Toni Seymour Handwoven


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Meet the Artist

  • About This Artist

    I have been interested in fiber all my life. I have experimented with sewing and embroidery, but found my true love with weaving. I dye my own yarns, using natural plant dyes. I love to experiment with different color combinations to come up with something entirely new. My inspirations come from nature and my reactions to the world around me, both natural and metaphysical. The possibilities are endless. In August, 2009, I was diagnosed with a non-malignant brain tumor. As I lay in my hospital bed, recovering from the second surgery, I started to design rugs in my mind. I knew then, even with vision in only one eye, that I could continue with my passion of weaving.

  • Q&A With This Artist

    A: My weaving is done on my Harrisville Shaft switching loom, a handmade loom from Harrisville, NH. I have been weaving on this loom for over 20 years making rugs and wall hangings. I hand dye all my wool for my weaving, using natural plant dyes. Combining different plants to obtain different colors will be a life long learning experience. My mind is spinning daily with the possibilities.

    A: Making my weavings from what nature provides, from the sheep, the flax, and the flowers and plants is so very inspirational. I live on 3/4 of an acre so I can grow many of the plants I need. Being a part of the history of weaving and representing this group of artisans is such an honor. We no longer need to weave our clothes or our rugs as in the past but the quality, heart and soul that goes into every product that present day weavers create brings that same history and honor into your home.

    A: I have been weaving since 2009 with monocular vision. I survived two brain tumor surgeries that year but lost the vision in my right eye. Without vision in both eyes, you have no depth perception. That was initially a major challenge in my weaving. But the plasticity of the brain is completely stunning. Over time.....maybe a year.....the brain started to pick up on shadows and lighting. Soon I could determine more easily which threads were lifted up on the loom and which ones were down. Amazing.

    A: The wonder comes in the dyeing of the wool. The learning curve for weaving is very steep. Once I had that down, then the wonder could surface as I pulled yarn skeins out of the dye bath and saw what color emerged. The true plant wonder is indigo. It goes in the dye bath white, comes out green, and when the air hits the wool, it turns the gorgeous indigo blue. So very much fun to watch the color develop

    A: Jason Collingwood, whose father, Peter Collingwood, invented the loom I weave on, has been my inspiration. Peter literally wrote the book on Rug Weaving. When he passed, his son stepped in and continued the Collingwood tradition. I learned from him how to weave on the loom I have and how to create designs and make them move on the loom. My dyeing inspiration came from Mary Zicafoose, who taught me to dye using ikat designs and gradation dyeing.

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