Studio Visit: Leanne Tremblay

Studio Visit: Leanne Tremblay

It’s a beautiful, bright sunny day when we make the trip to visit weaver Leanne Tremblay at her home studio.

We couldn’t have planned a better day for a long drive through rural Massachusetts. Every bend in the long, winding country roads serves to settle us into our new surroundings—a welcome departure from the busy streets of Boston, where we started our drive. Finally, as we wind our way toward the foot of Mount Wachusett, we reach Leanne’s Westminster, Massachusetts home, nestled back from the street.

Leanne welcomes us into her home when we arrive and leads us up to her weaving studio. It is sun-soaked and cozy, overflowing with gorgeous fibers for future projects. Her home studio is completely self-contained, housing everything from her large loom to her sewing station; from first thread to finished towel, this is where it all happens.

Leanne is dedicated and well-practiced in her art. As we watch her work, it is clear she has every part of the process figured out, moving seamlessly from step to step as she crafts one of her textiles with a deliberate, measured pace—she is unhurried, yet efficient. She tells us she wants to create things that will work hard and last a lifetime, and it is clear this goal animates her every movement.

We watch her practiced hand as she floats the shuttle between the sturdy cotton threads, and with each row we get a better idea of the textile taking shape before us. While the whole process is mesmerizing to us, weaving is second nature to Leanne, and she manages this dance of shuttle and the treadle deftly, manipulating each thread just right to ensure a perfect weave. Her loom is large and cumbersome and takes some muscle to manipulate, but her practiced method makes it all seem effortless.

As she works, we discuss the pros and cons of a home workspace. Leanne, for one, loves it—it allows her to work at any time, and it’s clear that this is no burden to her. Within five minutes of talking to Leanne, we are reminded of her passion for her craft. She is quick witted and determined, and never more so than when she is working.

Leanne pours her personality into her craft. With each pass of the shuttle, she weaves her energy and creativity into tangible form, making pieces that truly work for her and her customers. Her exacting method tells us she won’t accept anything short of perfect, and that she holds her work to a high standard of functionality. Leanne carefully crafts her towels and napkins one at a time, all the while ensuring each will work and wash easily, and only grow softer, more beautiful with use and wear.

Leanne is prepping for some shows in the weeks following our visit, so we are careful not to take up too much of her time. We thank her for welcoming us into her space and showing us her process and take one last look at her beautiful studio. It truly is a dream for any artist to have a space like this; just as it is apparent in each of her textiles, it is clear from the space that Leanne is a master of her craft—even as simple visitors, we can tell she has perfected her surroundings to help her do her best work each time. We leave and can almost sense that hum of activity start again: the delicate dance of hand, shuttle and loom leap back again into full swing.

 

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