Jan Myers-Newbury & Claire Benn
Jan Myers-Newbury & Claire Benn
Jan Myers-Newbury & Claire Benn
Jan Myers-Newbury & Claire Benn

Jan Myers-Newbury

Jan Myers-Newbury is known for her pieced quilts using fabrics hand-dyed with various shibori techniques. She has exhibited and taught nationally and internationally, having been included in thirteen QUILT NATIONAL exhibits. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Arts and Design, the Minneapolis Institute of the Arts, the Museum of the American Quilters Society and the American Quilt Study Center; nearly 200 quilts are included in corporate and private collections. Her quilt “Depth of Field: A Plane View” was selected as one of the 20th Century’s 100 Best Quilts. She has lived in Pittsburgh since 1987.

What I have always loved about dye applied to cloth is the evocative and sumptuous nature of the resultant fabrics. Color is
IN the fabric, not on it. Design is a process of finding relationships among fabrics. I rarely have a preconceived notion of how a finished work will look. And while I feel that I have a certain amount of control over what goes on in the dye bath, there are always surprises, and that is what I love about it. This is, I hope, the philosophy that I carry into teaching.

Jan’s web site

Claire Benn

Claire stitched a bit at college, dropped out, stopped stitching and started working … finally re-engaging with textiles after seeing a Mennonite quilt in 1994. What can be done to a piece of cloth still amazes her.

In 2001 she teamed up with Leslie Morgan to form ‘Committed to Cloth’ which became one of the foremost textile teaching practices in the U.K., with seven great books published during the partnership. In 2014 Claire retired from the partnership (but not completely from teaching) in order to focus more on her own work. Working with students in a community of like-minded people is a continued joy as teaching provides such a positive feedback loop; everyone learns. Her focus as a tutor is to enable; she presents clear demonstrations and instruction, believes in straight-talking, offers guidance, pulling and encouragement.

Her own work is currently focused on two streams; intensive hand stitching of naturally dyed linen and mixed media (earth pigments, acrylic and thread) on heavy cotton. Her work is abstract, reductive and meditative.

• For more information about Claire and her work, visit her
• For more information about Committed to Cloth, visit their

Claire & Jan’s class

  • • October 1-6, 2017 | Linear Thinking: Shibori, Surface & Stitch

    Open or Close
    Linear Thinking: Shibori, Surface & Stitch
    • Level: Intermediate to advanced
    • Zig zag sewing machine: No
    • Materials fee:
    $30 (if Thermofax screens are made, these will be charged separately, at cost)
    • Dye facility usage fee: $30

    • SORRY, class is full To be placed on waiting list, please send in registration & deposit. If space does not become available, a full refund will be issued.

    Tuition & Meal plan per 5-day class:
    • $915 - Tuition ($675) & Meal plan ($240)
    Jan Myers-Newbury & Claire Benn
    Combining different processes can be a challenge, so this workshop brings together a ‘dream team’ of two tutors, both experts in their field. Claire and Jan are interested in facilitating dialogue within the techniques that we individually and collectively know so well. We are intrigued by the possibilities of combining the embedded color of the immersion dye bath with various surface applications of color to fabric. As such, this workshop will enable students to explore how to develop surface designed cloth by combining it with the Shibori process … and vice versa. We will also look at how the resulting pieces can be developed through hand stitch, or used for construction and piecing purposes.

    The approach will encompass:
    • Shibori dyeing using pole wrapping (Arashi) to achieve linear patterning.
    • Surface design with thickened dyes and discharge media, using methods such as printing (block, screen, Thermofax and mono), scraping, rollers and line work.
    • Exploring ways forward with hand stitch and/or cutting and restructuring.

    The supplies fee of $30 will cover the use of:
    • Mx dyes
    • Chemicals: everything needed for dye work.
    • Thiox: for surface (not vat) discharge work.
    • Tools: a selection of key tools will be provided.

    For surface design work, an ample supply of thickened dye paints, Chemical Water & Print Paste will be ready for use on the first day. As getting experience at mixing dyes is an important part of the learning process, a rota will be established where a team of people will be responsible for keeping stocks topped up on any given day. Recipes will be posted to ensure consistency throughout the week. The dye vats for the Shibori processes will be established and mixed as we progress.

