Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Interview with Etsy Weaver from Missouri

This week we present you the story of the designer and weaver from Vienna, Missouri, USA - 

Sherry Bingaman

Sherry has joined our team not a long time ago, but she is a great addition to our team, both for her weaving experience and also for other techniques and designs that make her creations so interesting and unique!
Read on and make a new friend!

Sherry Bingaman with Etsy store Nueva Vida

Here is her story: 

My love of making and selling my textile work goes back to my childhood. When I was nine years old, my mom received eight free sewing lessons with the purchase of her new sewing machine. Since Mom was already an expert seamstress, she let me take the lessons. Aprons were the first things I learned to make. A little nine year old going around our neighborhood selling her gingham aprons must have been hard to resist, because I sold as many as I could make! I trace my passion for making and selling to these first sales.

My parents were artists and I grew up surrounded by the materials and inspirations involved in their paintings and commercial art. I was especially fascinated with the paper doll books they made and I designed dresses for my own paper dolls.

My love of fabrics continued to grow, and in 1967 I entered Iowa State University as a textile major. When I took my first weaving class, I went nuts! The excitement of actually designing my own fabrics was an explosion of fun for me. I changed my major to applied art with an emphasis in weaving and have ever since been obsessed with everything woven. I always enjoyed selling what I made, and parting with my treasures was easy – I was in love with the process, and the more I wove, the more ideas that came to me for the next project.

After graduating from ISU and my husband’s 3-year stint in the Navy we returned to my home town of Kenosha, Wisconsin, where I started participating in art fairs in the communities between Milwaukee and Chicago. This area was rich with shows, and I had some great initial success. My husband, Jim, encouraged me and soon quit his job to work with me. We continued to make our living as designer/weavers for 15 years, having two daughters along the way. We moved to rural Missouri to be centrally located and more accessible to shows all over the country and to experience “country living”. Our older daughter, Kate, went to many of the shows with us, and our younger one, Kory, still regrets she didn’t get to go to as many shows as her sister. They both loved the excitement of meeting artists and their work and grew up to become successful artists themselves ( , .)

Eventually, to add more stability to our income (college costs were lurking in the near future) I got my art education certification and began teaching at K-12 at the local school and also continued with our weaving business. Working with students of all ages was a lot of fun and also added to my design inspiration resources (kids have a unique creative perspective!). Jim continued doing shows on his own for several more years while his interest in computers developed into a passion and new career.

I taught for 15 years while continuing with shows in the summer. I always kept my love of weaving alive and expanded into dyeing, both my yarns and now fabrics. Creating my own colorways became another obsession. My weave structures are pretty basic and nothing fancy, and my one-of-a-kind colors are my signature. Silk is my favorite material, both silk yarns and silk fabric for my scarves. Dyeing silk yields wonderful subtle color blendings very reminiscent of a watercolor painting. I love the unpredictability of my dye process. No two pieces are ever the same.

My main sources of inspiration are ethnic textiles, especially those from Mexico and Central America. I have traveled to Mexico many times and treasure the rugs and embroidered textiles I collected there. The colors and textures from these cultures continue to excite and inspire me. 

I have been an elementary principal for the past five years and continue to do shows and sell my work through my ETSY shop that I opened in 2006. ETSY has been great for me both as a sales outlet and a resource for materials. I am inspired by the work of other artists here and am so pleased with the growth and effectiveness of ETSY. My work can be seen at and

My advice to those new to ETSY is to be patient and persistent. It can be difficult to find the time to list often, but when I do the effort is always reflected in my sales. The search ads have been great for boosting my sales, too. I include my ETSY website on my business cards. At shows, I notice more and more customers are familiar with ETSY and do much of their shopping here. Yea!


  1. I read this with great interest! Sherry, I feel your obsession for weaving iust the same as mine!!
    Your work is gorgeous.
    Thank you so much, my felloow, to tell us about your deep experience!
    Mirella (mireloom)

  2. I loved reading this. I feel the same about weaving but, of course with an entirely different medium....rags. There is a challenge to find pleasing colors in compatable weights, and desirable fiber content. Sherry, your fabrics are really wondeful!!! Donna (ragrugs)

  3. Sherry, your work caught my eye some time ago and I'm glad you joined the team. It is fun to read about other weavers and how we are led to do what we do.
    Thanks to Alana and Sherry for this interview!

  4. Nice interview Alana. Welcome Sherry, the weavers in this group are a generous and talented bunch who love to share their ideas talents. Love your work.

  5. Wonderful interview, lovely pictures! I love to dye too!

  6. Thanks for the kind words! I am so glad to be part of this group of creative peeps and to share weaving/fiber/textile obsessions. Yea for obsessive/compulsive people!

  7. Thanks for sharing your story Sherry. How wonderful for you to have lived your life with weaving! Even though I have had a love of yarn and fabric forever, I only came to weaving in th past 4 years. I'm hooked too!

  8. Better late than never, right? Yarn, weaving, dyeing, anything fibers/textiles is a rich area for an obsession! Enjoy yourself!