Cambrian: Opinion

Attention Cambrian artists: This local weaver wants to start a shared workspace

Dianne Brooke
Dianne Brooke

Cambria has long been known as an artist’s colony.

There is the wonderful Allied Arts organization to serve as a network for creative souls of every ilk. There are writer’s clubs through the Joslyn Center. We have amazing artists teaching at our schools. We have some of the finest galleries on the Central Coast all in one place.

What many people are lacking, however, is work space. If their house is too small or is ill-equipped for their chosen craft, perhaps they could rent a space somewhere. Well, maybe not … if there is such a space available, it is most likely cost prohibitive for an individual. But a fellow artist I know has a dream to address such an issue — a communal creative studio.

Kathleen Jones is a weaver who uses and eight shaft floor loom (you’ll have to look that one up for scale).

“I have been a Cambria resident for over 20 years,” she said. “I am a weaver of fabric. I am book-taught and began weaving in 1980.”

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Cambria resident Kathleen Jones is a weaver who is interested in creating a shared workspace for local artists. Courtesy photo

Hoping like-minded artists might appreciate a shared space, she and I discussed the benefits. Such things as, well, room to move as well as storage space for materials, inspiration to each other and motivation from fellow artists to keep pursuing our projects are good reasons, we thought.

Jones had approached me last year about the idea. I had too many things on the burner at that time to put much thought to it, but I ran into her the other day and it is still in the air for mulling over. Another aspect of living in a town like Cambria is one might think folks have an idea of why handcrafted items cost as much as they do. But they don’t.

“I’ve had items for sale in various places and spoken with people who can’t understand why my scarves may cost so much more than one in a box store (well, yeah, duh…),” she said. “In my process, first I go through the design process, which is all about color and fiber and texture. I think of it like painting with yarn. The warp is my palate and the pattern woven over it is the structure.

“The creative process begins on morning walks on our beautiful coastal trails, looking out for color, shade and textures in nature. Then there is much visualization to match the concept to the fiber color, size and content and translate that into a traditional pattern. Weaving has been around for so long, the pattern choices are infinite. My sized loom allows me access to thousands of possibilities. I then have to thread each strand through a reed and heddles on the loom, tie them around the beams on either end and then I’m ready to go. Sounds simple, but just this part of the process alone can take hours (let alone the actual weaving!).”

Why weaving? “It is a moving meditation,” she said. “My hands and feet are moving in a rhythm with my total attention focused on the pattern developing.”

All this said, a shared common space may allow for visitors to come and view firsthand what goes into these handcrafted works of art. “There could be a seamstress fashion show, quilters, felters, other types of weaving...”

Not to mention what we all can learn from each other.

If anyone is interested in such a space, email Jones at

Diane Brooke’s column is Special to The Cambrian.