Meeting Programs

AAFG 2023-24 Meeting Programs

Membership Meetings:
Held the 2nd Monday, September – May, no December meeting.
Social time begins at 6:30 p.m. Program starts at 7 p.m.
We meet at Zion Lutheran Church in the Gathering Room (2nd floor)
1501 W. Liberty Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48103
For Zoom presentations, members will be sent an email with the Zoom link.

Meeting Formats
In-Person = Program will be held in person at Zion Lutheran Church.
Zoom = Presentation and participation will be held exclusively via Zoom. (We will not meet in person.)

Monthly Schedule 

Monday, September 11, 2023 (In-Person)
“A Fiber Art Gathering”
Get inspired! AAFG members Lois Bryant, Linda Girard, Sandy Kunkle, Karen Koykka O’Neal, and Betsy Szymanski will have tables set up to display their work. These artists will also be on hand to discuss their processes and the materials they use in their artwork. Techniques include embroidery, mixed media, beading, eco-dyeing, paper making, book arts, beading, and weaving.

Monday, October 9, 2023 (Zoom)
Ellen Willson Threads of Interest Series: Lecture #6
Community Strength Through Chilkat Weaving
Lily Hope
“Community is the center of my work. People have asked me multiple times, what is it about Chilkat weaving or Ravenstail weaving that you love the most? Is it taking the plant and the animal and spinning together, the pop of color, seeing the curves come alive? And I do, I do like that stuff,” she said. “But it’s the human connection and the community and the weaving of relationships and story and beingness of being together that keeps me coming back. That community is what keeps me here which is also why I couldn’t ever imagine living somewhere other than Juneau.” – Lily Hope

Lily Hope was born and raised in Juneau, Alaska to full-time artists. She is Tlingit Indian, of the Raven moiety. Following her matrilineal line, she’s of her grandmother’s clan, the T’akdeintaan. She learned Ravenstail weaving from her late mother Clarissa Rizal, and Kay Parker, both of Juneau. She also apprenticed for over a decade in Chilkat weaving with Rizal who, until her untimely passing in December 2016, was one of the last living apprentices of the late Master Chilkat Weaver, Jennie Thlanaut. Lily feels the pressure to leave honorable weavers in her place. She is president and co-founder of, a non-profit dedicated to maintaining, recording, and teaching weaving with integrity. Lily’s contemporary works in textile and paper collage weave together Ravenstail and Chilkat design. She is one of the few designers of dancing blankets. She teaches both finger-twined styles extensively in person (and virtually since COVID-19), in the Yukon Territory, down the coast of SE Alaska, and in Washington and Oregon. She demonstrates internationally and offers lectures on the spiritual commitments of being a weaver.

Monday, November 13, 2023 (Zoom)
The Art of Paper and Stitch
Jennifer Collier
Paper pioneer Jennifer Collier creates exquisite sculptures from vintage recycled materials in conjunction with stitch – a contemporary twist on traditional textiles. The papers serve as both the inspiration and the media for the work, with the narrative suggesting the forms. Through this marriage of unlikely materials old papers are transformed into something truly unique, delicate, and complex. Most recently Jennifer has been collecting rarely used, heritage stitches and discovering how to translate the art of lost stitches onto paper, as these techniques are an important part of our creative heritage and she wants to continue to invest time in them to keep them in the present, offering them onto future generations. Jennifer is giving new life to things that would otherwise go unused, unloved or be thrown away…

Jennifer completed a BA (hons) in Textiles (Print, Knit and Weave) in 1999 at Manchester Metropolitan University, and has had her work featured in over 100 magazines and 16 books to date, including Thames and Hudson’s ‘Encore: The New Artisans’. Jennifer is internationally exhibited and has stocked galleries such as the Museum of Art and Design, in New York, Liberty and the V&A. Jennifer has worked on many site-specific public arts commissions, most recently for the National Trust at Packwood House. In 2010 Jennifer founded Unit Twelve Gallery, a contemporary craft exhibition, art workshop and studio space, that hosts a regularly changing program of high quality, contemporary craft exhibitions, as well as being home to 6 artists studio spaces.

Monday, January 8, 2024 (In-Person)
“Scrappy Improvisation”
Thom Atkins
Award-winning quilter Thom Atkins, a fifth generation Californian, earned a Bachelor of Art in interior decoration from San Jose State College. He later went on to study welding, forging, silver smithing, and bronze casting. Tom was a landscape designer and stained-glass artist, but bronze sculpture became his primary medium.

