For 30 years, The Weaver’s Place provided weaving instruction at all levels to the greater Baltimore area. Two guild members, Lee Smith and Joanne Orwall, founded the studio in 1970. After 18 months, Lee bought Joanne’s share and Lee and her husband Keith ran the shop until 1989 when Terry Flynn, another guild member, took over.
In 2000, Terry sold the shop to Chris Gahs, who changed the name to Cloverhill Yarn Shop in order to highlight the fact that it was also a knitting and spinning shop. Chris offered weaving classes until 2003 when she decided that the square footage required for the looms and weaving yarn was not as cost-effective as the knitting side of the shop.
Also in 2003, guild member Ann Schaeffer, approached Terry Flynn about exploring the idea of helping the Guild begin a weaving program. Lee Smith and Terry sat down and planned how they thought it should look and wrote a proposal (with budget) for the board to consider. They looked at possible places to rent classroom space and found that Catonsville Parks and Recreation could provide a large room with tables and chairs, a cage to secure equipment, and a very reasonable price.
The board approved the proposal and voted to purchase looms and equipment from Cloverhill as well as other equipment such as warping boards. The format was essentially the same format that started with Lee at The Weaver’s Place and was carried on by Terry. In fall of 2003, the first beginning weaving class was offered. In the spring, Virginia West taught a class.
Lee managed all of the administration. She worked with the Parks and Recreation office to schedule classes, got our classes listed in their literature that went out into the community, made up brochures and distributed them. Not bad for a woman who was then was approaching 90! Ginger Stufft also taught classes and Judy Rhodes was our first registrar. Marion Flint, who was one of Ginger’s students began teaching weaving. Eventually Nancy Charamella, Pat Capogrossi, and Mary Pflueger began teaching and continue to do so. Children’s classes were offered in the summer and taught by Nancy Charmella.
Thanks to Terry Flynn for providing the information for this article.