Working Weavers Organization to Host 2023 Studio Trail

 In Client Press Releases

Weavers’ studios from Florence to Shelburne Falls open to the public on Oct. 14 and 15 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

FLORENCE—The Working Weavers organization will host its fifth Studio Trail tour on Saturday, Oct. 14, and Sunday, Oct. 15, with eight weavers from Florence to Shelburne Falls and Conway in between opening their studios to the public for demonstrations and sales.

Studios will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“We are weavers dedicated to bringing handwoven textiles into the future,” said Paula Veleta, one of two founding members of Working Weavers. “Our mission is to make cloth visible again by producing and selling high-quality textiles as well as by presenting the process and the people who make weaving their livelihood. We picked October for the Studio Trail because it’s fall foliage season—a nice time of year to drive from one end of the Valley to the other.” 

The organization’s website at offers suggested routes for traveling to the various studios and interesting stops along the way, including restaurants, pubs, inns and local attractions. The information can be easily printed from a PDF on the site.

Trail stops span from Shelburne Falls south to Florence. The following is a list of participating weavers and their locations: 

  • Tonya Grant, 8 South Cooper Lane, Shelburne Falls. New this year, Grant specializes in drawloom weaving, creating complex patterns and images within a damask fabric. 
  • Emily Gwynn and guest weaver Lisa Bertoldi, 124 North St., Shelburne Falls. Gwynn’s business, Hands to Work Textiles, focuses on heirloom-quality table linens and other household textiles and is influenced by both traditional and mid-century Scandinavian design. Bertoldi specializes in durable, absorbent kitchen towels in cotton and linen.
  • Lisa Hill, 156 Elmer Road, Conway. Hill, the master weaver behind the business Plain Weave, is a teacher, designer and writer who works out of her 1840s barn in Conway.
  • Scott Norris, 20 Wilder Place, Florence. Norris, of Elam’s Widow, weaves exclusively hand-dyed fine linen for table and kitchen use.
  • Chris Hammel, 221 Pine St., Studio #315, Florence. Hammel is a scholar, teacher and master weaver who directs the Hill Institute and operates her studio, Ekphrasis Defined Designs, where she creates exquisite textiles for use in the home or to wear.
  • Veleta and her guest Megan Karlen, 221 Pine St., Studio #338, Florence. Veleta, of Studio 338 Handwoven, produces woven fabrics in her studio at the Arts & Industry Building in Florence, using her intricately designed textiles to create adornments for the home and body. Karlen’s work is in direct relation to her desire to see more beauty in the world.

Veleta, of Florence, said most of the professionals in the Working Weavers group are handweavers who use traditional wooden looms with no mechanization.

“Weavers open their studios, often inside their own homes, and welcome the public to see how cloth is made,” Veleta said. “They invite you to touch, explore and experience hand-woven cloth and are happy to speak with you at length about their tools, materials and processes.” 

“It’s something all of us use, but we take it for granted and don’t realize how it’s produced,” she explained. “During the tour, we offer information on the history of woven cloth. It’s connected to human existence and has a very old history. We like to bring it to peoples’ attention again.”

Visitors can purchase high-quality handwoven goods directly from the weavers, including newcomers to the trail, Grant and Karlen.

One optional tour feature is called the Trail Pass. Each pass is $2 and is stamped by each weaver along the route and turned in at the last studio as entry into a drawing; the winner may choose from a selection of handwoven items or a $100 gift certificate that can be redeemed with any of this year’s Working Weavers.

The Trail Pass helps fund scholarships and more ways to enter a drawing. 

Veleta and a colleague, Marilyn Webster from Conway, founded Working Weavers in 2016, and in 2017, they hosted the first Studio Trail, modeled after pottery tours that are hosted in the Valley.

The tour typically generates about 1,000 visitors.

For more information, contact Veleta at [email protected] or 413-320-0808, or visit the website at

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