About Antrim Handweaving
Margaret B. Russell is a handweaver with over 35 years of experience and a lifetime appreciation of this ancient art. She grew up listening to tales of maternal ancestral weavers and wool workers. Francis Plumer arrived in New England with a company from Newbury, Berkshire, England and was a First Settler of Newbury, Massachusetts in 1635. He was a linen weaver. William Truland (Trulan) traveled from Ballymoney, County Antrim, Ireland and settled in Margaret's native upstate New York early in the 19th century. Research revealed he was a carpet weaver, most likely out of his home, in the mid 19th century. Ongoing research is underway to learn about William's earlier work as a weaver. Did he arrive to work in the mills or did he spend his entire time as a weaver working out of his home? Several members of the Walker line of her family were textile workers in Bradford, England in the mid-19th century, when it emerged as the international center of the wool industry. Margaret takes pride in these connections with her forebears, and her handwoven pieces reflect a desire to uphold tradition. Her pieces are woven exclusively of natural fibers, with a focus on the timeless beauty of simple functional design.
Antrim Handweaving, Studio and Study was named as a tribute to William Truland of County Antrim, Ireland. Several small and very select sources supply the natural fibers for Margaret's weaving. Her looms are dressed with these choice fibers, producing heritage pieces including tea towels and table runners, scarves and wraps.
Looms of all sizes fill a devoted weaving studio and study in Byfield, part of the same small coastal town of Newbury, in northeastern Massachusetts, where Francis Plumer set foot almost 400 years ago. Margaret also works out of her private hideaway space on Badger's Island, Kittery, Maine. Her handweaving workshops and presentations are offered at conferences, area arts and fiber centers, galleries, and guilds. She is continually inspired to educate herself and others about the wonders of handwoven pieces from natural fibers.
Margaret's specialty is primitive, rare, and threatened British sheep breeds. She works to promote awareness of their fragile future through research, articles, and presentations, and is weaving an ever-growing, sizable private collection of "Preservation Wraps" from the wools of each of these breeds.
Co-founder and member of -
NOBO (NOrth of BOston) Handweavers, Newbury, MA.
Member of -
Handweavers Guild of America, Inc., Weavers’ Guild of Boston, The Livestock Conservancy, and Rare Breeds Survival Trust, UK.
Margaret has written for Handwoven magazine, The Journal for Weavers, Spinners, and Dyers – a quarterly journal published on behalf of the Association of Guilds of Spinners, Weavers, and Dyers, UK, and Wild Fibers magazine
"Weaver of Organic Fiber" – Earth Trustee Environmental Award, Earth Society Foundation, Peace Bell Ceremony, United Nations Headquarters, New York City.
© 2017 Antrim Handweaving – all rights reserved
To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child. For what is the worth of human life, unless it is woven into the life of our ancestors by the records of history?
Photographs by Margaret B. Russell