrella of Natural Dyeing.

Graham Keegan Persicaria Tinctoria draped in indigo cloth

WS: Why has natural dyeing been an important skill for you to know while living in the 21st century?

GK: I appreciate primary interactions with the environment! I gain a sense of curiosity, validation and contentment from working with my hands, tending to plants, boiling liquids and discovering “new” processes. These interactions with ingredients in their most basic forms are very grounding and the “work” of natural dyeing actually feels more like a healthy physical experience. The real treat of living in the 21st century is the fact that we have easy access to millenia of collected, recorded research into methods and materials in the form of books, online media and oral history.

Graham Keegan Dye Cup Workshop Indigo Clothesline

WS:You put such an emphasis on your role as a natural dye educator and making natural dyeing a more accessible practice. Why is making natural dye knowledge more accessible important to you?

GK: I honestly just enjoy working through problems and sharing my solutions. There are so many ways to work with natural dyes and sometimes the information out there is incomplete, opaque or under-examined. Being an educator gives my own work a bit of a sense of purpose: I enjoy guiding others through the challenges that I have had the opportunities to overcome myself!

Graham Keegan Indigo Dyeing Workshop Clothesline Hanging

WS: You are traveling across the country—much like a modern day Johnny Appleseed—educating people on indigo dyeing and providing indigo seeds and seedlings. What inspired you to take this journey at this moment?

GK: I’d love to be able to speak to as may people as I can about the possibilities of natural dyes! In terms of this ‘cultural moment’ I really do believe that it is valuable to encourage people to engage with more holistic processes, whatever they may be! I think everyone can benefit from getting their hands in the ground and tending to a life form!

WS: Why did you choose indigo as the natural dye plant to share with folks across the country?

GK: I think working with indigo, from seed to dye, is literally one of the more magical experiences I’ve ever had. The process of extracting the color from the leaves and making it adhere to fabric involves farming, fire, cauldrons, fermentation and color transformation. I’ve found few experiences more gratifying than growing a color and putting it onto a piece of fabric that I give to someone I love. It feels like a primal way of showing respect and adorning those we care about most.

Graham Keegan Indigo Dye Supplies

You can find more information about Graham via his website and instagram. Please visit Graham’s Indigo Tour website to sign up for his indigo dye class at Weaving Southwest.


This session of Neptune, A Study in Building was a great example of how different people use similar techniques and adapt them to their personal style. Vicki went in the realm of curves and playing with color, while Nancy decided to use this technique to create a landscape and Celia took a more contemporary abstract direction. Enjoy!

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Vicki’s Tapestry, Day 1

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Nancy’s Tapestry, Day 1

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Celia’s Tapestry, Day 1

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Celia Weaving

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Vicki’s Tapestry, Day 2

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Nancy’s Tapestry, Day 2

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Celia’s Tapestry, Day 2

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Nancy’s Tapestry, Day 3

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Vicki’s Tapestry, Ready to be cut off the loom

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Nancy’s Tapestry, Fresh off the loom

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Vicki, Nancy and Celia with their beautiful tapestries

Ciao,
Teresa Loveless and all of us here at Weaving Southwest

PS – Thanks for joining us Vicki, Nancy and Celia! It was wonderful having you all in class!

PPS – We would love to hear from you! How do you think their pieces turned out? Leave a comment in the comment section to let us know what you think!

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Our October Interweave, A Study in Angles class was wonderfully challenging and exciting! Our students, Susan and Anne, were both enthusiastic and ready to try new things.

This was Anne’s first time at a loom. The first couple days were a little tricky, though you wouldn’t be able to tell by the beauty of her piece or the progress she was making! The final day, Anne dove into some building techniques to approach the angles and had no troubles at all. By the end of class she had finished a beautiful ocean-inspired piece.

Susan has been weaving for some time now, but had not had much time to explore tapestry techniques. She decided on a very complex design, using multiple angle techniques at the same time. The third day, she decided to play around with some other techniques, including ojos and wavy lines. We finished class with a quick intro into vertical joints, leaving Susan with a beautiful sampler and a great knowledge base for her exploration of tapestry weaving!

Interweave Susan 1

Susan’s Tapestry, Day 2

Interweave Ann 1

Anne’s Tapestry, Day 2

Interweave Susan 2

Susan’s Tapestry, Day 3

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Anne’s Tapestry, Day 3

Interweave Susan Ann Class

Teresa, Susan and Anne at the end of class!

