At our fab 50 award ceremony, we’ll be honoring five very important people who have had a huge hand in not only our success as a company, but also the success of the industry. Here are their photos and bios, so you can get to know them a little more!
Debbie Green started weaving in the late 1960s when her mother, Louise Green, gave her a card loom to take back to her college dorm. Later she progressed to being Debbie Redding and learned to weave on a variety of looms, living in various towns up and down the front range of Colorado. While living in Boulder, where she and her husband Eric bought The Weaving Shop from Barry Schacht, she began teaching and writing in earnest. In 1984 Interweave Press published Learning to Weave. Debbie then became Deborah Chandler and started teaching around the US, among other weaving-related freelance jobs. In 1989, at the age of 40, she momentarily left it all behind and went to Honduras with the Peace Corps. That was her introduction to Central America and fair trade, which led to four years in Houston working for Pueblo to People, and finally moving to Guatemala in 2000. In all of these places she has connected to the resident weaving population, and working with weavers in whatever way presents itself has continued to be her life’s activity. During her time with, and since retiring from, the fair trade organization Mayan Hands Deborah has written three books (two with co-authors) about Guatemalan/Mayan weavers and their textiles. She still weaves on her trusty and beloved Schacht 8-shaft Standard Floor Loom, the very first one ever made.
Linda Ligon started Interweave Press on her dining room table in 1975. It grew and evolved until she sold the company in 2005, at which point she started publishing books on indigenous textiles from all over the world under the Thrums Books imprint. Then in 2019, she entered a partnership to buy back the original flagship magazines: Handwoven, SpinOff, and Piecework, and form a new company, Long Thread Media. Now she’s back to working on her dining room table.
On a whim, Maggie took a drop spindle class and was a complete failure, so she did the only reasonable thing, she bought a spinning wheel. She bought the wheel from Barry, who at the time owned the Weaving Shop.
Back in the Midwest, to keep her future husband happy, Judy took a weaving class and surprised herself by enjoying it so much. Later when they moved to Colorado, Judy stocked up on yarn because she wasn’t sure there would be weavers here.
And so it began.
They met when they both joined a team to compete in the 1982 Sheep to Shawl contest at the Colorado State Fair. The team didn’t win the contest, but had a great time designing the garment and perhaps having a margarita or two. Because it was so much fun, it became a tradition to travel to Pueblo to compete.
As active members of the Handweavers Guild of Boulder they took classes and honed their skills in weaving and spinning as well as volunteering for guild events and selling in the Annual sale. During this time they also did production weaving and started giving programs to HGB and other guilds.
One thing led to another and they started working at the Weaving and Knitting Shop, first as sales staff and then as teachers. Judy taught weaving and Maggie taught spinning.
After a change in ownership of the Weaving and Knitting Shop they decided the time was right to go out on their own.
With teaching as their first love, they decided to open their own shop with an emphasis on learning. So in 1992, Shuttles Spindles & Skeins came to be. Realizing that you can’t provide a strong learning experience without good teachers they hired the best in the area. They also knew that good tools made learning easier so they stocked the shop with the best equipment, books and materials they could find. Choosing Schacht products was an easy decision, they knew from experience the looms and accessories were well designed and easy to use.
Over the years Shuttles grew. They added more staff, hiring people who were in love with fiber as much as they were. They outgrew their old space and moved to a much larger one that offered bigger classroom area and lots more room for yarns, books, fiber and equipment.
In the last 27 years teachers from around the world have taught at Shuttles. Judy and Maggie not only continue to teach, but tech edit spinning and weaving books and articles, write and contribute designs to Handwoven, SpinOff and Ply. Maggie is working on her second spinning book
They’ve traveled far from those first beginning classes. Who could have guessed a drop spindle and a two harness loom would start them on such an amazing journey.
Madelyn van der Hoogt fell in love with weaving in 1971 in Oaxaca, Mexico. In 1984, she opened the Weavers’ School in Fayette, Missouri, and in 1993 moved it to Coupeville, Washington. She has been the editor of The Complex Weavers’ Journal, Weavers’ Magazine, and Handwoven. She is the author of The Complete Book of Drafting and is currently at work on The Complete Book of Weaving.