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Loomis brings fiber arts to Luscher Farm

by: REVIEW PHOTO: CLIFF NEWELL - Kate Loomis has never had a place to teach weaving and dyeing like Luscher Farm. She will be directing two sessions of the Gardening and Fiber Arts Camp this summer.Kate Loomis wants there to be a loom boom in Lake Oswego.

That’s why she’s teaching at the Gardening and Fiber Arts Camp at Luscher Farm this summer. She’ll lead groups of children out onto the farm to gather twigs, flowers, grasses and “whatever plant materials strike our fancy,” and then lead them back to weave what they’ve collected into fiber on a loom.

Children ages 7-12 can learn the combined skills of hand dyeing, weaving and gardening in two sessions at the farm. Camps will be held the weeks of July 7 and Aug. 11. Each session costs $220; to register, contact the Lake Oswego Parks & Recreation Department at 503-675-2549.

Loomis has more than 20 years of experience in weaving and dyeing. She’s taught both subjects at the Multnomah Arts Center since 2005. But never has she had a chance to be surrounded by a whole farm from which she could gather her materials.

“I began doing some dyeing as a kid,” Loomis said, “and I began weaving in the early ‘90s. Over time, I went to great lengths to find the colors I wanted for dyeing. I found dyeing works best when you use your own colors.”

She began working with children in the early 2000s, she said, “and they usually totally love it.”

“These camps will combine working out their energy when they gather the materials, then focus on making dyes when they get back,” Loomis said. “Kids love creating color and designs. Doing that really plays to their senses. I’m going to give them enough flexibility so they can do what they like.”

Loomis will be bringing the students her own backstrap looms, which are easy to make and can be set up anywhere. The parts include sticks, ropes and a strap that is worn around the weaver’s waist. From such a plain-looking loom, remarkable patterns can be woven.

“This is challenging, but very doable for the age range,” Loomis said. “The kids will make and warp their own twig looms, as well as weaving yarn and found items into them.”

Luscher Farm garden coordinator Dawn Grunwald is happy to have Loomis along for what will be a fun summer filled with activities. Loomis will also teach a Knitting and Weaving Camp for children ages 8-12. That camp, which costs $164 for residents of the Lake Oswego Parks & Recreation district, will be held the week of July 28.

“Kate has a strong connection with gardening and grows her own dye plants in her quarter-acre fruit and vegetable garden,” Grunwald said. “She is also interested in helping kids explore color and design through hand dyeing and weaving. I know she will be great.”

For more information about the camps, contact the Lake Oswego Parks & Recreation Department at 503-675-2549.



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