    The Cloth – Cellulose Fibers ONLY please (so no silk)
    We prefer not to mix fibers in this workshop as silk tends to ‘steal’ from other cellulose fibers in the dye bath.You will need 10 yards but will need to consider how you’ll use your cloth:
    • For cutting & restructuring: a cotton you’re familiar with and happy to use for piecing.
    • For hand stitch: avoid a tight weave (e.g., high thread count) as this tends to make hand stitching a chore rather then a pleasure, and go for a medium-weight rather than flimsy or very heavy.

    Suggestions for specific fabrics will be sent out 2 to 3 months in advance of the workshop. Meanwhile, you might want to try sampling various cellulose fibers with the techniques you’re familiar with. We’ve purchased various linens, hemp and rayon-cotton and rayon/linen blends at Jo Ann and Dharma, all with good results. Work on small pieces and machine zig-zag the edges before scouring as the linen, hemp and blends tend to fray with impunity!

    Prepare the cloth in advance
    Scouring – even with cloth that is sold as PFD (Prepared for Dyeing) - is recommended. Bring up to 10 yards in total and label each piece in a corner. It may not all be used – this is dependent on individual working styles and pace. Racing is to be avoided, whereas thoughtful consideration will be encouraged.

    For surface design using dye paints, Claire prefers to work on soda-soaked cloth rather than putting soda ash into the dyes (the benefits of this approach will be explained). As such, please ensure you have two yards (or 8 fat quarters) of scoured, soda-soaked and dried cloth ready for use on the first day; don’t iron it or fold it once soda-soaked – just stuff it into a bag once dry. A soda vat will be available for on-going soda soaking throughout the workshop.
    To soda soak scoured cloth:
    • Pre-scour it, then dry it or spin-dry it.
    • Create a soda vat large enough for your needs; the basic recipe is 3 tablespoons of soda ash to 1 quart of water. Dissolve sufficient soda ash for your needs in warm (not cold or hot) water and top up with the appropriate amount of cold water.
    • Place the scoured, dry (or spun-dried, but NOT wet) cloth in to the soda vat and leave for 15 minutes.
    • Dry by drip-drying or spin the soda-soaked cloth before line drying (if you have a spin dryer, recycle the run off back into the soda vat). DO NOT TUMBLE DRY.
    • Once dry, stuff it into a bag (don’t fold or iron).

    Please note that for the vat-dyeing shibori processes, the fabric should be scoured but NOT soda-soaked. Prepare 2 yards (or 8 fat quarters) only with the soda-soak process.

    General Supplies
    • One dropcloth: please bring dropcloth of a neutral color that is sturdy. Drill (denim) cotton or something similar such as a 7oz cotton canvas; these are sturdy enough to flip over and use both sides before washing is needed. Old sheets are too thin and avoid heavy-weight muslin or canvas as it tends to hold wrinkles. Please also avoid the plastic-backed decorators’ cloths. Your dropcloth needs to measure 5’ x 8’, once scoured and shrunk as this is the average size of the work tables.
    • Rubber gloves: they need to come at least 4-5” beyond your wrist for the dye baths, but if you wish to bring surgical gloves for surface design, then bring them too.
    • A dust mask for mixing dyes.
    • Pins: one box of ball-headed or T pins (please DO NOT bring the heavy, thick upholstery T Pins as they destroy the design walls).
    • One fine black Sharpie for marking your fabrics, or bring small pieces of Tyvek and a stapler.
    • Notebook/sketchbook: handouts on recipes and some process will be provided, but it can be useful to record your order of process on individual pieces, or make notes during general discussions.
    • Pen and pencil.
    • Cloth apron (or wear the equivalent of gardening/decorating clothes).
    • Comfortable, rubber-soled shoes (you’ll be standing a great deal and the floor is concrete).
    • A camera as it’s useful to record work-in-progress.
    • An iPod and headphones if you like to work to music.

