Dear friends,

January, as you may know, takes its name from Janus, the Roman god of doorways, passages, and transitions. With two faces, Janus looked simultaneously to the past and to the future, presiding over all endings and beginnings. While we may not have formally invoked his presence at the start of the year, his month marked a solid period of growth for the school into its new incarnation. A power outage in the middle of a January class may have necessitated a trip down to the brook with a bucket for toilet flushing water, but what better way to remain grounded in the needs of the past, present, and future? Marshfield has been a temple of Janus from the very beginning, and we’re constantly reminded that being present requires an eye to look both to what is passed and to what is yet to come. 

We remain hard at work building up the school’s working collection of old and new equipment. Sixty-four new oak shafts, smoothed by hand with a drawknife, replicate those found in surviving 19th-century gear. A fresh set of loom reeds came to us from a manufacturer in South Carolina, and we’re stocked with more Dutch hemp cord than you can shake a shuttle at. A particularly interesting quill wheel crafted without a lathe came to us from Northern Vermont and is ready for winding all of your spools and pirns. Plans are already in the works for equipping several of our looms with additional countermarch shedding systems to facilitate more complex weaving this season.

If you have any antique equipment that you think we could use, please consider making a donation. On top of tools, we are also in the process of building our library and textile study collection. All donations are tax deductible and ensure that these objects will continue to inspire and educate for many years to come.

February is a relatively quiet month on our teaching calendar, but a busy one for the team behind the scenes. Space is still available in February’s Foundations, and our Coverlets and Counterpanes class. Don’t miss our new Double Cloth workshop coming up in March, and, not that far away, is May’s Fleece to Fulling. We’ve revamped the format of Fleece to Fulling to include a trip to a local farm to help with shearing the fleeces we’ll be working with, and a new structure will help make it possible to spin and weave a two-panel blanket by the end of the month. We’ve added an additional session of our new Weaving, Interrupted class in December when our friends at historic sites have more flexible schedules. Every registration we receive gives us double excitement: joy to see so much interest in cloth making, and the anticipation of welcoming you here in person. 

On behalf of our Board, best wishes for a winter filled with transformations,

Justin Squizzero


Meet our Board of Directors

Please join us in welcoming Nancy Fee Cook to our Board of Directors! Nancy has a long history with the Marshfield School of Weaving, starting in the summer of 1980 when Nancy attended a session taught by Norman himself. Nancy brings decades of experience in museums, education, textile making, animal husbandry, and possesses far more skills than we could possibly list here. Nancy and her husband Peter live on Tare Shirt Farm, a working 18th-century farm in Berwick, Maine, and Marshfield is incredibly fortunate to benefit from Nancy’s knowledge and connection to the school during the years that Norman ran it. Welcome Nancy!

Look for this feature in upcoming newsletters as we introduce the hardworking team guiding the Marshfield School of Weaving, and learn more about each Board member here.

Audio to Warp a Loom By

Justin was recently interviewed by Anne Merrow for The Long Thread Podcast and they talked about looms, process, and the ways we store skills. You can listen anywhere you get your podcasts, or on Long Thread’s website.

New to Our Collection

This unusual quill wheel was recently added to our working tool collection. Constructed without a lathe, all the round components appear to have been carefully shaped with a drawknife or similar tool. Though no provenance survives with this piece, it was found in Montgomery, Vermont, and may have originated in the area near the Canadian border at the terminus of the Bayley-Hazen Road. The spindle is contemporary to the wheel, but not original to it.

As always, we can only do what we do with your generous support. Gifts of all sizes make a tremendous impact. Thank you.