Aurora Lindquist talks weaving and farming.
Also a farmer / farm owner, Aurora Lindquist has worked at True North Textiles for over 3.5 years. She was weaving before coming here and still teaches weaving. She is a real pro, bringing tons of experience and knowledge that she shares with all her coworkers, along with sharing cucumbers.
What drew you to weaving at True North Textiles?
Renee Sherrer, who does Social Fabric downtown, and I have been friends for years on end, and I used to weave scarves for her. It was with these one-inch strips of silk that you just kind of lay together. It was basically weaving by hand. Very easy work, but I was really entranced by the over–under, the patterns that you can create by weaving fabric together, just totally in love with it. And she was friends with Janet, who owned Lark [before it turned into True North with Amy]. So I first started working with Janet via Renee’s recommendation that I was a pretty good worker.
What is your favorite part of the rug-making process?
I love every part of it. That doesn’t mean my whole day is an eight-hour ecstasy or anything. It’s just that there are very few days I dread going to work. And even then it’s only because I happened to not get enough sleep, or I have a lot on my mind. But it’s a job that I genuinely look forward to all the time. I love when a project first comes down the line and I get to see what the client wants. And then be able to see it when we plan it out and when the yarns come in. And then seeing it on the loom. And then being able to see it as a finished piece. Just thinking how happy it will make people and just imagining it in its final home. I like all of that.
What has been your favorite rug?
Oh, there’s been so many. That’s impossible. Although, I will say I’ve had a reputation, well deserved, for years on end for being totally crazy about the rag rugs. I just really like the aspect of using fabric for a rug. I love really chunky designs. I love really chunky rugs. I love how much you can do with that. I love the aspect of recycling material into something beautiful again.
And you teach a rag rug class at Ragfinery?
I do. Sometimes it’s a rag rug class. Recently I also had a tapestry class. And in December I will be doing a scarf weaving class (three consecutive Saturdays, 12/1–12/15). But my love is always making rugs, so I tend to gravitate toward that.
Is it because they’re so permanently useful?
Yeah, well. There’s a lot you can do with a rug. Especially a rag rug when you’re considering how to use recycled materials. Everybody has old sheets and pillow cases and piles of fabric in their lives—at least the people I know!—that have run out of their usefulness, and a rug is a really good way to use those up. The other reason that the rug class works really well is that it weaves really quickly, so for an eight hour class, you can end three weeks with a nice 2x4 rug to take home, instead of a tiny little tapestry. I just love the big satisfaction of that.
How did you get started teaching at Ragfinery?
I’ve been involved with the store from the beginning, and they had three or four looms that were donated to them. They had no idea what to do with them, but they didn’t want to say no because it was such a windfall. There was another lady who was going to teach weaving, and she had to back out at the last minute and I stepped up. I guess it’s as simple as that.
Do you have any personal weaving projects you would like to share?
I also weave rugs on my home loom. Also, by word of mouth, I do custom rugs. Whenever I have friends that get married, I almost always make them a rug for their wedding gift. Sometimes I’ll do something different, like I’ll make scarves or a blanket. But like I said, I always go back to rugs.
What kind of loom do you have at home?
It’s a 60” Leclerc Fanny. It’s basically exactly what Meg Lehinger has, except it’s the 60 inch instead of the 45.
What do you do when you aren’t weaving?
Basically, when I’m not weaving, I’m farming. That is my life.
Tell us more about farming.
My husband and I own a small herb farm called The Growing Garden, and we primarily do culinary herbs. Our main cash crop is basil because people can never get enough basil. But we also do oregano, tarragon, chives, that kind of line. And we also grow vegetables: cucumbers, fennel, broccoli, just random things like that. But mostly it’s an herb farm. We bought it less than a year ago, but we’ve been working at it as employees and then as managers for several years. We’re just slowly moving more into the managerial/owner role this year. It’s been very exciting.
Does it work well with the weaving? Is it a nice break to have the weaving?
It’s really fantastic on my end. But it only works because Amy has been super flexible about me taking most of the summer off. For me, it’s absolutely ideal. I do more weaving in the winter. I only teach classes in the winter, and I do all my own weaving in the winter. I take a total break from weaving in the summer. I haven’t touched my loom since April, not at all.
Do you have a next project you’re looking forward to?
I do! This is really exciting. Allied Arts has a monthly exhibition of art that changes every month. Every April its Recycled Arts and Resource Expo (RARE). So a little more than a year ago, I made a shag rug that looked like a bear skin. It was in the shape of a bear, and it even had the head and the eyes and everything. It was adorable. I entered it into there, and it sold, which was amazing, to a lady who had taken my class several times before. And she just commissioned me to make a similar one but alligator shaped. Totally insane. So, no yarn. I’m having the fabric be a little chunkier and shiny. I’ve got upholstery fabric and suede leather and nylon—shiny green. And I’m going to make it so—instead of shaggy—it won’t stick up. It’s going to lay flat, so it will look a little bit more like scales.