Karen Donde presents
“The Fascinating Life of Mary Meigs Atwater”
Widely regarded as the unofficial dean of American handweaving, Mary Meigs Atwater, 1878-1956, did not start weaving until she was 40. Even then, she was not driven by a passion for
making cloth. Her interests were more pragmatic. Inspired by handweaving industries in Berea, KY, and others in the South, she saw weaving as a way to help the women of her remote Montana mining
community become more productive, as an occupational therapy tool for injured soldiers returning from World War I and as a means of supporting her family after the death of her husband. Beyond
weaving, she was an artist, designer, world traveler, adventurer, writer, patriot, political activist, wife, mother and avid fisherman. Karen has long been a fan of Mary’s courage, adventurous
spirit, keen observations and contributions to modern American handweaving. She will share some of her favorite stories and quotes from Mary’s autobiography and books.
Bio: Karen Donde weaves garments, fashion accessories and home textiles for sale and
teaches beginning-advanced weaving classes and assorted workshops for guilds and conferences. Teaching credits include HGA’s Convergence 2012, 2014 and 2016 and 2020, Southeast Fiber Forum, the Mid-Atlantic Fiber
Association’s Workshop Weekend, Midwest Weavers Conference, Intermountain Weavers Guild Conference and Florida Tropical Weavers Conference. In Asheville, NC, she has taught at Sutherland Handweaving
Studio, Friends & Fiberworks and Local Cloth.
Karen is a juried member of the Southern Highland Craft Guild and graduated in May 2013
from Haywood Community College’s Professional Crafts-Fiber program. An experienced and award-winning writer with a bachelor of journalism degree from the University of Missouri, Donde now writes for
and about weavers. She is a contributor to Handwoven magazine and other allied