For many artisans who call Providence home, there’s a palpable connection to the region’s manufacturing history. This holds true for silversmiths who cite being part of a new wave of makers in what was once called the Jewelry Capital of the World, and for weavers like textile designer Kristin Crane, who have a reverence for being minutes away from the birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution. “My neighborhood of Federal Hill was home to many mill workers over the years. I like being close to that history,” says Crane. “I also love that Providence is a city that values creativity and connection. There are so many people doing really interesting things and people love to share what’s going on and what they’re working on.”
Crane and her husband live in a carriage house, and while charming, it was the property’s doorway and staircase that were deciding factors in taking residence. Topping the must-list was a space for a home studio and most importantly, Crane’s Macomber 16 harness floor loom, which is comparable to owning a piano. “It’s safe to say that we looked for our home based on what a studio for me would look like,” Crane says. “And that doesn’t even take into consideration the yarn, my warping mill, and other supplies.” She notes that being a weaver involves a certain commitment to space. “When we saw this place available for rent, we loved it and knew the loom would make it up the stairs.”
To make the studio work-ready, Crane aims to keep surroundings minimal, letting tools and yarn provide interest and color. “When I was in smaller spaces all I ever wanted was shelves with plenty of space for yarn – I love seeing it all in there now,” she says. Also on display is a finished piece from a workshop in Guatemala, and a piece she wove with three of her nieces who all visited at different times. Neutral walls feature art on floating shelves, and area rugs add warmth and pattern.
“Since my space isn’t huge, it needs to function well. I can’t make good work if there are piles of stuff everywhere,” Crane explains. “If it’s organized, then I can get messy when I’m in the middle of something, but it’s easy to tidy up when I need a cleaner space to think. Also, if it’s well organized, it doesn’t take forever to tidy up!”