Clara’s Loom is an Alabama Maker adding color, texture to ancient craft

Clara’s Loom is an Alabama Maker adding color, texture to ancient craft
Celia Dionne of Clara's Loom not only produces handwoven wearables and art but she teaches others how to do it. (Michael Tomberlin / Alabama NewsCenter)

Clara’s Loom Fiber Studio & Arts Gallery, Foley

The Maker: Celia Dionne

The woman who weaves wearable and decorative art at Clara’s Loom isn’t named Clara. In fact, Celia Dionne never met Clara but she credits her with helping her start her business.

Dionne took the name from the providence that came with a barn loom from 1828. The loom had belonged to someone named Clara and it helped launch Dionne’s pursuit that has become her passion.

“I named my business Clara’s Loom because it was so important to my business,” she said.

Dionne became interested in weaving when she received handwoven wedding gifts in the 1960s and became fascinated by their texture and look. A few years later, she decided to pursue it.

After taking a weaving class and joining a weaving guild, she opened the first Clara’s Loom when she lived in Franklin, Tennessee. She closed that shop when she moved to Foley and decided to focus on art shows and markets. Dionne created a studio to produce work for those shows and that soon grew into the opening of the new Clara’s Loom in 2008.

Clara’s Loom is an Alabama Maker weaving creations on the Gulf Coast from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

Her brightly colored shawls and scarves are what Dionne is best known for but she also produces woven jewelry, art work, ornaments, placemats and stationery. She carries a large number of yarns and fibers in her shop.

“I’m fascinated with fibers,” she said. “I try not to have a lot of traditional fibers. I have yarns that are very unusual and that a lot of yarn shops don’t carry.”

Fibers include wool, alpaca, silk, nylon and other materials.

She produces her work mostly on triangle and square looms, though she does have a floor loom to produce larger works.

Her workshop is home to the Coastal Textile Center where Dionne also teaches others how to weave.

“It’s a place where you can come and find out something,” Dionne said. “It’s an introduction to fiber arts.”

She said when retirees or others look for a new hobby, they don’t often think of weaving, but it’s something everyone can learn.

“It does take a lot of time, a lot of focus, a lot of commitment,” Dionne said. “But then you end up with something.”

Dionne said some of the works her students have produced have amazed her.

“I have had some things that have made me very jealous because they have done some wonderful things,” she said. “And they would not have ever been introduced had they not walked through the door.”

In addition to selling items in her shop, Clara’s Loom merchandise can be found at the Coastal Arts Center in Orange Beach, the Gulf Coast Arts Alliance in Gulf Shores and the Foley Arts Center.

Clara’s Loom Fiber Studio & Arts Gallery

The Product: Handwoven wearables, functional art and decorative art.

Take Home: A string scarf ($15).

7518 Riverwood Drive, Foley, Alabama 36535


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