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Weaver Profile: Stephanie Flynn Sokolov
August 13, 2019As part of our Barry’s Jubilee weave along, we thought it would be great to get to know Stephanie Flynn Sokolov a little better, and to get into her process. Stephanie originally designed the Skwoosh scarf for the book Woven Scarves, written with Jane Patrick. Jane adapted this project for this weave along!
Schacht Spindle Company: How long have you been weaving?
Stephanie Flynn Sokolov: I have been weaving since I was a small child. The first loom I remember was the potholder loom and weaving with loopers. Fast forward to High School where I found a piece of wood in a storage closet and asked the teacher what it was. He said he thought it was a loom but wasn’t sure. When in doubt go to the library, the librarian helped me with the search. After finding books on weaving, I determined the loom I found was an inkle loom. Then to the Rochester Public Library where I discovered a book on how to warp the loom. I wove bands for about a year then lost interest. Warp speed to 1997 when I arrived in Boulder Colorado and was introduced to Shuttles Spindles and Skeins. There I learned to spin and in 2000, how to weave on a shaft loom. Today I weave mostly on my Baby Wolves, Wolf Pup, and rigid heddle looms, but I have to confess last week the Inkle Loom was unearthed and it seems to beckon me.
SSC: How did you get your start in textile arts?
SFS: I have been working with textiles since about age 6 when my mother first handed me a needle, thread, and fabric. I grew up around very creative people and was always encouraged to make before buying. My grandmothers and mother sewed on almost a daily basis and though I was under foot, I helped when I could. After abandoning my college ambition to become a Biomechanical Engineer, I did a 180 and graduated with a degree in Retail Merchandising. I continued on to the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York to start designing and get my degree in Accessory Design.
SSC: Can you describe your creative process?
SFS: Usually I sketch out a design contemplating what weave structure or yarn would best suit the project. The weave structure I decide to explore determines the loom that I will warp. This is where my fun begins. I love to sample. Most of the time I have to warp the loom between 3 and 6 times before I am happy with the sett, structure and yarn choice. Once the project has come this far it feels finished and the actual weaving and finishing sometimes feels like a chore.
SSC: Where do you get your design inspiration?
SFS: I find inspiration everywhere, especially in movies, magazines, literature and nature.
SSC: If you could give a beginner weaver some advice, what would it be?
SFS: Sample, even if it is not for a project. Enjoy the process. If you discover there is any part that feels like drudgery find out if there is a tool to speed that part up. Mine is the warping mill.
SSC: Do you have an all-time favorite project of yours?
SFS: I would have to say a pillow I wove on my rigid heddle a couple years ago with a honey comb weave structure, inspired by The Weavers Idea Book.
SSC: If so, what is it, and why?
SFS: My family fights over it during movie time, so I know I nailed it!