The Textiles

 

The textiles I create are heirs to centuries of refined aesthetic and technological development. While much of my work may be considered historic reproduction, I ultimately strive to weave cloth that honors the integrity of its material and traditional technique. Built on these principles, my fabrics have a timeless beauty and quality that will outlast my lifetime, never mind the latest design trends. I don’t weave as reenactment, but as a continuation of the Anglo-American hand weaving tradition. While perhaps diminished in scale, it would be incorrect to consider this tradition obsolete thanks to automation. Rather, this process offers unique advantages that are more relevant in the modern age than ever before. 

 

Distinguishing features of my work:

Yarn. I work exclusively with natural materials: wool, silk, cotton, and especially linen. Most often, particularly for historic reproductions, these yarns are singles (a single strand of spun fiber, not plied) which give the fabric a distinct character that cannot be replicated with plied yarns. These yarns are more challenging to work with as a warp and difficult to source, but essential to creating textiles with a look and feel of the highest quality.

Dye. I’m happy to use a commercially dyed yarn if a client requests it, but any dyeing I carry out is done exclusively with natural dyes. Unlike many synthetic dyes which often appear flat, natural dyes have a complex depth of color that harmonize beautifully with each other. As colors soften with time and use, a natural dye ages gracefully. Synthetic dyes, not so much.

Tools and Technique. None of my looms are new. The newest is a broadloom, probably built for sampling in a New Hampshire mill before 1950. The oldest is also the workhorse, built around 1800 in southern New England. Before hand weaving became a hobby, looms were built for optimal versatility and ergonomics, making these older looms easier on the body and suitable for a wide range of patterning devices. Much older than my equipment is the distinct technique with which it’s used. When Norman Kennedy learned to weave in postwar Scotland, he tapped into the same tradition that had been transplanted to early America, but without the muddling that came from the American craft revivals of the 20th century. These techniques, passed down for centuries, prioritize efficiency in a way that has been lost in most American hand weaving today. I am gratefully indebted to Norman and his student Kate Smith for preserving and passing down this heritage. Their years of dedication provide an essential link between the past and future of the craft.

The process of creating textiles by hand is a slow and deliberate one. I maintain a very small regular inventory, most pieces are made for a specific client and use. To learn more about commissioning bespoke fabric tailored to your needs, please contact me.

The BURROUGHS GARRET

2372 Peach Brook Road, Newbury, Vermont 05051

THEBURROUGHSGARRET@GMAIL.COM

802.429.2004

© 2020 by Justin Squizzero.

Photos courtesy of Heather McClintock and Caroline Goddard, block print by Tracy Mahaffey

The Fell Types are digitally reproduced by Igino Marini. www.iginomarini.com.

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