About

The looms

Lilly Marsh Studios uses US made AVL fly shuttle dobby looms for all production work. The three main ‘workhorses’ are ‘Fulda’, ‘Stella’ and “Ida’ and each has her specialty.

Photo credit: Lisa Jean Godfrey

Fulda is a 16 harness Folding Mechanical Dobby Loom with a 40 inch weaving width and is primarily used for narrow projects (under 16 inches) and for sampling. Fulda lives at the dye studio at the Shirt Factory and gets a lot of use for demonstration during the Shirt Factory’s Holiday Season Open Houses in November and December.

Stella is another 16 harness Mechanical Dobby loom but is one of AVL’s Professional Dobby Loom series with a 60 inch weaving width and a four box fly shuttle system. Stella lives in the private studio and has been modified to a kick fly shuttle by a previous owner. Stella is a star at small and mid-sized warps of between 16 and 60 inches, and makes marvelous heavy blankets or soft and delicate shawls.

Ida is the big power player in the private studio: a 72 inch, 24 Harness Industrial Dobby Loom running on compressed air and computer managed with Weave Point Software. Ida handles very long warps from 40 to 72 inches wide with a four box fly, and her computer dobby manages long complex patterning with ease.

The solar panels

Lilly Marsh Studios’ commitment to environmentally sustainable production can be seen in our investment in net energy production at the main studio. The entire studio enterprise from lights to the power loom is based on solar energy production through a rooftop panel system. Connected to the national grid, the studio is a net producer of power to the grid over the course of a year. This commitment enables the studio to power a 72 inch wide power loom, and automated bobbin and beam winders, enhancing our efficiency while retaining a beneficial carbon balance.

The Shirt Factory

Our secondary studio is the site of LMStudios dye and sample work, as well as offering a small public face to the studio. The Shirt Factory is a renovated sewing factory now home to a diverse community of artists, artisans, niche vendors and creative service providers. LMS is in studio 201 C, and through most of the year is a working studio for experimentation, sampling and dyeing projects. It is also a great space to meet for project consultation. During the late fall, the Shirt Factory hosts their Holiday Open Houses on Thanksgiving weekend, and then again 2 weeks later. For these events, and for selected others, LMS 201 C is converted to a public demonstration and retail space. Dobby looms, multiple harnesses and fly shuttles are unusual enough even among long time weavers, and Fulda never fails to gather a crowd of admirers.

About Lilly Marsh

Lilly Marsh Studios is the work of Lilly Marsh and the culmination of several decades of fiber work ranging from sheep farming to gallery exhibition, academic research and textile production. Marsh began as a knitter in search of good wool yarn and found sheep, spinning and eventually weaving through her local Wabash Weaver’s Guild (Tippecanoe County, IN). Moving into full time weaving for sale and exhibition meant saying goodbye to her beloved Natural Colored Corriedales but there were compensations, including a 7 year membership at a wonderful juried art cooperative in Lafayette, IN, Artists’ Own https://www.artists-own.com/ Marsh was accepted for membership in two categories: handwoven fabric and sculptural work in knitted wire. While a member there, Marsh exhibited her sculpture across the US and into Canada, and purchases of her sculptural and textile work went as far as China and Europe. Membership in the Artists’ Own community was an exciting and challenging space for artistic growth.

“Over my years at AO, I was so challenged and inspired by seeing such a variety of incredibly good work in both fine art and fine craft. But it was also a place where there were a lot of great conversations about our work, and our benefit to the community. As members in the co-op, we were responsible for working ‘the shop’ fairly regularly, and I always enjoyed those days. But I found myself increasingly drawn to those conversations with customers which exposed their assumptions about what it meant to be a working artist or craftswoman. Their ideas of who we were, how we generated the work, and how we kept working, all seemed so tangled and so far from the reality of our ordinary creative lives. I found myself becoming obsessed with how we generate those ideas of what it means to be a working artist/artisan. I knew I needed to figure this out for myself, as the next step in my own artistic growth.”

‘Figuring it out” for Lilly Marsh meant going back to school for a PhD. While she initially thought the art department would be her natural home, her drive for cultural and historical context soon found her a space in the American Studies Program at Purdue University. In American Studies, Marsh was able to combine art history and practice, anthropology, history and culture studies to create her own program, and the department faculty began to learn about the history of contemporary North American hand knitting. Her dissertation became a biography of the knitting designer/writer Elizabeth Zimmermann and a history of the contemporary hand knitting communities of North America. A chapter-length summary of the research was published as “Becoming the Boss of Your Knitting: Elizabeth Zimmermann and the Emergence of Critical Knitting” in Bloomsbury Visual Arts publication, Stitching the Self: Identity and the Needlearts (2020). https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/stitching-the-self-9781350070387/

After completing her doctoral work, Marsh was thrilled to get back to the studio full time, and with a renewed sense of clarity and purpose. A post-graduation move to the Glens Falls region of New York put her in the middle of a vibrant fiber community with strong agricultural roots and inspiring artistic expressions. Marsh quickly found her community amidst the fiber farmers, local wool processors and textile artisans of the Upper Hudson/ Adirondack region. She became a founding member of the Hudson Valley Textile Project, a group of farmers, processors, artisans, designers and fiber enthusiasts who are working to strengthen the fiber supply chain of local cloth production. (https://hvtextileproject.org/ )

She’s collaborated with many local farms in producing finished cloth in blankets, throws and wearables in their wool. She has partnered with Battenkill Fiber Mill, Greenwich NY, to produce Hudson Farm Cloth, a line of 100% Hudson Valley sourced, processed, and woven fabric for garment and home décor use.

Presentations

Lilly Marsh is available for guild and shop presentations regarding
“Becoming the Boss: Elizabeth Zimmermann and the emergence of the Critical Knitter”

“Local Fiber, Local Yarn, Local Cloth: Taking your fiber from farm to fabric”

“Breed specific yarns: Finding the Wool You Want to make Your Perfect Cloth”

Publications

Frisino, Eric and Tegan. Professional Weaver Podcast Podcast audio. Be Clear About Your Goals with Lilly Marsh 2020. https://anchor.fm/working-weaver-podcast/episodes/4–Be-Clear-About-Your-Goals-with-Lilly-Marsh-eemulv/a-a2atc46.

Gitlis, Zohar. “An Adirondack Yarn.” Adirondack Life, 2020, 46-49.

Marsh, Lilly. “Follow the Fiber: Hudson Valley Textile Project Regional Clothmaking.” Ply Magazine, September 2019.

Marsh, M. Lilly. “Becoming the Boss of Your Knitting: Elizabeth Zimmermann and the Emergence of Critical Knitting.” Chap. 3 In Stitching the Self: Identity and the Needlearts, edited by Johanna Amos and Lisa Binkley, 49-65. London: Bloomsbury Visual Arts, 2020.

Parrinello, Gail. Common Threads. Podcast audio. Lilly Marsh, PhD, talks about Weaving in the Hudson Valley2020. https://hvtextileproject.org/lilly-marsh-phd-talks-about-weaving-in-the-hudson-valley/

———. Common Threads. Podcast audio. Catching up with Cece, Lilly, and Kathy2020. https://hvtextileproject.org/catching-up-with-cece-lilly-kathy/