JP Craftsman Shane Maxwell Hosts Textile-Inspired Workshops at Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

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Weaving together the themes of the current Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum exhibition, Common Threads, Shane Maxwell, a Jamaica Plain-based craftsman, who oversees textile painting and dyeing for the Boston Ballet and The Santa Fe Opera (over the summer season), is teaching his textile-inspired techniques at an ongoing museum open studio series.

Maxwell's Saturday Open Studio workshop series will run every Saturday, from Oct. 13 through Jan. 12, from 11 am to 4 pm. Saturday Open Studio events are included with museum admission.

While the tapestry of society has become increasingly complex, the basic principles of weaving and fiber arts have not changed. In these Saturday workshops, visitors will try their hand at working with yarn as they create non-traditional tapestries of their own.

“The emergence of tradition through repetition is an important cornerstone of culture, and links the significance of textiles in tradition to the physical act of producing them,” said Maxwell. “I hope this workshop will allow visitors to experience the emergence of patterns through simple repetition and become more aware of the patterns we follow and rely on in our everyday lives.”

Maxwell has a passion for any form of art that can be worn. Most of his time is spent painting and dyeing costume fabrics for Boston Ballet and The Santa Fe Opera. Additionally, he collects natural materials and found objects to incorporate into jewelry and wearable sculpture.

Maxwell's workshop is part of the Polly Thayer Starr Artist Series, which enables artists in the Boston area to consider their work within the rich cultural context of the Gardner Museum and the unique legacy of the museum’s founder, Isabella Stewart Gardner, through a structured three-month collaboration period of thought, exploration, and workshop implementation.