My passion is liberating the creative soul. As a contemporary Renaissance woman, this expresses through many methods and mediums, like the facets of a jewel. There is no end to the magic of creating with our hands, and the time-honored realm of fiber arts feels especially magical to me as an artist. Whether it is transforming wool roving from our farm’s sheep into adorable felted creatures or turning colorful yarns into intricate tapestries, the magic continually renews in my own practice and through teaching others.
Erindale Tapestry Studio is grounded on my family’s century farm in northern Wisconsin—tucked within the boundaries of the Chequamegon National Forest. My home studio is a 16-foot diameter yurt nestled on the farm, looking out over the gardens and orchards. But as many artists know, the world is really your studio, and projects come with me wherever I go—whether it’s a cabled crochet piece in my shoulder bag, a sketchbook under my arm, or my latest writing journal on the side table. My family is amazingly patient as projects tend to take over the house as well! Creating is a deep part of my life, and I cannot imagine feeling fully supported to make ideas manifest without piles of yarn and closets full of fabric. The stash is, after all, part and parcel to the process.
With 15 looms plus a number of frames, hook, and other hand tools, the possibilities for expressions in fibers are nearly endless. I began the journey at least by age eight, when my mother taught me how to use a crochet hook to make blankets for my favorite stuffed animals. At 13, I began training in Navajo tapestry weaving with master weaver Fran Potter, which is about the same time I began earnestly working in costumery. In 2011, I completed my Masters of Fine Arts in Interdisciplinary Arts at Goddard College, interweaving my love of narrative with my fiber arts and music practices.
Currently, I am establishing a small weaving school—enabling a haven for immersive learning in hand skills that are quickly disappearing in an age of machines. These machines (mechanical or digitized) will never replace the magic of creating with one’s own hands, and I am fully engaged in keeping that magic alive—both in my own practice and with students.
I am also actively coaching artists in the process of unleashing their creativity. Inspired by Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way,” with influences from Natalie Goldberg, Mark Coleman, and others, this is a powerful process for breaking through blocks and self-doubt to a place of creative abundance—a place filled with life and possibility, empowerment and expression.
I hope that you will come to feel a sense of creativity’s magic as well, whether through this site, my finished pieces, or learning opportunities. Every element is interwoven with compassion for details and deep questions of meaning making and the overlay of form and narrative. My hope is that you too will be inspired to engage in the journey of liberating the creative soul.
Erindale Tapestry Studio’s name was inspired by the plethora of historical fiction creative writing that infused much of my undergraduate experience with research and desk-side adventure. In these stories, which were set in late medieval Europe, the name of the home castle was Erindale. It is customary for tapestry weavers to create their own studio “weaver’s mark” and it is also historically customary for such marks to include castle imagery.
Inspired by the castle in my novellas, Erindale joined my studio practice’s name and weaver’s mark as well.
MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts, Goddard College (2011)
BA in Creative Writing and Performing Arts, Vermont College of Union Institute and University (2008).
Andrea Myklebust, Contemporary Tapestry Weaving (2021)
Marcie McIntire, Anaishinaabe-Style Bead Embroidery (2021)
Emily Moe, Moe Sew Co. Millinery (2018)
Amy Oxford, Oxford School of Punch Rug Hooking (2015)
Fran Potter, Traditional Navajo Weaving (1999-2005)
“Socially Distanced, Creatively Connected,” Vesterheim Norwegian American Museum, Iowa (July 2021-Jan 2022)
“Punch Needle Contemporary Artists,” Sauder Village, Amy Oxford curator, Ohio (Aug 2021)
American Tapestry Alliance, www.americantapestryalliance.org
Fine Art Tapestry, “Weave Me a Different Story: Alternative Narrative Meets Tapestry.”
Triannual Review of Tapestry Art Today, Summer 2020, Vol. 46 No. 2, Pgs. 7-8
American Tapestry Alliance, www.americantapestryalliance.org
Origin Stories, “Weave Me a Different Story: Alternative Narrative Meets Tapestry.”
Quarterly Review, Winter 2018, Vol. 44 No. 4, Pgs. 12-13
Sawyer Co. Gazette, Sawyer Co. Record, Spooner Advocate, Ashland Daily Press, Bayfield Co. Journal, The Country Today, Winter, Hayward, Spooner, Ashland, and state-wide in WI
Weekly “Down on the Farm” columnist on homesteading, local foods, and community awareness topics, June 2012 to present
Currently, I am actively teaching a variety of fiber arts mediums from the Fiber Loft of my on-farm shop Farmstead Creamery & Cafe hosted on Zoom. This virtual classroom has allowed me to connect with students across the US and in Canada! While I sometimes offer programming independently, partnerships with a variety of exceptional organizations are a key part of my teaching practice. These organizations include:
North House Folk School
Duluth Folk School
Minnesota Weaver’s Guild
Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center
Cable Natural History Museum
Marine Mills Folk School
Vesterheim Norwegian American Museum and Folk Arts School
Ely Folk School
American Swedish Institute
Land O’ Lakes Arts
Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
Thunder Bay Weaver and Spinners Guild
In the face of COVID-19 and the necessary lock-down of our farm, I do not accept visitors to the studio at this time. I have transitioned my teaching to Zoom, in partnership with regional folk schools, and am taking some time to refocus on my practice. I’m still happy to work with you on commissions or learning goals, even while we must be physically apart at this time. Stay safe everyone!
Erindale Tapestry Studio: Laura Berlage maintains an active Facebook page including event calendar. Please check in regularly as events and offerings are updated.
Tapestry Weaving Demonstration