This fiber-based apprenticeship will do a deep dive into advanced weaving techniques, colorwork, and textile design. Apprentice artist Amanda Affleck wants to further develop her knowledge of complex weaving drafts while exploring plant-based color studies with naturally-dyed yarns, and also learning how to weave and construct wearable garments such as a light jacket, a boxy top, and a ruana-style wrap. She will accomplish this through 100 hours of guidance with mentor artist Alice Seeger and extensive in-studio training at Belfast Fiberarts in Belfast, Maine, a retail shop, weaving studio and community center for fiber artists established in 2019, owned and operated by Alice.
Alice Seeger (Belfast, ME)
Alice fell in love with weaving in 1975 when a Bicentennial exhibit floated down the Hudson River on an old barge. The huge, old barn loom on display seemed to grab her heart and say, “THIS IS WHAT YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO BE DOING!” Alice found a secondhand floor loom, learned to warp it with the Better Homes and Gardens Craft Book, and proceeded to weave a very ugly, scratchy, wool scarf. She soon found a weaving teacher, Ramonde Bostwick, at Bard College, then started work as a production weaver for Martha Zimiles, a Haute Couture designer (a job she kept at for 18 years). Alice received art and design instruction at Bennett College in Millbrook, NY, and continued pursuing further studies in weave structure with Peg Osterkamp, color theory with Nell Znamerowski, dyeing and spinning with Rita Buchannan, natural dyeing with Palmy Weigle, and comprehensive hand spinning with Celia Quinn. For many years, Alice operated Woodland Ridge Spinning and Weaving, teaching workshops and offering equipment, books and supplies for sale. She became a teaching artist presenting historical weaving workshops to elementary schools throughout New York and Connecticut, and later founded the 501(c)3 Hands On History, Inc., researching, developing, and presenting long-term Arts-in-Education residencies. “Threads of Civilization” enabled Alice to travel to research in places where weaving is still an active part of indigenous people’s daily life. She spent some time living in a hogan on the Navajo reservation and climbing mountains in Peru to meet Andean women weaving on backstrap looms. Alice and her husband Nick love to sail. One summer they were able to spend enough time aboard TakiTaki to sail down the Hudson River and up the coast to the Penobscot Bay, where the salt air, fog, granite and spruce grabbed her heart and said, “THIS IS WHERE YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO LIVE!” Alice now lives in Belfast, Maine and has been an instructor at Fiber College, on and off over the years, since 2008. In 2019, she opened Belfast Fiberarts, a maker space and retail gallery where local fiber artists make, display and sell their work.
“Amanda visited Belfast Fiberarts soon after we opened two years ago. When we expanded to include a 900 sq. ft. weaving studio/maker space this spring, this opened the door for her to take private lessons to learn a different method of warping and to weave off some cotton kitchen towels that she designed. I enjoy spending time with Amanda and look forward to having the opportunity to share my knowledge and create amazing things together!“ – Alice Seeger
Amanda Affleck (Somerville, ME)
When Amanda first felt the smooth, delicious whirling of a drop spindle in her hands, her love for fibers and textiles unfurled from somewhere deep in her being. She was amazed to learn, upon reading her great-grandfather’s memoirs, that this affinity was rooted in an Armenian family tradition of carpet making, wool and dyes.
The first time she experienced the alchemy of the indigo dye vat – wool transforming from yellow to blue before her eyes as it touched the air – her sense of wonder about natural dye colors was born. She’s most inspired by the spectrum of hues that can be conjured in the dye pot, and her love for natural color shapes her relationship with her craft.
She has spent over twelve years working with textiles in various traditions, including wet felting, spinning, knitting, sewing, shibori, paste resist dyeing, botanical printing, and most recently, weaving. Her passion for textiles is rooted in her study of history, mythology, ancestry, and cultures of all kinds (human, plant, animal and otherwise).
“Alice is a patient, generous and skilled teacher possessing a deep wealth of knowledge from decades of weaving experience. She’s cultivated a wonderful, growing community of local artists, promoting their work and creative growth and teaching weaving, spinning and other techniques. She has an intuitive sense for marketing and is committed to expanding the market for high-quality handmade pieces, both locally and online. I feel grateful to have found such a talented teacher so close to home.” – Amanda Affleck