Leslee Fiorella is a weaver, textile designer and founder of The Weaving School in California. Emerging from Fiorella’s love of looms, the company’s aim is to create a space to inspire, teach and support the craft of contemporary weaving. Here at Selvedge we bring you an insight into how it all started...
Where did you learn your craft?
I studied Textile Design with a focus in weaving at Philadelphia College of Textiles & Science. After I graduated, I went on to work in the contract textile industry designing woven upholstery fabrics.
What is it that you love most about hand-weaving?
I love spending time designing and exploring on the loom. I often set up sample warps and anticipate the questions that will arise as I begin weaving a new pattern. What would happen if I change the weft to a different yarn or what if I add a few picks of another colour in a certain spot? I rarely get very far in weaving a structure without a barrage of new ideas to follow.
When did The Weaving School start?
It was established in October 2017 as the expansion from a former venture. I started three years prior as a small weaving department in a fibre craft shop collaboration. As a resurgence of interest in weaving was growing, I recognised the relevance of the space I was building to support the craft. At the same time, the many looms I collected over the years were outgrowing my home studio. It became clear to me that my business was ready to expand, with more looms and classes, additional instructors, and a larger retail section.
Where do you find inspiration?
I grew up near Philadelphia and then spent many years living in New York City. The geometry of cities – repetitive architectural patterns and street graphics – provides me with infinite inspiration and ideas for woven structure.
Which yarns do you most enjoy working with?
I love working with a mix of natural fibres and combining them in unique ways, such as pairing coarse wool in the weft with a more sleek hemp or linen yarn in the warp.
What's up next for you?
I offer a variety of weaving classes for Tapestry, Rigid heddle and Multi-harness weaving from beginner level to advanced. People can find out more about The Weaving School at www.theweavingschool.com or on Instagram @theweavingschool.
Facebook: The Weaving School