Dance of the Doubleweave: Exploring Blocks with Lars Shimabukuro

Minsā in Huck Lace

Lars Shimabukuro will teaching be at the Folk School this May: A Survey in Blocks. This course will introduce twill blocks to beginning weavers, doubleweave blocks to intermediate weavers, and how to turn any four-shaft pattern into blocks for more advanced weavers. Learn more about Lars’s work and the class in our interview below. Register for their class online and secure your spot today!

JCCFS: How did you get started in weaving?

LS: I started weaving when I was an undergraduate at Yale University. There are 14 different dorms that you are randomly assigned to, and the one that I lived in had looms in the basement. There weren’t formal classes, but someone would come to assist students that were interested on Sunday. I didn’t learn how to dress a loom, but I knew I wanted to learn about weaving. 

I attended a weaving guild in Knoxville, TN for awhile and then took a deflected doubleweave workshop with Elisabeth Hill at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts. That’s where I learned about the Haywood Community College Professional Crafts Program in Clyde, NC, that started in 1977. I attended there from 2017-2019 and studied with Amy Putansu. The program is incredibly designed and works to prepare artists to start their own businesses after graduating. From 2020-2023 I lived and worked at the Penland School of Craft, while completing their core fellowship program.


five, four / yours forever more

JCCFS: You have experience working with a range of media. What is meaningful to you about weaving, or what sets it apart from other media?

LS: Before I started weaving, I was really cautious around using color in my work. I think there’s something about how color blends structurally in weaving that keeps me coming back to it. I also love how setting up a complicated warp in terms of patterning can feel like a puzzle or math equation; I say this as someone who is very, very bad at math outside of a weaving context.

JCCFS: What is the first item you wove? What is your favorite item to make?

LS: The very first things I wove in 2011 I remember printing woodblock prints onto. I was primarily a printmaker then. Now I love to weave scarves and baby blankets. I think there’s something so special about having something handwoven close to your body.

deep water, tradewinds

JCCFS: What is something about weaving that a non-weaver might find surprising?

LS: Weaving can start to feel like dancing when you’re really caught up in the process! I love that it engages your whole body.

JCCFS: Do you have any work rituals? How do you set the mood in your studio for a long weaving session? 

LS: This depends on what stage of work I’m in. Planning and dressing the loom usually takes a lot of focus for me. But when I get to the weaving half I like to find a long playlist for the day.

JCCFS: What is the focus of your upcoming class at JCCFS?

LS: My upcoming class will be a survey of different ways to explore blocks! The course will introduce twill blocks to beginning weavers, doubleweave blocks to intermediate weavers, and how to turn any 4-shaft pattern into blocks for the more adventurous weaver. I really enjoy working with these structures because there’s a lot of planning initially but then when it comes to weaving you can work more intuitively.

JCCFS: Your class offers something for every skill level, from beginner to advanced. What can students expect to complete during your class?

LS: Students will get to pick a blocks structure that they’d like to explore and take home a bunch of samples from that project, with the added bonus of getting to see the other structures explored by their classmates! The focus will be on experimentation and adaptability of a project. After all the time it takes to dress a loom, I like for a warp to be flexible and to produce a lot of variation.

JCCFS: Are you working on any projects (weaving or otherwise) right now?

LS: Right now I’m in the midst of packing and moving to Philadelphia! Next week I’ll be working on moving into my new studio.

Upcoming Class with Lars

A Survey in Blocks

May 14–20, 2023
All Levels

This course will introduce twill blocks to beginning weavers, doubleweave blocks to intermediate weavers, and how to turn any four-shaft pattern into blocks for more advanced weavers. We’ll focus on sampling, experimentation, and learning to “draw” with the block structures you design. Students may come with a pre-wound warp, buy a prepared warp from the instructor, or wind their own in class. Note: Additional materials fee is estimated from $50-$150 for students purchasing a pre-wound warp.

Lars Shimabukuro was born in Hawai’i and raised on the island of Maui. They earned a BA in studio art from Yale University in 2013, and completed Haywood Community College’s professional crafts fiber program in Clyde, NC in 2019. Lars has shown nationally and internationally, with shows at Tiger Strikes Asteroid Gallery in Philadelphia and Greenville, the CICA Museum in Gimpo-si, Korea, and a solo exhibition at the Praxis Fiber Workshop Gallery in Cleveland, OH. They are living and working at the Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina through the school’s Core Fellowship program through February 2023.

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