Ciao,
Teresa Loveless and all of us here at Weaving Southwest

PS – Thanks for joining us Susan and Anne! It was wonderful having you all in class!

PPS – We would love to hear from you! How do you think their pieces turned out? Leave a comment in the comment section to let us know what you think!

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We have had yet another wonderful round of Habitat, A Study in Verticals! These five wonderful students kept me on my toes the whole time. We had a wonderful few days together and everyone walked away with their own beautiful tapestry! Lyle had chosen a very complex design, so I had him stay on an extra morning to finish it up. This class was a great success! Below is a photo essay of the class. Enjoy!

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Habitat, A Study in Verticals with Lyle, Jane, Lynda, Shari, and Lee Anne

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Lee Anne’s Tapestry, Day 1

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Lee Anne’s Tapestry, Day 2

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Lee Anne’s Tapestry: Day 3

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Lyle and Jane weaving in our studio

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Shari’s Tapestry, Day 1

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Shari’s Tapestry, Day 2

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Shari’s Tapestry, Day 3

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Lynda’s Tapestry, Day 1

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Lynda’s Tapestry, Day 2

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Lynda’s Tapestry, Day 3

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Teresa showing Lee Anne a few techniques

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Jane’s Tapestry, Day 1

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Jane’s Tapestry, Day 2

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Jane’s Tapestry, Day 3

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Lyle’s Tapestry, Day 1

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Lyle’s Tapestry, Day 2

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Lyle’s Tapestry, Day 3

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Lyle’s Tapestry, Day 4

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Jane and Lyle with their finished tapestries!

Ciao,

Teresa Loveless and all of us here at Weaving Southwest

PS – Thanks for joining us Lee Anne, Shari, Lynda, Jane and Lyle! It was wonderful having you all in class!

PPS – We would love to hear from you! How do you think their pieces turned out? Leave a comment in the comment section to let us know what you think!

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Our summer classes have been a blast! Habitat, A Study in Verticals was the second class we had this season. We had two students for this one, Missy and Bri. Missy had a background in weaving, yet had not done much in the way of Southwestern-Style Tapestry. Bri had never wove before, though she had acquired a loom recently with dreams of becoming a weaver. Both were very successful in their three day exploration of vertical joints!

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Missy and Teresa with Missy’s Beautiful Tapestry

We started class by sketching squares and vertical lines. As the days progressed, so did their designs. We started with Single Dovetail joints and progressed to Triple Dovetail… adding some more contemporary techniques along the way. By the end of class they were able to weave multiple techniques side by side! We also explored some fun plays on color, including Pick n’ Pick, Wavy Lines and Ojos.

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Bri’s Sketch in Progress

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Missy’s Sketch in Progress

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Detail of Bri’s Single Dovetail

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Detail on Missy’s Pick n’ Pick

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Detail of Bri’s Triple Dovetail

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Missy Weaving

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Bri’s Tapestry

Missy completed her tapestry, mastering all the topics covered in class! (I say mastering, because I actually just saw some of the tapestries she wove after class… and they are beautiful!) Bri lives around here so she decided to tackle a larger piece and come in after class was over. She wove several inches after class, without any instruction at all… and it turned out perfect! We cut Bri’s piece off the loom with some extra warp attached, in hopes of being able to tie it up on her loom at home. This may work, or it may not. Either way, she accomplished a lot… and I would definitely consider her a tapestry weaver!

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Missy’s Tapestry Fresh off the Loom

 Ciao,

Teresa Loveless and all of us here at Weaving Southwest

 PS Thanks for joining us Missy and Bri! It was wonderful having you both in class!

PPS We would love to hear from you! How do you think their pieces turned out? Leave a comment in the comment section to let us know what you think!

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Our Summer Classes have been exactly what we had hoped for! We have had a variety of students, ranging from complete beginners to accomplished weavers. We are so excited to share our students work!

Our first class was Neptune, A Study in Building. It was Mindy’s first time at a loom, while Kathie has been weaving for quite some time and recently acquired a Rio Grande Walking Loom of her own!

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Mindy and Kathie with Their Tapestries

We started out the class by tying up the looms and talking about color and design. They then chose a selection of our hand-dyed 2-Ply Tapestry Yarn to work with.

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Mindy’s First Shape

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Kathie Weaving

Once the yarn was prepared and the warp was tight we began to weave! Using the Building Techniques taught in this class, Mindy and Kathie started to create various hill-like shapes… and then filled in the valleys. We explored various techniques, including Pick n’ Pick, Wavy Line and Ojos.

