Dear Friends,

You might be asking yourself, “Wherefore cometh the June newsletter in May?” and wherefore it cometh BECAUSE WE HAVE A NEW HOME! We can barely contain ourselves with excitement (and relief) and could hardly wait any longer to share the news. Beginning September 15, 2024 the Marshfield School of Weaving will bring the thumping and clacking of our old looms to the former Methodist chapel on the common in Newbury, Vermont. We need to check with the folks at The Guinness Book, but for an organization like ours to find such a fantastic location in less than two months might be a new record. This remarkable turnaround speaks volumes about the people of Newbury who embody the kind of community spirit that we strive to foster through the weaving school. They have embraced us with open arms and are as eager to welcome you to Newbury as we are to invite you to our new home. 

They say in real estate that it’s all about location, location, location, so allow us to paint a picture for you. Newbury is a small town on the Great Oxbow of the Connecticut River, sited along Interstate 91 and bordering New Hampshire. The former chapel faces the common in the heart of the village, right next to the elementary school, and opposite the Newbury Village Store (creemees anyone?). Around the corner is the post office, bank, and library, all easily reached by foot. Visitors coming from afar can fly into Boston Logan airport and take a bus to White River Junction, or get there on Amtrak’s Vermonter, and from there take Tri-Valley Transit's FREE public transportation practically up to the school’s front door. The building is accessible by ramp and the room is flooded with natural light through windows of old wavy glass. 

This new space will provide the stability that will allow the Marshfield School of Weaving to develop into its fullest potential, and we’re already planning out new programs that we never dreamed were possible before. To launch the school into the future we’ll need everyone’s help and you’ll be hearing from us soon about all the ways you can participate. In the meantime, you’ll find a fresh slate of program dates up on the website ready for registration—we’re back baby! 

On behalf of our board, welcome home,

Justin Squizzero


P.S. We saved the best for last, it even has a porch!

P.P.S. The steeple is without a bell, so if you happen to have a spare, let us know!

The "Old Village Church," Marshfield's New Home

The “Old Village Church,” as it’s now known, was built in 1829 and was part of Newbury Seminary, an institution which eventually evolved into the Boston University School of Theology and the Montpelier Seminary, the campus of which most recently housed the Vermont College of Fine Arts. The congregation dwindled by the early 20th century and in the 1960s the Newbury Woman’s Club acquired the building to preserve it for the community. When word got around Newbury that the weaving school was in need of a new home, the Woman’s Club sprung into action and offered us the use of this beautiful, historic space.

Above: The auditorium of the chapel has a huge open floor with tall windows that actually open! We're looking forward to filling this space with looms, wheels, and displaying the pieces in our collection that have been sitting in storage over the past few years. Check out that groovy 1870s ceiling!

Below: A photo of the chapel and Newbury Seminary building before it was destroyed by fire in 1913.

Above: The Newbury Village Store faces the chapel on the opposite side of the common and provides light groceries (wine), a deli, and kayak rentals for anyone eager to unwind with a paddle on the Connecticut River, just a short walk down the hill. Learn more about the area and plan to make the most of your time with us.

A Personal Connection

Breaking from our usual first-person plural, I (Justin) have known about the chapel since I was eight or nine years old. As a kid I was a huge fan of building paper models of early American buildings, and Dover’s Cut & Assemble an Early New England Village features none other than the Newbury Methodist chapel as the meeting house in the collection. Imagine my surprise years later when I first visited Newbury for a Sacred Harp singing and there was the paper chapel, seventy feet tall! The connection makes this move a very special one for me, and goes to show just how unexpected the journey of our lives can be.

Looking Ahead

There is still time to enroll in all four of this summer's natural dyeing workshops taught by Joann Darling, so don't miss those! These classes run from two–four days and are perfect for fitting in over a weekend. There are also just a few spots left in the Introduction to Bobbin Lace class taught by Elena Kanagy-Loux, but they won't last long. If you've been thinking about signing up we would encourage you to get them while you can!

Our New Calendar

We are so excited to put classes back on the schedule for September and October of this year, and to have many of our programs for 2025 available for registration now. You asked, we listened, and you'll now find a new calendar page on our website, making it even easier to see when programs and events are happening throughout the year.

A full listing of our programs may be accessed here. We hope you can join us!

Meet our Board of Directors

Kate Phillips, Clerk

Kate Phillips is a librarian and historian of American material and visual culture. She currently serves as the Librarian of the Vermont Historical Society. Previously, Kate worked in exhibition coordination and archive research for Magnum Photos, Aperture Foundation, and the Documentary Photography Project at the Open Society Foundations. She has also held positions in academic affairs at Goddard College and the Yale University Art Gallery. Kate holds a Masters in Library and Information Sciences and is a PhD candidate in the History of Art at Yale University.

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.

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