The Multnomah Arts Center offers textile classes for adults and youth year round. Below is a listing of some of our typical class offerings.

Textiles Coordinator: Nicole Rawlins

Textiles Specialist: Jaye Campbell

The History of Weaving at MAC

Alice Drew founded the Portland Parks & Recreation weaving program in 1955 at the St. John’s Community Center. The program started with one rug loom and two belt looms. Alice learned how to weave in 1950 from Ruth Clark, whose studio is still open and active under Ruth’s former students. In 1960, the weaving program moved to The Loom House, also in St. John’s, and eventually expanded to 25 looms accommodating up to 40 students with a loom sharing system.

In 1973, a branch of The Little Loom House opened at the Multnomah Arts Center on Capitol Highway continuing the tradition of loom sharing. The weaving classes continued at both locations until 1982 when The Little Loom House at St. John’s was closed and the equipment was moved to the Multnomah Arts Center’s new location down the street, still on Capitol Highway. Alice Drew retired in 1978. Today, the weaving studio Alice started is part of the Multnomah Arts Center textile department which offers other classes such as spinning, dyeing, basketry, knitting, and crochet. There are now over 60 looms including four harness floor looms, multi-harness floor looms, an AVL compu-dobby and table looms. There can be over 60 weaving students per term. Students no longer share looms and are assigned a loom based upon their chosen project which can be anything from scarves to rugs to clothing.

These students come to explore color, texture, and design. They come for the growth and satisfaction of creating. Whether fulfilling a lifetime dream to weave or rounding out personal lives, students discover an affordable weaving environment which also allows them easy access to the weaving studio beyond class time. The studio is a place for sharing ideas, questions, problems, and excitement. The weaving students at the Multnomah Arts Center approach textiles as casually or as seriously as they desire. Above all, they gain strength, commitment, and insight from instruction interaction with others involved in textiles.

Foundation Series
for Teens & Adults

Weaving runs the gamut of wall pieces, window treatments, rugs, upholstery, runners, shawls, scarves, and other garments. Study begins with calculating yardage, warping for a sampler, explanation of looms and fibers, dressing the loom, drafting, rolling bobbins, and throwing a shuttle. Finishing of the fabric includes washing, edges, joins, hems, and embellishments. Intermediate students design and produce more complex works.

Knitting is an artform from which you can create sweaters, scarves, hats, home decor, and works of art. Learn basic skills including casting on and off, purling, correcting mistakes, pattern reading, and finishing. Beyond basics include lace work, cables, and color.

This versatile technique can be used to adhere layers of fabric and yarn without sewing or glue. Create felt from roving without water. Felting offerings include needle felting, felted totes, hats, creatures, and adding embellishments including handles, rops, closures, and creative decorations.

Imagine the beauty of your handmade textiles made with yarn you have spun yourself. Study covers fiber choice and preparation, flick carding, spinning, winding on, plying, making a skein, setting the twist, making a ball, hand carding, spinning from the fold, balanced singles thread, using a ballwinder, and care of the wheel.

Create unique works of art using dye. Methods include tie dye, shibori, hand painting yarn, and ikat. Learn to design beautiful patterns on a variety of materials including yarn, silk, rayon, or cotton.

Basketry is the process of weaving baskets or other similar forms using a variety of fibros or pliable material-anything that will bend and form a shape. Specific basketry techniques offered include pine needle, cherokee, round reed, vine, grid, ridge, and arrow weave.

Textiles Offerings
for Youth

  • Weaving
  • Basketry
  • Fabric Art
  • Fiber Explorations
  • Art Dolls
  • Puppets
  • Felting
  • Tie Dye

Textiles Studio Equipment Includes:

  • 60 Floor & Table Looms
  • AVL Compu-Dobby Loom
  • Spinning & Dyeing Equipment
  • Yarns for Purchase
  • An Extensive Library
  • Fiberworks Software (during class time only)

DROP IN WEAVING is available to currently registered students after the second week of class. Students may drop-in to weave outside their registered class time, when the center is open, except during certain posted times or during kids classes (See posting at MAC office and/or Textiles Studio).

Registered students may drop-in in-between terms at a rate of $6 per three hours.