Marty Benson and Laura Redford

Marty Benson (left) and Laura Redford

Marty Benson combines her love for weaving, writing, and history by exploring and documenting coverlets and other fabrics woven in the 1800s. An active weaver, teacher, writer, and researcher, she is happiest when puzzling over a scrap of cloth or deciphering an old weaving draft. Her research has included studies of historic handweavers and textiles in Louisiana, Texas, and the antebellum South. She has also led study groups on reproducing historic weaving patterns. Marty has written numerous articles for the Complex Weavers Guild’s Journal on topics such as regional weaving in the South, Bateman weave structures, and draw loom patterning. She was the Guild’s book review editor for ten years.

Marty lives in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas, where she is a member of the Northwest Arkansas Handweavers Guild.

Laura Redford has been weaving for over 30 years. She is a longtime member of the Northwest Arkansas Handweavers Guild, and has served the organization as program chair, librarian, newsletter editor, and membership chair. Laura is also a founder of and instructor for the annual two-week Northwest Arkansas Fiber Seminar, where she has taught classes in beginning and intermediate weaving, overshot theory, drafting and profile drafts, lace weaves, krokbragd, and cloth analysis.

In her very early weaving career, Laura admired the beauty and learned the intricacies of overshot, the weave structure of the coverlets in the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History’s collection. Many years later, that early experience, coupled with her fondness for history, made the Ozark Coverlet Project a natural. For Laura, learning the histories and hearing the family stories of the weavers makes it very personal. As a weaver, she can put herself at their looms with a shuttle in her hand.