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Mindy Weaving

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Kathie’s First Set of Shapes

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Mindy’s Tapestry, Day 2

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Kathie’s Tapestry, Day 2

Once the pieces were complete, we cut them off the loom and discussed the many ways a tapestry could be finished.

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Mindy’s Tapestry Ready to be Cut Off the Loom

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Kathie’s Tapestry Ready to be Cut Off the Loom

Their tapestries turned out beautiful! And I believe both Kathie and Mindy have great potential to be wonderful tapestry weavers!

Ciao,

Teresa Loveless and all of us here at Weaving Southwest

PS Thanks for joining us Kathie and Mindy! I hope you enjoyed Neptune as much as I did. Happy weaving!

PPS We would love to hear from you! How do you think their pieces turned out? Leave a comment in the comment section to let us know what you think!


Vicky has been talking classes with us for three years now. When she came to town this winter she decided she wanted to rent a loom from us to weave a striped rug. She started by choosing her colors of Rug Yarn and wound all of her bobbins. She chose to weave a random striped rug. However, she wanted some consistency, so she chose four widths to work with 1″, 3″, 5″ and 7″. She wrote each of these numbers down on little pieces of paper and put them into a container. She cut a snippet of each skein of yarn she planned on using and put them in another container. Then she picked out (with eyes closed) a snippet of yarn and a piece of paper. If she choose a 7 and Sunflower, she would weave 7″ of Sunflower! Before she started weaving she also decided to have Black bands on each end of the rug to tie it all together. This was the result…

 

The start of the first section of black

The start of the first section of black

 

The first color... Sunflower!

The first color… Sunflower!

 

The container of snippets and numbers

The container of snippets and numbers

 

Vicky taking her first large rug off the loom!

Vicky taking her first large rug off the loom!

 

A sneak-peek before Vicky unrolls it off of the loom

A sneak-peek before Vicky unrolls it off of the loom

 

Success! Vicky, Joe and Elsi holding up her beautiful striped rug...

Success! Vicky, Joe and Elsi holding up her beautiful striped rug…

 

How Vicky's beautiful random striped rug will look on the floor...

How Vicky’s beautiful random striped rug will look on the floor…

 


Recently I taught Julie Silvian, of Taos Fiber Marketplace, a class on how to weave a poncho. We started with winding a warp using our 2-Ply Tapestry Yarn and a fine Churro Yarn that Julie had dyed. Julie used several of her hand-dyed wools and silks as the weft. These consisted of a variety of textures including boucles, hand-spun thick-n-thins and some sport and worsted weights. She wove two panels of a random combination of stripes. The pieces were cut off the loom, finished up (fringe tied, ends sewn in, etc.) and then stitched together to form a beautiful poncho!

Julie cutting the panels off of the loom

Julie cutting the panels off of the loom

Pulling the weaving off of the loom

Pulling the weaving off of the loom

Julie modeling her beautiful poncho

Julie modeling her beautiful poncho

Detail of the poncho

Detail of the poncho

Julie modeling her beautiful poncho

Julie modeling her beautiful poncho


When we moved in to our new space in Arroyo Seco last October, we set it up so we could have several of our Rio Grande Walking Looms available for classes. We are able to have up to three students at a time, so classes stay small, meaning there is a lot of one-on-one time between the students and the instructor.

Bill's First Weaving

Bill’s First Weaving

In our “Tapestry Weaving on a Walking Loom Class” we start out by tying-up our looms and talking a little about Design and Color.

Bill's Weaving

Bill’s Weaving

Then we jump into Plain Weave and talk about troubleshooting any issues that may arise (curvy edges, bubbly areas, broken warp threads, etc.).

Patsy cutting her weaving off the loom

Patsy cutting her weaving off the loom

Then we begin to weave Vertical Lines, using different types of joints that can be used to create different looks. Then on into Angles and how different types of angles can be used for an endless variety of designs.

Patsy's Tapestry

Patsy’s Tapestry

We also cover some fun design elements such as Pick-n-Pick, Wavy Line, Ojos and Building. Once the weaving is complete and class winds to an end, we cut the tapestry off of the loom and go over finish techniques and a few tricks of the trade.

Sue's Tapestry

Sue’s Tapestry

This class is great for Beginners and those who have never even touched a loom before… all the way to the more Advanced Weaver, who needs a refresher in the Southwestern Style of Tapestry Weaving!

Sue's Weaving

Sue’s Weaving