Suzy Ballenger's studio at Shady Lea in North Kingstown. Photo courtesy of the Little Compton Historical Society.

Local craftmakers and artisans are offering a  series of workshops with individualized instruction this winter and spring in anticipation of the Little Compton Historical Society’s 2023 Inspired Craft exhibition. Participants of all experience levels, including those trying a craft for the first time, are encouraged to attend. The first two workshops offer textile weaving and dry needle felting and are described below. A full list of workshops is available at littlecompton.org. 

Suzi Ballenger’s “One Day Weaving Adventure” welcomes you to her North Kingstown  studio to create your own 18”x28” Cheerful Kitchen Towel or Wild Rosepath Rug. Using  colorful cotton yarns, you will learn to weave on a 4-shaft floor loom and go home with a  finished piece. Ages 17+ may participate, with ages 13-17 being welcomed if they attend  with a participating adult. Two slots are available on Saturday, January 28 and three are  available on Saturday, February 25; February 4 has sold out. Those wishing to register  can call 401-635-4035 or email admin@littlecompton.org. The program is 10 AM-4 PM,  and the registration fee of $140 can be paid by cash, check, or credit card. 

Suzy Ballenger’s studio at Shady Lea in North Kingstown. Photo courtesy of the Little Compton Historical Society.

“Do You Want to Make a Snowman? – Dry Needle Felting for Beginners” is offered by  Historical Society Executive Director Marjory O’Toole. It will be in person at the Little  Compton Historical Society on Wednesday, February 15, 6-8 PM, or through Zoom on  

Thursday, February 16, also 6-8 PM. Both the in-person and online groups will learn the  simple, and very stress relieving, craft of dry needle felting. If you can stab something,  you can needle felt. You’ll receive a kit with everything to need to tackle your first  project. During the two-hour workshop you will transform a fluff of wool fleece into a  finished snowman and then take home your needles to continue your own projects in the  future. Each evening can accommodate up to 15 participants aged 16+, or aged 12-16 if  accompanied by a participating adult. If you choose the online class, you must register by  February 8 to ensure you have the materials in advance. You may choose to receive your  materials by mail delivery or pick-up at the Wilbor House. Those wishing to register can  call 401-635-4035 or email admin@littlecompton.org. The registration fee is $10 for  LCHS members and $20 for non-members, and can be paid by cash, check or credit card.  Virtual participants receiving their materials by mail will pay an additional $5 for  shipping. 

The Historical Society’s Inspired Craft exhibition that prompted these workshops will  premiere in July of 2023. All craftmakers with ties to the local area are invited to  participate. They are encouraged to seek inspiration from one or more historic craft items  that have been especially selected from the Historical Society’s collection for this project  and to create new works of craft inspired by the old. Their new works will be submitted  to the Historical Society in May, reviewed by a jury, and may be included in the 2023  exhibition. The exhibition will display the new works alongside their historic inspirations  and tell the stories of both the new and old items. To date, over 30 people have expressed  interest in participating, and the project has room for more.  

More information is available at littlecompton.org, including all scheduled craft  workshops and the submission guidelines for the exhibition. Vendors interested in participating in the Society’s special events and craft instructors interested in leading future workshops are invited to contact the Historical Society at 401-635-4035 or  admin@littlecompton.org 


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