Weaving, Sewing, and Quilting, Oh My! with Geri Forkner and Tone Haugen-Cogburn

Geri Forkner and Tone Haugen-Cogburn are two of our Folk School instructors who teach across a few studios on campus. We’re excited to have them join forces to teach a textiles survey class, “Backpack with Woven and Quilted Accents,” from September 8-14, 2024. Students can explore weaving, quilting, and sewing while constructing their own custom backpack. Learn more about their class this fall in their interview below. Interested in this class? Register today to secure your spot.

JCCFS: Tell us a bit about your work with textiles and your history of teaching.

TC: I love everything textile, from sewing, quilting, and playing with colors with their limitless possibilities of colors and textures. The depth of color displayed in my art pieces made with ice dyeing and transfer dyes is proof positive my love for color and textiles. I have over 35 years of quilting and 30 years of teaching, both nationally and internationally. Non-traditional and art quilts along with sewing clothing and all kinds of bags are a big part of my life. For the last few years I’ve been working with bag construction, stressing that they have to both look great while being both sturdy and practical.

GF: I currently have two passions in my work. First is saving materials from the global scrap heap; I’ve made a small weaving daily since 2005 using something that I find during the day. Secondly, is still trying to find the bottom to what I can make with weaving and felting, which may require a whole second life! I have had many years of teaching experience both as a public school art teacher as well as in conferences, weaving guilds, and at the Folk School. My creativity is contagious and many of my students are inspired to think outside the box.

JCCFS: Tell us more about your upcoming class. Students will learn combine a few different media in this class, correct?

GF&TC: Think of this as a survey class covering weaving, sewing, and quilting. The only skill you need to come with is the ability to thread a sewing machine and step on the presser foot. The class starts in the amazing yarn closet in the Weaving Studio, where students will choose the yarn for their woven straps. Coupled with your innate color intuition, the colors and textures in the provided hardware kit, and a little help from your instructors, you’ll have a ball choosing just the right colors for your backpack. The weaving section will introduce you to inkle looms (a narrow band loom) where a simple over under structure creates unlimited beautiful patterns with a quick and easy to understand set up time. Next comes the sewing portion, where you will cut and sew your backpack together, and create the quilt square for the front feature of your bag. If you are already an expert at any of these skills, the sky is the limit!

We both have many years of experience in weaving, quilting, and sewing and can’t wait to pass on some of our knowledge and encourage students to expand their dictionary of skills.

Project bag for class!

Inkle Weaving!

Tone’s quilted square pieces

The perfect travel backpack!

More bags similar to the project bag!

Quilting Studio at the Folk School!

JCCFS: What can students expect to leave your class with?

GF&TC: After recent travels I started looking for the perfect bag to carry essentials easily in one place and of course plenty of room for my fiber project. The backpack we will make in class was the perfect solution. It was small enough to be considered a “personal item” and not a “backpack”. The bag can fit easily under the airplane seat, and more.

Along with the multi-use backpack, students will leave the class with a new set of skills to use as a starting point for further exploration. Folks who are new to either weaving, sewing, or quilting can spend their time creating with plenty of guidance from us, while being immersed in color and texture all week. Students will also get a handout to take home with a list of suppliers and complete directions to continue making backpacks. Expect an “aha!” moment or two during the week as all your new skills fall into place!

JCCFS: What is your favorite aspect of the John C. Campbell Folk School?

GF&TC: The campus itself is very inspiring. Working in beautiful surroundings, morning song, afternoon programs, and somebody else doing the cooking and cleaning for a week; the list goes on and on. The Weaving and Quilting Studios at the Folk School have everything you need close at hand; no need to wrack your brain trying to find every last item you might need for a week away from your studio.

JCCFS: What’s something you’ve both created recently that you’re proud of, and why?

GF: We have both had instillation pieces at international galleries this year. Tone’s transfer dyed quilts were featured in her home country of Norway at Gallery Rustica located in the bottom of a fjord north of Bergen, and three years of my (Geri) “Daily Weavings” were shown at Rangsit University in Bangkok.

JCCFS: What tips would you give an aspiring weaver or quilter? Anything you wish you knew earlier in your career?

TC: Don’t overthink or wait until you have the perfect studio setup, just jump in and make something every day. If you are passionate about what you want to do the skills and knowledge will quickly fall into place.

JCCFS: Where else can we see some of your work?

GF: Tone’s quilt is the center fold introducing the Fall Entrees section of the Folk School Cook Book, and her fabrics can be found at Spoonflower. You can see more of Tone’s work at http://tonehaugen-cogburn.blogspot.com and my work can be found at https://weavingschool.wordpress.com.

Tone’s transfer dyed quilted wall hanging

Upcoming Class with Geri & Tone

Backpack with Woven and Quilted Accents

September 8-14, 2024

Combine weaving, quilting, and sewing in one fabulous project. Learn how to warp and weave an adjustable strap on an inkle loom and design a featured patchwork pocket with coordinating colors. Then sew everything together for a one-of-a-kind, eye catching backpack to carry all your supplies. Start the week with a color lesson in the weaving studio’s exceptional yarn closet and end with a satchel you will treasure.

About Geri Forkner & Tone Haugen-Cogburn

Geri Forkner creates woven and felted works of art from her studio in Tennessee. She studied weaving and fiber arts at Georgia State University, is a member of the Southern Highland Craft Guild, and is an internationally known artist and teacher to both children and adults. She cherishes the old traditions and skills while using fibers in innovative ways. Her creativity is contagious, and her students are always inspired to think outside the box.

Tone Haugen-Cogburn was born and raised in Norway but has lived in Tennessee since 1987. She has over thirty years of experience in traditional and contemporary quilt design and teaches experimental techniques nationally and internationally. Pictorial and architectural elements are her favorites. She brings her extensive experience to the classroom and loves to inspire new and experienced quilters to create individual and personal quilts. Tone has exhibited all over the world and finds lots of inspiration from her travels.

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