In 2002, Thom was involved in a traffic accident, severely damaging his wrists and thumbs. Since it was clear that creating bronze sculpture was no longer an alternative, he decided to combine his love of beads with fabric and explore them as a new medium of expression. In time, surgery repaired the damage, but the shift had been made and a whole new vista had opened. Less sculptural and more colorful, Thom started exploring “Bead Embellished Quilts.” Finding the balance between beads and fabric, where each is integrated into the design and both are essential to the overall composition, has provided ample challenges for Thom’s active imagination. He has come to a point where neither “Bead Embellished” nor “Quilt” seem accurate or applicable terms, yet he continues to use them for lack of more precise definitions of what he does. In 2013, Thom wrote Beading Artistry for Quilts.

Thom also creates improvisational quilts with scraps, especially using fussy-cut pieces. In this lecture, he will share his process for designing and assembling his stunning quilts.

Monday, February 12, 2024 (Zoom)
“Spinning and Weaving in Iceland”
Rebecca Mezoff
The Textile Center in Blönduós, Iceland offers an artist residency for fiber artists. In 2022, Rebecca Mezoff packed her pipe loom and headed there for a month-long spinning and weaving exploration. She went to Iceland in part to explore their sheep and especially the wool that they produce (Icelandic sheep are the only breed on the island), but mainly wanted to study working with Icelandic wool (fleece, raw and processed) to learn ways to use it for tapestry weaving. Rebecca will share her experience with us.

Rebecca Mezoff, author of the bestselling book, The Art of Tapestry Weaving, loves nothing more than helping new tapestry weavers untangle the mystery of making images with yarn. Her fledgling career as an expert latch-hooker died before she made it to middle school, but her love of fiber never abandoned her. Now she creates large-format tapestries and is often found weaving in her pajamas which she affectionately calls her “home pants”. She runs an online tapestry school which has over 4,500 members and occasionally she leaves the studio to teach weavers in the real world about color, design, dyeing, and technique in tapestry. Her current artistic work focuses on human perception and the long scale of geologic time. Her studio is in Fort Collins, Colorado. You can find out more about her on her website and blog at

Monday, March 11, 2024 (In-Person)
“My Fiber Journey”
Natalie Drummond
Natalie Drummond will share her fiber art journey with us. From her beautiful woven cloth using her own painted and ice-dyed warps, to her felted artwork. She also repurposes her handwoven samples to incorporate these pieces into mixed media and fabric collage. Along with her PowerPoint presentation, Natalie will have a variety of her handwoven woven samples on display.

Natalie Drummond is an educator and fiber artisan living in Fremont, Indiana. Born and raised in Virginia, she developed a love of science, teaching, and fiber. Her earlier work focused on sewing and needle felting. Natalie learned to weave from a Fort Wayne Weaver’s Guild instructor and continued her weaving education at the John C Campbell Folk School, The Mannings, Red Stone Glen, Island Fiberwork Retreats, Midwest, MAFA, and HGA’s Convergence conferences. Fine Arts instruction in Craftmanship and Design from Purdue (Fort Wayne) University followed in 2015. Her work can be found at the Orchard Gallery of Fine Arts in Fort Wayne, where she was the featured artist in 2019 and 2021. Her weavings have been published in Handwoven Magazine Nov/Dec 2021.

Monday, April 8, 2024 (In-Person)
“The American Metallic Fabric Company: 100 years of Wire Weaving on Cape Cod”
Sue McDowell 
Sue is the descendent of Roger G. Edwards, Sr., who arrived on Cape Cod in 1933 to take on the management of the American Metallic Fabric Company. Sue will provide an overview of the wire weaving enterprise that thrived on Cape Cod from the 1880’s to the 1990’s, covering the history of the business and sharing anecdotes (and a few artifacts) of growing up around massive industrial looms and the talented machinists who kept them running.

Sue is a native Cape Codder who transplanted to Michigan in the mid-1980’s and continues to thrive in her adopted “home” state. She is an ice hockey coach, former IT Manager for the University of Michigan, and an artist whose choice of medium is ever evolving. She has worked with fused/engraved glass, needle felting, and more recently, weaving. Her art is always a response to the beauty of the natural world around us. Sue is also an active member of AAFG and shares her many skills with our Guild.

Monday, May 13, 2024 (In-Person)
“Celebrating Member Fiber Explorations”
The final meeting of the season will feature a challenge to AAFG members to create their own unique response from the three workshops offered this season: a fashion show of garments made from paper, inspired by Jennifer Collier’s November lecture and workshop; small quilts influenced by Thom Atkins’ January talk and workshop; and the colorful fiber created by participating in Natalie Drummond’s March lecture and ice dye workshop – perhaps something woven with these yarns.


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