Programs and Workshops

April 12, 2023 | "From Shepherd to Roving" with Ellen McCarthy

Guild Monthly Meeting 

9:30am, First Baptist Church in person and on Zoom

Ellen McCarthy

How did I get here? I spent my youth in suburbia, not on a farm. This is the story of my journey as I learned about sheep, fleece, and fiber prep from the ground up.  All the trials and errors, success and failures along with the wonder and joys of life. Sheep came into our lives with my daughter’s 4-H horses and are showing no signs of leaving.

Being drawn to the creative process that starts with finding the raw ingredients has added interest (and time) to everything I do. I have answered my question of “How do I stay warm without stores?”   I will be talking about the process I use as the wool comes off the sheep and ends up at the spinning wheel or loom.  Sorting, washing, carding, and dyeing in all its mess keeps me happy.  I will have samples from one stage to the next right up to something off the loom.

I first was introduced to weaving in a junior high school art class.  The instructor had the class work on cardboard looms with thick acrylic yarn.  It was wonderful!  I made an absolutely horrible shag rug that I kept for years.

I am still weaving.  Most of my work is done in natural fibers now, cotton, linen, and wool from my small flock of sheep.  Spinning, felting, dyeing with natural dyes and basket weaving also keep my hands in fiber.  I enjoy the process of working from the start of a concept through to the finished piece. 

It is important to me to share what I have learned about fiber arts to the next person, young or old, to keep the skills alive.  Spinning and weaving contributes to our survival as well as our comfort.

Ellen is a weaver, spinner, dyer, felter and basket maker living in Western NY.   Sheep are her fiber animal of choice with a focus on natural colored sheep and dyes from nature. 



April 12, 2023 | "Hanging Pouch" with Ellen McCarthy

Guild 1/2 Day Workshop 

1:00pm, First Baptist Church in person

Ellen McCarthy's Basket



This is a small pouch that is nice to hang on or near your loom.  It has a twined bottom with a plaited body.  Finished with a lashed rim and wrapped handle.  

Students should bring an old towel, small bucket, scissors and a small flat edge screwdriver.  A sharp pocketknife or rim shaver is useful but not necessary as I will bring tools to share.

Sign up will be available to members on our website by Feb. 15 for 15 lucky participants! Cost $24, to the Weavers' Guild of Rochester $10, to Ellen for materials fee.

Members can register here.


May 10, 2023 | "Ikat: A Global Story Of Exotic Cloth" with Mary Zicafoose

Guild Monthly Meeting 

9:30am, First Baptist Church in person and on Zoom

Mary Zicafoose

This talk is a lavish textile travelogue stopping at the major producing centers around the world familiarizing the Guild with the unique and distinct signature styles of ikat cloth produced over the ages. Travel will culminate with a tour of Mary's Nebraska textile studio highlighting her work in ikat over the last three decades.



Nebraska artist Mary Zicafoose is a master of ikat, a complex resist-dye textile process. She received her BFA from St. Mary's College, Notre Dame, IN, graduate studies include the School of the Art institute of Chicago, the University of Nebraska. A three-time USA artist Fellowship nominee, Zicafoose is a co-director emerita of the American TapestryAlliance. Her tapestries have been exhibited in the International Triennial of Tapestry, Lodz, Poland; Museo de Textil, Oaxaca, Mexico;  China National silk Museum, Hangzhou,  and the collections of two dozen United States Embassy's abroad . Extensive exhibition, teaching, and lecture venues include the de Young Museum, San Francisco, Penland School of Craft, Penland, N.C., Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, Gatlinburg, TN and universities, conferences, and textile programs worldwide. She is the author of “Ikat”: The Essential Guide to Weaving Resist Dyed Cloth”, published by Penguin Random House.

Zicafoose book

May 10-12, 2023 | "Shifted Ikat Scarf" Workshop with Mary Zicafoose

Guild 2 1/2 Day Workshop 

1:00pm, First Baptist Church in person

Zicafoose Ikat

Ikat is a very refined & beautiful textile technique of resist-dying pattern into individual threads before weaving. It is a complex multi-phased fiber process resulting in graphically elaborate  and vibrant woven cloth. Ikat wrapped yarns, when dipped in vats of dye, instantly become timeless, immersed in an ancient partnership between intention, design, and color.

Participants in this 2 ½ day workshop will design, wrap, dye, and begin weaving a classic example of single dye vat ikat, a blue & white ikat scarf, while learning the basic techniques of the warp ikat process. Each student will stretch a warp for an ikat scarf using warp yarns and a warping board they have brought to class. A variety of wrapping techniques will be demonstrated and the warps will be dyed and hung to dry overnight.

On Day 2 each student will dress & warp their loom loom with their dyed ikat threads. Four distinct ikat shifting methods will be discussed & demonstrated. Yarn handling and different ikat warp shifting techniques and tools methods will be demonstrated and the ikat weaving will begin. Further ikat weaving techniques and adjustments for creating many classic ikat designs and patterns will be demonstrated and discussed on Day 3 as scarf  weaving continues.

This is a unique opportunity to work in person, with Mary, an experienced ikat weaver.

The Workshop registration will begin at 1:00 PM on March 29, on our website only.

Weavers must be able to make warps and dress their looms.

The limit is 16 students. We will form a Wait List.

The fee will be $185.   A Materials fee of $20, will be payable to Mary.

Members can register here.



June 14, 2023 | Annual Meeting, Picnic, and Members Sale

Guild Annual Meeting 

10:30 am, Stevens Pavilion, Veterans Memorial Park in person 

Please bring:

  • Your Brown Bag Picnic
  • A Lawn Chair
  • Show 'n Tell
  • Your membership renewal checks
  • Committee reports!
  • Items for trunk sale to members (optional)




Coming Up: 2023-2024 in planning stages.