    Surface Design Supplies
    • Silkscreen: please bring 1 – even though the emphasis of the class isn’t on the use of silkscreens, you may need one. Don’t bring anything larger than 18”x12” - smaller will be fine and one will be enough!! Screens can be purchased from Dharma Trading (www.dharmatrading.com) or Dick Blick (www.dickblick.com). Please try to avoid buying screens that use cord to hold in the mesh as they aren’t as good as glued screens, but if that’s all you can find, so be it. Please label your screens and waterproof the wood by applying 3 layers of water-based wood varnish. Once dry, pre-scour the mesh by scrubbing it with hot water and a cream cleanser (e.g., SoftScrub) – this is important as otherwise, freezer paper stencils won’t stick to the mesh.
    • Squeegees & Scrapers: one Speedball 9” squeegee with a cream or maroon plastic handle and a rubber blade. One grouting tool/spreader (look in hardware stores and kitchen shops) or a credit card squeegee to use with Thermofax screens or as a general scraper.
    • Thermofax screens: some of you will be familiar with Thermofaxes (small, imaged silk screens), some will not. A Thermofax machine is available at the barn and Claire will organize supplies of mesh and frames should students wish to create Thermofaxes for use during the class. These supplies are NOT included in the supplies fee and will be charged at cost and in cash please, at the end of the workshop. Please note that your imagery will need to be in laser print or photocopy format – not inkjet. India ink will also generate a Thermofax, as will some pencils. Photocopying services are available in Pickerington or Lancaster and there’s a Staples near the main hotels just off the I-70.

    Shibori Supplies
    • If you already have dyeing supplies and are arriving by car, bring as many buckets as is convenient (up to 3).
    • At least three lengths of plastic PVC (plumbing) pipe for arashi shibori (pole-wrapping)*. These can be from 1” to 3” in diameter.
    • Rubber bands (heavy are best; veggie bands work well). Bring about 20-30.
    • Cord and/or string - at least 200 yards. This could be crochet cotton, cotton weaving warp, string, various sizes are good - even preferred.
    • 4 plastic dry cleaner bags or other clear thin plastic.  

    • Please note: Jan will be bringing MANY pieces of PVC pipe; if you are traveling by air, you do NOT need to bring PVC – there will be plenty.

    Stitching Supplies
    • Thread for hand stitch: you’ll have an inkling as to what kind of color range you’ll prefer to work in, so bring up to 10 colors of natural fiber thread to play with (make sure you have a black and a gray in this assortment). Remember that during the workshop, you’ll be exploring rather than finishing a masterpiece, so please don’t bring your entire thread collection.
    • Small scissors and a seam ripper.
    • A good selection of needles, appropriate for the threads you’ll be hand stitching with.
    • A thimble if you like to use one.
    • A small cutting mat, rule and rotary cutter if you’re going to explore cutting and re-structuring. You’ll be exploring composition and there is no need to bring a sewing machine. Should you develop something you’re pleased with, you can machine piece once home.

    • Please contact Claire and Jan if you have any queries about the class content or supplies. Be sure to email both of us to make sure we both understand any queries.

  • • 2017 Fall class tuition and Meal plan
    Tuition & Meal plan per 5-day class for Fall 2017 (except Claire Benn’s Working with Intent class - see info below):
    • $915 - Tuition ($675) & Meal plan ($240) | paid in full as soon as possible

    Tuition & Meal plan for
    Claire Benn’s Working with Intent class (limited to 14 participants):
    • $1025 - Tuition ($785) & Meal plan ($240) | paid in full as soon as possible

    • Note: Some of the workshops have an additional fee for materials & facility usage. Each class description indicates whether there is an additional fee. Material/facility fees are due with the final payment.

    Meal plan
    During the art retreats, Margaret Wolf, will prepare fabulous gourmet lunches and dinners plus a coffee/snack break daily during each week of class. The meal plan is provided so participants may concentrate fully on their work without being bothered by the interruption and inconvenience of cooking for themselves. The break times present a great opportunity to get to know your fellow students, share ideas, and just relax together in this wonderful environment.

    The meal plan includes an opening night welcome dinner, five lunches, five afternoon coffee/pastry breaks, and four more dinners during the duration of the workshop. Coffee, tea and water will be served during these break times. Participants are responsible for any other beverage choices, such as soda pop, beer, wine, milk or bottled water.

