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Maker Feature: Seaweaver Studio

Maker Feature: Seaweaver Studio

The Maker: Cara DeHeart
The Place: Nantucket, MA
The Goods: Handwoven blankets, throws, shawls and hand towels
Where to Find Seaweaver: Pip & Anchor, Nantucket Looms, Etsy
What We Carry: stunning Hand Towels

I have caught myself staring many times, at the hand towels we have stacked on the tables at Pip. The patterns and the colors can be so mesmerizing and somehow comforting. Yet what I love most about Cara's work is the durability. How something so intricate and unique and time-consuming to make by hand can be so durable under the intense pressure of everyday kitchen use, is quite amazing. It brings to mind the conversation around art and Cara an artist? Is she a craftsperson? Are these works of art or are these too useful and practical to be considered art? I think the answers are endlessly debatable and perhaps not even important to answer but this idea of functional art is what I like the most and what most accurately describes Cara's work. I use mine, in an array of colors, as my everyday dish towels. There will always be one hanging next to the sink.
Between the dishes, a toddler and a dog they get used for absolutely everything. I have learned there is no need to use them as if they were precious, shying away from everyday use. You can fling them into the washing machine and dryer and they come out magically clean and perhaps even stronger than when they went in.
I sent one to my mother who grew up near the ocean and is now living in landlocked Austin, TX. I didn't provide any explanation or note but sent one of the deep blue patterned ones as a random gift so that my Mom knew I was thinking about her from afar.
My mom wrote back: " I don't know what this is or who made it but I can smell the ocean. It makes me feel closer to you"
The blues are the most common palette of choice for Cara as they are truly evocative of the Nantucket ocean in the heart of summer and the depths of winter so no surprise they are very popular. But I have always loved other palettes that jump out to me as part of the Nantucket landscape and seascape as well - the moors in the Spring time, the saltmarshes in the fall, the sunsets, the dunes. Cara and I spoke about possibly working other colors into the towels that are evocative of various seasons and Nantucket palettes. What you will see in our store are Cara's textile versions of Nantucket nature. The pinks of the sunsets, the greens of the dunes, the blues of the oceans, the browns of the dirt roads and a wintry island.

The Seaweaver Story, A Conversation with Cara

Tell us a bit about your Nantucket story, past and present:
I was born and raised on island. I met my husband here, and we chose to raise our three children here too. I love that Nantucket has such a vibrant community for the arts and local farming, and that we care deeply for and support the people who live and work here. I cant see myself living anywhere else. My favorite places to be are the walking trails, beach, and visiting the local farm stand.
How did you end up becoming a weaver?
Weaving was introduced to me at age 15 when I interned at Nantucket Looms as a highschool student, and I have been weaving ever since.
I have been weaving now for over 20 years, and most of my work is custom made for individual clients, and for wholesale at retail shops. I also create one of a kind pieces and small batch collections which are for sale in my etsy shop, Seaweaver Studio.
Weaving is a magical and mesmerizing process for an outsider, can you share a bit about the process?
It's a long process. Most of the time is spent on planning and preparing the loom for a project. The active time weaving (everyone's favorite part!) is relatively short, then you have a finishing process which usually includes laundering and sewing, or knotting fringe.
A great place to see local weaving in action is to visit Rebecca Peraner at Nantucket Looms' open studio, as well as Karin Sheppard of Island Weaves, both of whom taught me and many others to learn and love the craft.

Photos from Seaweaver Studio and Emily Scannell Photography

Contact Info:
Cara DeHeart
Nantucket, MA
Instagram: @seaweaverstudio

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