photo of Vavstuga building

About Vävstuga

The creation of Vävstuga is inspired by the many weaving schools throughout Sweden and the dedicated and talented people who have made them happen. Our goal is to perpetuate this amazing kind of education for generations to come.

About Becky Ashenden

photo of Becky Ashenden

Becky's 1981 introduction to the wealth of the Swedish textile world at Sätergläntan Institutet för Slöjd och Hantverk, a school renowned for weaving and other traditional crafts since 1922, gave her the motivation to pursue weaving as a life passion as well as a career. The following 13 years of production and sales added experience to her initial high-level training to build a unique set of complementary skills in both the theory and practice of weaving. Her use of equipment and techniques that have withstood the test of time adds to the value of what she has been offering her students at Vävstuga since 1991.

Becky has also worked on a series of publishing projects for her own Vävstuga Press, which includes translating weaving books from Swedish to English and republishing Swedish weaving books that have gone out of print. She has also been the technical editor for several Swedish weaving books that have recently been published in English.

Today the depth and breadth of Becky's work at Vävstuga are the culmination of decades of teaching. She has spent much of her adult life formulating her courses to provide maximum exposure to her techniques and expertise at the loom. Her natural lifelong need to provide warm hospitality, including home cooked meals and a cozy environment, is well satisfied at Vävstuga.

Becky is also a professional musician in a variety of folk music traditions from Swedish to Balkan to Cape Breton, playing several instruments including piano, accordion, and fiddle. Lately she is most active with her great Balkan band Xopo.

About Bettie Zakon-Anderson

photo of Bettie Zakon-Anderson

Bettie's passion for weaving began in 1983 when she started taking courses at The Rhode Island School of Design for fun. 10 years of hobby weaving and workshops later, she decided to turn her passion into her career, selling her work at craft shows, artist cooperatives, and galleries in the Boston area and in New Hampshire, and becoming a juried member of The League of NH Craftsmen.

Life with her two young boys and managing a café/catering business with her husband took her away from life as a professional weaver for a while. Now she is thrilled to bring her combined weaving and business experience to Vävstuga. Bettie will be working as the office manager and offering her friendly assistance to students and customers.

After 30 years as a weaver, Bettie is excited by how much more there is to learn from Becky's expertise, as both a weaver and a teacher, and highly recommends that weavers of all skill levels come and enjoy the magic that is Vävstuga.

About Kim Sebrey

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Kim is the person who keeps Vävstuga cookin'. She's your chef during classes and she ships your purchases from our web store. Kim also oversees all the many details of our beautiful facility. In her free time, Kim is an artist painting in oils and watercolors and shows her work at local venues. Kim says, "I really enjoy working at Vävstuga. It fulfills my creative side, and being around all the happy students is such a joy!"

About Tonya Jones

photo of Tonya Jones

Tonya has always enjoyed working with her hands and creating. She took her first weaving course in 2004 as an elective at her high school. Not getting enough during class time, she found herself taking table looms home on the weekends, coming in before school started to get a few rows done, and spending her study halls weaving away. After completing all three levels of the weaving elective she wanted to continue her weaving education, and did an independent study her senior year. After buying her first floor loom she wove rag rugs as a hobby while working full time. She wove with cotton t-shirts, jeans, and neckties. In 2011 she took an overshot workshop at The Mannings Handweaving School and her passion for weaving was reignited.

Now a former Vävstuga apprentice, Tonya is diving into the drawloom world and letting her creativity run wild with color choices and one-of-a-kind designs, working toward a career in weaving. She has the quiet perseverance to tackle any project and loves a good weaving challenge, which Becky is always able to provide. Tonya is working in our shipping department, along with studio setup for classes and assisting Becky, Bettie, and Kim in all shapes and forms around both the Water Street and Farm House studios.

About Sara Jeanne Burke

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Sara Jeanne was first introduced to weaving in 1966, in the textile arts program at the Louisville School of Art. From there she set weaving aside for a time, going on to study business and open Burke's Bookwork, her freelance bookkeeping business, in the mid-1980s.

Her return to the world of weaving began in 2002, with a Navajo weaving class at Harrisville Design School. Quite by accident Sara Jeanne discovered the Vävstuga weaving school in 2008, on a trip to Shelburne Falls to visit the Bridge of Flowers. At that time she purchased Becky's DVD on setting up the loom and signed up for the Swedish Rag Rug class in February 2009. She was completely taken with Becky’s teaching style, the techniques, the materials, and the end result. That summer she purchased a used Glimåkra, and then attended two more rug classes. With Becky's encouragement, she signed up for Vävstuga Basics in February 2011. No turning back now, and the joy she has for her time at Vävstuga is vital to her. Becky’s world of Swedish weaving is like no other and Sara Jeanne is thrilled to be a part of this wonderful community. She joins us in 2018 as teaching assistant for Kitchens, Fiber Frolic, and Rag Rugs.

About Celeste Johnson

photo of Celeste Johnson

Celeste has been an amazing presence at Vävstuga since she began here as our very first Vävstuga apprentice in 2009, and then returned as our studio assistant in 2014. In the fall of 2014, Celeste began managing Vävstuga's social media activities on Facebook, Ravelry, and Pinterest.

In 2012 Celeste graduated from Sätergläntan, the same school in Sweden where Becky learned to weave. Check out her blog A Year at Sätergläntan for lots of great pictures and stories about the ups and downs of her studies in Sweden.

About Lisa Hill

photo of Lisa Hill

The most important thing about Lisa is that she is a weaving enthusiast. She loves weaving; she loves cloth, looms, weavers, and sharing her enthusiasm. She is delighted to be a part of Vävstuga, saying that being immersed in a beautiful environment filled with hand-woven textiles and with knowledgeable, generous weavers is really a dream come true.

Lisa has been weaving for over 17 years, and completed a 6-year Master Weaver Program at Hill Institute in Florence, MA in 2012. She is the Program Chair for the Weavers of Western Massachusetts and one of a team of tech editors for Handwoven Magazine.

Lisa's father is a sculptor, her grandfather an illustrator, her mother a painter, and her son a printmaker. She believes cloth and its creation are somehow embedded in our DNA. Making cloth seems fundamental to her; she is saddened by the distance we have created between the fabric that means so much to us (wedding dresses, christening gowns, tallitot, baby blankets, grandma's quilt) and the making of that fabric. Lisa finds pleasure, challenge, and a fundamental gratification in the colors, patterns, and structures of the pieces she makes. She wants to create items that will be in daily use, but that demonstrate that utility is not "mere utility" but is intimately entwined with our aesthetic needs.

Past apprentices

Between January 2009 and July 2016, 11 wonderful women were able to take advantage of our apprenticeship program. Every one of these women has become an accomplished weaver and a valued friend.

You can read what they have written about the opportunity of an extended amount of time with our looms and textiles.

collage of past apprentices

If you long for the opportunity to study weaving at Vävstuga for an extended period of time and receive an excellent weaving education in the Swedish tradition, our Väv Immersion program could be a good fit for you. There are some financial aid opportunities for applicants 18–35 years of age.