By Gina Malone
A leisurely outing to a fiber arts show years ago opened up a new world for Steve Segal, who had just begun a career as a graphic designer, working for agencies and in the freelance field. “I was living near Denver and for fun we visited a fiber arts show which also had alpacas, sheep and other fiber animals present that were used to make various yarns which were incorporated into all manner of the textiles that were presented,” Segal recalls. “It was pretty much a non-stop journey from that initial show to where I’m at today.”
His interest piqued, he and his wife Annie bought a farm, purchased a small herd of alpacas and began a foray into the world of textiles. Annie also worked in the field of graphic design and together the two co-designed and published a fiber magazine. “At the same time, I took lessons from all who would offer them,” Segal says. “The initial nuts and bolts of weaving is fairly straightforward and, for that, all it took was a few months in a formal arts and crafts school. The fine tuning, though, is an ongoing, lifelong process.” Annie had always been a textile artist and supported him along the way. “Her understanding of color has helped inform my world of what works and what doesn’t,” Segal says.
When he thought his work was worthy of being displayed and sold, he left graphic design work to devote himself fully to weaving. The couple sold their fiber farm and moved to Oregon, and Segal opened a studio in which he displayed his own work and that of other artists. Eventually, a dislike of cold weather brought them to this part of the world a little over a year ago. “Here, I decided to leave the business aspect of running a studio to someone else and just concentrate on weaving,” Segal says.
His working studio consists of two weaving looms and a “vast mess” of weaving-specific yarns, he says. He initially began weaving with many different fibers, including sheep’s wool, cotton and silk. As fibers of choice, lately, he is using more bamboo, silk and Tencel (a fiber of botanic origins).
His woven material becomes ponchos, scarves, vests and other items. “However, I get the most kick out of creating scarves,” he says. “I think it’s because they’re worn by men or women. Other pieces are often gender-focused and I wanted my work to be enjoyed by all.”
Always influenced by the Arts and Crafts and Art Deco movements, Segal tries to incorporate aspects of both in his work with what he calls his “Frank Lloyd Wright” style in which scarves are double-sided, with each side completely different from the other. “It’s a very unique style of weaving,” he says. “The methodology is similar to what many call a double weave, but it differs in that this style, traditionally called Jin, is warp-faced. This means the emphasis is on the yarns going in the long direction (the warp), with the short weft fibers mostly hidden from view.”
Segal’s work is available at The Lucy Clark Gallery & Studio. “I first met Steve when he came into the gallery assuring me that I was the perfect fit for his work,” says owner Lucy Clark. “After viewing his creations, I would agree that he was absolutely correct! His natural fiber scarves are masterfully woven and meticulous in every way.”
Segal, who uses the working nickname “Weavin’ Steven,” says that weaving is something that allows him to put his stamp on the world. “I’ve always wished people would dress up a little more, add some pop to their style,” he says. “My work helps in that respect.”
The Lucy Clark Gallery & Studio is located at 51 West Main Street, Brevard. Learn more at LucyClarkGallery.com. Contact Steve by phone at 541.390.4325, by email at email@example.com, via Instagram at steven_the_weaver or through the gallery.