Thursday, April 7, 2011

Interview with Greg Newham

Hello Team,

today I wanted to present an interview with someone who has been weaving professionally for ... over 40 years... What you're about to read and see is guaranteed to blow your mind...
Additionally Greg has been a great supporter of Etsy Weavers team from the day one. He has offered great advices and serious critique (I do appreciate both!) out of passionate effort to make Etsy experience a worthy one for all of us.

Greg is located in Kinston, New York ( Hudson Valley region )

Please visit his Etsy store:  fitchstudioweavers

I proudly present to you Greg Newham and his story.

Random facts about you: 
I live and work in the Hudson Valley of New York State with my partner of twenty-seven years, Jay Halpern and our newest charge, a five month old, five pound Yorkie named Percy. I am the fourth generation of weavers from my father’s side – my grandfather and his father were lace weavers from Nottingham England. My current studio is a historic brick church dating from 1884 – stained glass windows and all.

How / when did you begin weaving?
It was quite accidental - I was working on a Masters in Music, studying clarinet. A friend wanted to change careers and was interested in pursuing a craft – weaving was mentioned. Since I was unfamiliar with “weaving”, I went to the library and borrowed several books for my friend, but I ended up reading them. In trying to encourage my friend, I ended up becoming consumed by the discipline. Soon we were purchasing a loom in NYC – in 1973. The saleswoman asked what we would do with it and I said, “Start a business weaving rugs”.  She asked if we knew how to weave…?.... No….well she taught weaving….and so it began. My partner’s brother was a noted interior designer in NYC. I spent a whole summer in an apartment in NY teaching myself to weave, and taking lessons from Johanna Laurie who had studied in France and Scandinavia. That fall we presented the “new samples” to his brother and he referred us to another designer who made a call which put us in the offices of one of the most prestigious interior design firms in NY. The first rugs I wove on commission were for the weekend home of Carter Brown, at that time the director of the National Gallery. With these orders in hand we relocated to Woodstock, NY where I studied with Iona Plath - a noted weaver and author. Time flew by; now it is nearly forty years later – and I still create custom textiles to order for the interior design trade. I like to say in that time I have woven “to the Moon and back, at least several times.”

Any particular techniques you enjoy the most?
Since most of my technique is “self-learned” from many years of hands-on work, I will say it is difficult to choose any one aspect. I hand dye yarns, creating space dyed coloring since nearly the beginning. I weave very large “constructed” area rugs – i.e. woven in panels and hand seamed so patterns match meticulously over 25-30 feet in length; I also weave throws and upholstery fabric….and I like to create scarves too! In truth, I enjoy the range of processes necessary to produce the finished textiles, whatever it may be.

What part of the process makes you the most passionate?
Again, this is really hard to differentiate for me, because the whole process is a continuum – meaning you begin with the concept be it the design and/or coloring, continuing on to choosing and preparing the necessary materials. Once they are secured it is on to the physical steps of warping and setting-up the loom and then the weaving. (I find warping the loom very satisfying ….and the actual weaving has been my life’s work. Assembling and finishing these large textiles gives the sense of completion. )

(area rug hand-woven by Greg)

What is your source of inspiration?
This is another question I cannot pinpoint a succinct answer.  Ideas come to me at any time, many I do not act on for years. I am a very visual and tactile person and there is inspiration even in mundane daily tasks. Finally, my clients over the years have provided a stimulus that is unfathomable. I have worked for many of the most noted American interior designers and architects. These extremely talented people are constantly providing their input.  I many times feel that I am most creative at “solving a problem” given very specific limitations – that is fulfilling the desires of a design professional so that my textile is compatible with the whole concept of the room.  These are generally very high-end projects.

Where do I sell? 
I think the above answer explains where the bulk of my work goes – into residential interior projects. I have sold my hand woven scarves in boutique stores and a few craft shows. An assistant suggested, and actually set up my Etsy shop – Fitch Studio Weavers just over a year ago. It is now the only venue for the sale of my scarves. 
When my assistant moved back to his home state, I had to take over managing the shop. I have to say that at this late stage in my career, I have to acquire a lot of new “techniques” regarding marketing on the web….and I am still learning. But in this process I have met other weavers across the world through the Etsy Weavers Team and had some very nice interactions with purchasers on Etsy. We are all still evolving – both the shop owners of Etsy and the site itself. I find it challenging, but also kind of fun.

Inteview by Alvant,
Captain of Etsy Weavers team


  1. Wow, what an interesting, revealing interview. Greg your work is beautiful ( of course ) !

    Can I come play in your studio?


  2. I like to ear this succesfull story! I should like to see the other works of Greg! Rugs, carpet! Have you a site?

  3. Lovely lovely work......... I am awe struck!

  4. I admire your beautiful studio. I was in a weaving studio in Perugia, Italy that had been a Catholic church and I thought it was the most perfect space for weaving. Your studio reminds me of that.
    It's wonderful to see someone who has made a career of weaving. Congratulations to you!

  5. Thanks for your positive, complimentary comments. My website is
    informational in nature and is at

  6. What a story! What inspiration! I am so glad to have "met" you, Greg. The scale of your work is just mind boggling to me. Thanks so much for sharing.

  7. Great to hear your story, Greg. I've admired your shop and it's wonderful to learn how much more there is to your work and business.

  8. I too am a professional weaver, and understand the huge effort and level of work that has gone into your success! Congratulations on 40 years!! I would like to ask a few more questions if you have time. Look for an email from me!

  9. Dear Greg, you are a truly passionate craftsperson and I am so lucky to have acquired/commissioned 3 of your scarves. And now I understand your secret a bit better: a 4th generation genetic predisposition to weave and create; a light filled studio; a loving partner and a new puppy! I am so pleased to have met you!

  10. Wow - I'm speechless. Very impressive. The least I can say.

  11. so proud to call you family

  12. I am so proud of our team... What is encouraging is that all of us are at different levels and probably with slightly different goals, certainly with different interests and personalities - but all here supporting each other... It certainly feels like family... Thank you all for such an experience!

  13. How wonderful to see this article about my favorite weaver of all time! I adore Greg's work and so enjoyed reading in depth about his commitment to his craft and to etsy Weavers. When I wear Greg's art, I feel wrapped in warmth - both literal and figurative because I know the love and dedication that created it. Hope to visit you when I'm in your area!
    Karen Adams