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Location:
Geneva
Phone:
(260) 385-1812
Medium:
Weaving / Textiles
Availability:
Indiana Artisan Store / French Lick Resort Hotel
FEATURED WORK
Sherry Studebaker

“Each piece I weave is unique based on the material and process of putting them together. I strive for visual impact on each woven piece.”

Sherry Studebaker has always enjoyed working with her hands, making something she could use. When she was growing up, she learned to sew, took ceramics classes, and caned and wove chair seats. She has owned an antique store, refinished furniture and taken stained glass lessons.

“But my chosen craft is weaving. I love to weave,” the Indiana Artisan said. “It is both relaxing and rewarding. When my hobby outgrew my home, and I decided to buy more looms, we built a beautiful weaving studio onto the house that overlooks a lake. That is my happy place!”

Sherry is proud to carry on Indiana’s long and rich weaving heritage. Pioneers used weaving as a source of income, along with producing textiles for their families’ needs. She produces artistic and functional rugs, table runners, place mats, and wall hangings.

She’s also proud to be carrying on a family tradition that was, quite literally, handed down by her grandfather.

“As long as I can remember, my grandfather, who was born and raised in Jay County, Indiana, was a weaver,” Sherry said. “I always was fascinated with the process of him picking the colors of warp (the vertical threads) and weft (the horizontal material), as well as the act of weaving itself. His two looms always were colorfully warped and his weft was mainly jean-type material that he acquired from a coverall factory in Portland, Indiana. His rugs, displayed on special hangers in his weaving shop, really inspired me.”

When her grandfather could no longer weave, he asked Shery if she would like to have his loom. “I joyfully said yes, and he taught me the process of dressing the loom (setting it up) and the techniques of weaving,” she said. “Most of the items I produce are woven on the loom that belonged to my grandfather.”

She has been weaving and developing her fine craft since 1980, and before selling her work, Sherry dedicated herself to improving her technique and artistry. “I pay great attention to the details of each piece to provide quality and pleasing aesthetics. I keep the selvedge edges straight and uniform in size and shape. The weft texture and pattern provides visual impact to the woven article.”

Sherry considers both color and texture to create something visually appealing and also fully functional. Traditional rugs and coverlet patterns also have an impact on her 21st century work. Her technique is time-honored and time-demanding; her vocabulary sounds like code to a non-weaver.

After thoughtfully selecting fibers, she cuts strips of fabric to width and sews them together to make enough material for the entire project, then dresses the loom with warp. “I pick the warp colors that complement the weft I’m using. Based on the width of the project, I determine the number of sections needed on the warping beam,” she said. “There are 24 threads on each section for a 12-dent-per-inch reed. I use a spool rack to hold the warp bobbins and wind the amount wanted on each section. A tension box organizes and controls the warp as it is wound on the warp beam. The warp is then sleighed into the heddles of a shaft to make a pattern.

“The next step is to draw the threads through the reed and attach them to the front apron. Tension on each thread is adjusted to provide uniformity to the woven object. A header is then woven to start the normal weft process and to provide a method to finishing the ends when it is removed from the loom. Weft continues to be passed through the warp to the finished length of the woven object. I then add a header to the final end to lock in the weft and allow for detailed finishing. Once the project is removed from the loom, I tie a knotted fringe, twist a fringe, braid a fringe, or sew a binding made from a wide header to finish the warp ends.”

On having her work become part of the Indiana Artisan brand, Sherry said she is “thrilled and honored to receive this distinguished recognition. I have always been interested in people’s abilities to create. I have been to several Indiana Artisan shows over the years and always thought it would be amazing to be a part of this group, and now I am!”

Whether weaving is Sherry’s final frontier or just another stop along her crafting journey, her weaving sets high standards in design and construction, always by hand and always something the collector finds useful.