Patricia Palson Volume 38.3 Preview

PATRICIA PALSON. THE WARP AND WEFT OF FASHION.

KABOOM JACKET of silk, merino wool, bamboo, rayon, cotton, letters cut out of variegated handwoven fabric and appliquéd, 2015. Model: Tamara Chapman. Photograph by Bruce Preston.

KABOOM JACKET of silk, merino wool, bamboo, rayon, cotton, letters cut out of variegated handwoven fabric and appliquéd, 2015. Model: Tamara Chapman. Photograph by Bruce Preston.

Patricia Palson works in a home studio designed by her architect husband Eric as an addition to their handcrafted log home in Contoocook, New Hampshire. The big windows and woodland setting make the high-ceiling, second-story space feel like it is in the treetops. The bright walls, each a different color, red trim and spotlighted shelves of multi-hued yarns make the room look like the heart of a rainbow. A patterned rug, striped upholstery and a crazy painted table only add to the atmosphere. “I can’t get enough of pattern and color!” For Palson, who favors her bright blue glasses with golden rhinestones, this riot of color is soothing; color makes her happy. While she appreciates neutrals for certain garments and particular patrons, she is most content weaving at her loom when it is threaded with a highly saturated tone.

      Palson is a handweaver who makes garments and a fashion designer who weaves her own fabrics. For almost thirty years she has created jackets, scarves and dresses of handwoven materials. She has garnered numerous honors, including Awards of Excellence from the American Craft Council, CraftBoston and Smithsonian Craft2Wear, and was named a Remarkable Woman of New Hampshire by New Hampshire Magazine in 2012. She clearly enjoys her work and has created an ideal studio practice that early on gave her the flexibility to build a career while raising three children and now presents regular opportunities to attend craft shows with her husband, giving them a chance to travel together and see fellow artist friends: “It’s more than just a job, it’s a social life as well.”

 

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Ashley Callahan is an independent scholar and curator in Athens, Georgia, with a specialty in modern and contemporary American decorative arts. Her book Southern Tufts: The Regional Origins and National Craze for Chenille Fashion will be published by the University of Georgia Press in December. Patricia Palson told Callahan that she often is asked how she finds the time to weave, to which she responds, “How do I find the time to do the other things?” The sheer joy Palson finds in weaving, in fashion, and in the world of craft is infectious and Callahan is pleased to be able to share her story here.