Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Let's Meet: Amy C Lund

Today, I have the pleasure of introducing you to an amazing artisan who happens to be a new friend of mine. Meet Amy C. Lund, Hand Weaver.

Thank you, Amy, for joining us today. First of all, could you please tell us how you got started as a hand weaver?

I became fascinated with hand spinning at an early age, bought some wool, fixed up a spinning wheel and practiced. Of course, I had to learn what to do with the yarn I created, learned first to knit, then became interested in weaving, fascinated with textile history and technology.

How long did it take before you felt comfortable handling the loom?

I started young in my adventures into weaving with a class at Historic Slater Mill in Pawtucket RI, the first water powered cotton spinning mill in the country. I continued to foster my interest and study of weaving with history and technical books that I could find, and applied my practical knowledge on a few projects over my schooling years. 
After college in the late 80s, I found an apprenticeship/internship at Hancock Shaker Village Museum in Pittsfield, MA. This solidified my knowledge and encouraged me to get a graduate degree in the field of Textiles at University of Rhode Island, with focus on Conservation and History. I worked briefly in museums, but I missed the actual weaving experience. So, I sought work with other artisans to understand some of the business-side of craft, and made the leap into full-time myself in the late 90s.

What do you love most about hand weaving?

I love the process, watching everything fall into place, coming together with pattern and texture on different levels.

Could you please describe how the artistic process flows for you, from initial concept design to completed product? 

I often think of what I want to make as an object and what qualities I would like it to have, then determine the fibers, materials, and then gravitate to colors and patterns. I try to reach for the point where I think form and function should meet. After sketching the general design and colors and working out the determination of number of yarns, the finished size, quantity I want to make, I dive into the actual process step by step from winding the warp, beaming on the loom, threading and tie up to actual weaving of the material. The processes of washing, edge finishing with fringe or hems, pressing, labeling, tagging, and pricing for sale completes each piece, turning it into something useful beyond yardage. Lastly, without marketing or display an item is not really done until it is in the hands of a customer.

What is the biggest challenge for you in the artistic process?

It’s all a balance and an art as much as concrete counting and placing of threads. Sometimes it’s too easy to fall into the trap of over-thinking a project, just as much as it is easy to under-think it. While it takes some conceptualization to determine some of the details of a project, sometimes the fun is in seeing what will happen. Some of this comes from practical experience and some from artistic insight.

What does an average day look like for you?
Some days I am a shopkeeper, some days I can be an artisan extraordinaire. I find that I can spend a lot of time on the marketing and business, after all making isn’t worth much if it doesn’t sell. Some days it’s easier to concentrate on one aspect over the other, too.

I usually start and end the day early on the internet, checking messages, online visibility, promotional aspects, and research. When I get in to the actual physical Studio & Gallery, I first have to open the shop to be ready for any customers, before I can concentrate on anything, either paperwork, display, finish work, or actual weaving and creativity in the studio. There is always something to do, and then things that come up along the way. This sometimes means getting items ready for sale or shipped, or working varying stages of projects in process, or just selling and talking to customers who stop in.

Some days I can get 4-6 good hours of weaving and focus, some days it’s harder, such as weekends when there might be more customers. It takes a lot of flexibility and having several projects at varying stages, or requiring varying levels of concentration, to work on to suit every mood or moment. It’s a discipline to work when you don’t feel like it, as much as it is to put it aside to get other things done.

Do you prefer the experience of selling in your bricks and mortar shop, or online, and why?

Working in the B&M shop is great for the personal interaction with the customer. Sales can happen immediately, or be built up, right there. Sometimes I get feedback on other perspectives of my work as well like design ideas, and practical uses. It is also a full-time job, requiring the stability and discipline for reliability of being open regular hours whether for 1 or several customers who might come by. There is sometimes an ebb and flow to the days when visits can interrupt the artistic creative and working flow, and yet being in a space completely oriented to creating and working keeps the concentration higher when there are few distractions.
Online, I find that I have to get creative in other ways, since I may not see or know my customer directly, or even who is looking at my work, how they see it. I also have to spend a bit of time trying to learn and figure out the technical aspects. It’s so easy, though, to be able to work some days in your pajamas or to make a sale while sleeping or doing something else!

Bottom line to me is that each outlet depends a lot on the groundwork to prep a sale for both, whether it is dusting and vacuuming or straightening displays in one to tweaking tags, images and descriptions in the other. Working in each, I think, compliments and strengthens my approach to the other.

Any advice for those thinking of pursuing their artistic dreams?

Do your research, but also do some work. Eventually you just have to try and figure out by experience what works. It can be a gamble, but try to set reasonable goals for yourself.

Where can we see more of your work?

I’m out there in a lot of places on the internet, though I focus on some more than others.
www.amyclundhandweaver.com is my main Studio & Gallery page with links to my many others.
www.etsy.com/shop/aclhandweaver is my main online sales venue
www.facebook.com/aclhandweaver is my place for current events and updates for both the B&M Studio & Gallery and the online Etsy shop.
www.aclhandweaver.blogspot.com/ Is where I occasionally post longer discussions that come over me about the intellectual and artistic side of weaving life.

I’m also on Twitter, Flickr, MySpace, Tumblr, LinkedIn and Pinterest.
Thank you so much, Amy, for sharing with us! 
[All photos in today's post are courtesy of Amy C. Lund, Hand Weaver.]


  1. Wonderful interview, Candice! I've only known Amy a little bit through our Etsy team, so what fun to really get to "meet" her here. Thanks so much for posting this for us!

    1. Thanks, Karen! Same with me, I am fascinated by hand weaving, and wanted to learn more about Amy and her craft, so voila. :)


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