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 as the business manager. She is also one of a team of tech editors for Handwoven magazine and is happy to be fully immersed in weaving again. Bettie continues to be 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 Tonya Jones

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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. 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 while working toward a career in weaving—check out her spectacular creations at Tonya's Wovens. 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 Katie Cavacco

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Katie is a sewist with a deep respect for hand craft. She learned to sew at a young age and pursued that passion from high school through graduate school. Her education has centered around apparel design with a focus on sustainability, primarily through material upcycling and creative reuse. With her small business, Free Ramblin' Kids, she creates toys and slippers for young children from upcycled, fulled wool sweaters. She is also involved in local slow clothing endeavors with dreams of seeing the success of localism, as with local food movements, extend to fiber, textiles and fashion.

Katie will be meeting and greeting our student lodgers when they check in and serving dinners during classes. She is excited to join the Vävstuga community and learn more about weaving.

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 joined us in 2018 as a teaching assistant for Rag Rugs and other classes; in 2020 she'll also be teaching in our Fabric & Bag Fest.

About lydia ievins

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When lydia took her very first weaving class at Becky's house in 2002, back before Vävstuga reimagined itself into the current studio space, the very idea of a Vävstuga website seemed almost far-fetched. We've certainly come a long way since then!

A freelance web developer since 1999, lydia guides her current clients through site re/design, information architecture, and the world of ecommerce. In her other primary identity she is a folk musician, with a special love for Swedish folk fiddling traditions. lydia maintains an active international travel schedule touring, teaching, and recording on nyckelharpa and 5-string fiddle. She's especially excited about her recent duo CD with Helsinki-based pianist and composer Juha Kujanpää. .:. infoTamers web consultancy .:. .:.

About Celeste Johnson

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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.

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.