Anne Carroll Gilmour grew up in Colonial Williamsburg, where traditional artisans practice trades using 18th Century American production methods. Because she was eager to see what was happening there, Anne often stopped by the weaving room on her walk to and from school. Anne said that after meeting Williamsburg’s master Scottish weaver Norman Kennedy, “there was no turning back.” She was hooked on weaving and textile arts for life.
Anne moved west with her family as a teenager. She studied clothing and textiles in college, raised a herd of sheep in Wyoming, moved to the Wasatch Mountains of Utah, and now operates her studio on the family farm in Brush Prairie, Washington. Like many women of the West, Anne is a doer. She raises animals, makes soap, teaches, babysits her grandchildren, and performs music with her husband Ridge.
Anne has found that Jacob sheep, a rare heritage breed that she hopes to perpetuate, suit the conditions in southwestern Washington.
As a textile artist, Anne is first and foremost a designer. She excels in spinning, weaving, knitting, and fabric finishing. No matter what technique she uses, she focuses on the interplay of color and pattern.
Luckily, other knitters can try Anne’s original knitting patterns, many of which are inspired by the designs of different traditional cultures. Her hat and glove set pattern called “Aotearoa/Tai Hur-Huri Mitts” incorporates a symbol representing changing cycles of life for the Maori people of New Zealand.
Anne has never forgotten the lessons she received in Scottish song and weaving from her Gaelic grandfather in Nova Scotia and from Norman Kennedy in Williamsburg. She regularly leads “waulkings” (traditional group fabric finishing sessions) at special events. She also weaves traditional Scottish tartan plaid patterns like the Isle of Skye District Plaid featured in an elegant and useful kitchen towel.
Anne also CREATES new tartan patterns for families, other groups, and events. Yes, Salt Lake City’s Living Traditions Festival now has its own Gilmour-designed tartan, as do the Freemasons. Find the scarf worn below and other items woven in the Freemason’s Universal Tartan™ designed by Anne and available at the website of the Utah Grand Lodge.
Anne is always quick to credit those who have helped her, “some of the best teachers and mentors in textiles,” she says. They have included Sharon Alderman, Kaffe Fassett, Randall Darwall, and of course Norman Kennedy. Now, Anne is a master artist, offering classes, workshops, and demonstrations to adults and youth in Utah and Wyoming as well as the Pacific Northwest.
Anne offers many of her knitting patterns through her Wildwest Woolies website: www.wildwestwoolies.com. You will find information there on how to contact Anne about purchasing her tartan towels and other handmade items.
Through this online gallery, Handcrafted Art Traditions, Anne offers fiber-wrapped soft sculptures of that playfully represent llamas and different breeds of sheep. You’ll find them on Anne's page of the Handcrafted Art Traditions website. From now through Dec. 31, 2016, you may use discount code 7083 for a 15% discount off the price of your order of Anne's work or anything else featured on the website.
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