Schacht Spindle Company: How long have you been weaving?
Stephanie Flynn Sokolov: I have been weaving since I was a small child. The first loom I remember was the potholder loom and weaving with loopers. Fast forward to High School where I found a piece of wood in a storage closet and asked the teacher what it was. He said he thought it was a loom but wasn’t sure. When in doubt go to the library, the librarian helped me with the search. After finding books on weaving, I determined the loom I found was an inkle loom. Then to the Rochester Public Library where I discovered a book on how to warp the loom. I wove bands for about a year then lost interest. Warp speed to 1997 when I arrived in Boulder Colorado and was introduced to Shuttles Spindles and Skeins. There I learned to spin and in 2000, how to weave on a shaft loom. Today I weave mostly on my Baby Wolves, Wolf Pup, and rigid heddle looms, but I have to confess last week the Inkle Loom was unearthed and it seems to beckon me.
SSC: How did you get your start in textile arts?
SFS: I have been working with textiles since about age 6 when my mother first handed me a needle, thread, and fabric. I grew up around very creative people and was always encouraged to make before buying. My grandmothers and mother sewed on almost a daily basis and though I was under foot, I helped when I could. After abandoning my college ambition to become a Biomechanical Engineer, I did a 180 and graduated with a degree in Retail Merchandising. I continued on to the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York to start designing and get my degree in Accessory Design.
SSC: Can you describe your creative process?
SFS: Usually I sketch out a design contemplating what weave structure or yarn would best suit the project. The weave structure I decide to explore determines the loom that I will warp. This is where my fun begins. I love to sample. Most of the time I have to warp the loom between 3 and 6 times before I am happy with the sett, structure and yarn choice. Once the project has come this far it feels finished and the actual weaving and finishing sometimes feels like a chore.
SSC: Where do you get your design inspiration?
SFS: I find inspiration everywhere, especially in movies, magazines, literature and nature.
SSC: If you could give a beginner weaver some advice, what would it be?
SFS: Sample, even if it is not for a project. Enjoy the process. If you discover there is any part that feels like drudgery find out if there is a tool to speed that part up. Mine is the warping mill.
SSC: Do you have an all-time favorite project of yours?
SFS: I would have to say a pillow I wove on my rigid heddle a couple years ago with a honey comb weave structure, inspired by The Weavers Idea Book.
SSC: If so, what is it, and why?
SFS: My family fights over it during movie time, so I know I nailed it!