I'm Kate Kilgus, and I live and weave in Londonderry, New Hampshire. In colonial times, Londonderry was home to Scottish and Irish families and was famous for its weavers. I'm proud to continue the handweaving tradition in this corner of New England.
I'm also pleased to continue the weaving tradition within my family. Weaving is in my blood. My great-grandfather, Alexander Briggs, was a Scottish weaver. A casualty of World War I, he had the misfortune of losing his leg while serving in France. "Grampie" worked as a carpet weaver and lived with his very large family (eight children, his oldest daughter was my grandmother) across the street from the mill. My great-grandfather died before I became a weaver by profession, but I think he would have enjoyed knowing that we share this common thread.
My 8-harness LeClerc floor loom and I have been together for nearly fifteen years. The loom is powered with my hands and feet. Warp threads are wound on a wooden warping reel, and I prepare bobbins with a manually driven winder. My fabrics come to life after doodling designs on graphing paper. I strive to create items that are delicate yet durable and pretty yet not overly fussy. I am a single-maker artisan; I do not hire out any part of the design, weaving, or finishing process.
My handmade pieces have found new homes in Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, Norway, France, Italy, Japan, Mexico, South Africa and nearly every Canadian province and state in the Union. My liturgical woven pieces are found in churches in Brighton, Michigan, Londonderry, New Hampshire, and Kirrimuire, Scotland.
Handweaving presents an unending opportunity for new design and improved technique. My goal as an artisan is to continue to explore new weaving structures, find inventive uses for handwoven fabric, and to introduce more people to the pleasures of cloth that is made the old fashioned way.
Handweaver's Guild of America
Bachelor of Arts, College of Literature, Science & Arts, University of Michigan
Masters Degree in Information & Library Science, University of Michigan