Traditional artistry and contemporary style are the warp and weft of Stephanie Seal Brown's hand-woven trims.
While the other girls in her rural Oklahoma town were hitting the mall and experimenting with makeup, Stephanie Seal Brown was at home, teaching herself how to weave.
“I was very bookish as a child,” recalls Seal Brown, now forty-two, designer and weaver of an eponymous line of linen trimmings. “I used handcrafts to help pull me out of my head.” Every year, she would teach herself a new craft: sewing, quilting, embroidery. The summer she was nineteen, she discovered weaving. “And that,” she says, “was the thing that stuck.”
She took her earliest lessons from library books, making practice swatches on a small table loom her then-boyfriend built for her. That loom barely worked before breaking altogether, but it gave Seal Brown enough of a start that she knew she was ready to invest in a full-size loom. In 1996, she bought the secondhand countermarch handloom on which she continued to teach herself—and that she still uses today.
To read the complete story, or to see all photos, subscribe to MILIEU’s print or digital editions, available by clicking here.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY RICHARD GARY
WRITTEN BY SUSAN KLEINMAN
This story appeared in the Summer 2018 issue of MILIEU.