    Please keep in mind that if anyone chooses not to participate in the meal plan, they are solely responsible for all of their meals, snacks, coffee, tea, and other beverages. The kitchen facilities are reserved for the resident chef. There is a microwave and a refrigerator in the wet studio for student use. Most restaurants are at least a 20 minute drive away from the barn.

    Please note: Due to facility limitations, meal plans are available only for workshop participants.
  • • Accommodations
    Recommended accommodations & offering special rates:

    Hampton Inn, Pickerington, Ohio (15-20 minute drive to the Crow Timber Frame Barn)
    This clean, comfortable hotel is offering reduced rates. Please ask for "Nancy Crow Workshop" special rate (includes breakfast) using the local phone number 614-864-8383 or book online

    Best Western, Pickerington, Ohio (15-20 minute drive to the Crow Timber Frame Barn)
    All suites hotel with separate living area and bedroom. Offers complimentary full hot breakfast, free wifi, heated indoor pool, exercise room, & business center. Call 614-860-9804 to book and ask for “Nancy Crow Workshop” special rate.

    Holiday Inn Express & Suites, Reynoldsburg (15-20 minute drive to the Crow Timber Frame Barn)
    Please ask for "Crow Barn Workshop" special rate (includes breakfast) using the local phone number 614-861-8888 or Email the manager

    The Morgan Theater Home, Baltimore, Ohio (5 minute drive to the Crow Timber Frame Barn, mention Crow Barn)
    Former silent movie theater converted into a private residence. Three rooms for rent include free cable TV & free high speed internet access. Kitchen/refrigerator/stove & all "kitchen stuff" available. Phone: 740-862-4765 or Email

    Rosabella B & B, Millersport, Ohio (10 minute drive to the Crow Timber Frame Barn; mention Crow Barn)
    Beautifully restored 1850s Italianate farmhouse is surrounded by farm fields. Breakfast included. The grounds include a wrap-around porch, hammock, patio, pool, hot tub, and fire pit. Phone: 740-467-3580

    Other accommodations, please negotiate your own weekly rates:

    AirBnB options in the area near the Crow Timber Frame Barn

    City of Lancaster, Ohio (15-20 minute drive to the Crow Timber Frame Barn)
    • Hampton Inn, 740-654-2999, clean and quiet
    City of Reynoldsburg, Ohio (15-20 minute drive to the Crow Timber Frame Barn)
    • Fairfield Inn, 614-864-4555

    Campgrounds near the Crow Timber Frame Barn
    Rippling Stream Campground, Baltimore, OH, 740-862-6065, (5 minute drive to the Crow Timber Frame Barn)
    KOA Campground, Buckeye Lake, OH, 740-928-0706, (15-20 minute drive to the Crow Timber Frame Barn)
  • • Miscellaneous information
    • Please let us know if you would like a roommate. We will try to match you with another participant to share accommodations.

    Travel to and from the Crow Timber Frame Barn
    • The Barn is located near Baltimore, Ohio (southeast of Columbus, Ohio)
    • Please keep in mind that there is not a shuttle service to and from the motels to the farm, therefore please arrange a rental car or carpool with another participant.
    • Port Columbus (CMH) in Columbus, Ohio, is the major airport serving the area (30 minute drive to the Barn)

    Rental sewing machines, cutting mats & lamps
    • Bernina sewing machines are available for $75 per 5-day class.
    • Cutting mats are available for $15 per 5-day class.
    • Lamps are available for $15 per 5-day class.

    Formal class hours
    • Monday-Friday: 9-12 and 2-5 daily
    (Classrooms are open 7 am-9 pm Monday-Thursday, 7 am-5 pm Friday)

    Professional facilities
    Each student is provided with a large work table, an 8’ x 8’ work wall, and a comfortable chair. Classrooms are well illuminated and are open from early morning until late in the evening, plus the classrooms have air conditioning & heating. The surface design/dye studio at the Crow Timber Frame Barn includes large padded tables, lots of light (natural and color-corrected bulbs), 3 commercial stainless steel sinks, & washer/dryer. All facilities are non-smoking.

    Mailing list
    If you would like to be placed on a mailing list for information about upcoming art retreats, please send your contact info.

    Questions? Email
Images of Jan Myers-Newbury and Claire Benn, student work and classes at the Crow Timber Frame Barn