Mission Statement

Fabric of Life is a 501(c)3 not for profit educational organization dedicated to the preservation and passing on of knowledge and skills that enrich our daily lives. We strive to see traditional skills flourish in our modern world and make these educational opportunities available to future generations. Working together creating practical things of beauty not only improves quality of life, but also strengthens communities.

Fabric of Life Board Members

Becky Ashenden (President)         


Owner and weaving teacher at Vävstuga Weaving School. Becky’s 1981 introduction to the wealth of the Swedish textile world at Saterglantan Hemslojdengs Gard, a school renowned for weaving and other traditional crafts since 1922, gave her the motivation to pursue weaving as a life passion as well as a career. The following thirteen years of production and sales added experience to her initial high-level training to build a unique set of complementary skills in both the theory and practice of weaving. Her use of equipment and techniques that have withstood the test of time adds to the value of what she has been offering her students at Vävstuga since 1991. Becky has also worked on a series of publishing projects for her own Vävstuga Press, which includes translating weaving books from Sweden to English and republishing Swedish weaving books that have gone out of print. She has also been the technical editor for several Swedish weaving books that have recently been published in English. Becky is excited to be leading the charge with Fabric of Life so as to expand and nourish the work she has been invested in for the past 35 years.

Laura Bedford (Vice President)


DC-based book conservator, intermittent weaver and consistent Vävstuga supporter. Laura brings a passion for finances and nonprofit organizations, and paper conservation to Fabric of Life. She has worked abroad in an American bank system for four years, and as an acquisition analyst and project manager for a commercial real estate company for three years. She has also spent four years working for a community foundation and various nonprofits as an annual event fundraiser, program manager, and grant writer. Additionally, she has spent eight years working as a book and paper conservator for private libraries, universities, and national museums. These experiences have woven a solid foundation in budgeting, communication, and the creative acquisition of resources. Laura is excited to be a board member for Fabric of Life so that she can support other tactile-driven individuals to find satisfying and fulfilling life work.

John Marcy (Treasurer)


Western MA based Photographer and Print maker of fine art photography. John has worked for thirty-two years in photography, specifically with the production of exhibitions of photographic art by important contemporary photographers at museums and galleries. He has produced exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, the Wadsworth Atheneum, and the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Presently he works as a printer of photographic prints with the platinum/palladium process for 21st Editions, a publisher of finely produced limited edition books of photography. John is excited to be a board member for Fabric of Life because he strongly believes in the underlying ideas and ideals that could be realized in this educational institution.

Drew Harris (Secretary)


Drew has worked as a university professor for twenty-four years, having been published in fifteen peer-reviewed academic journals, and has presented at dozens of conferences through the years. He brings expertise in the areas of strategy, entrepreneurship, and human resource management, as well as creativity drawn from his background as a musician, dancer, and writer. Drew is excited to be a board member for Fabric of Life because he believes that we need experiences that remind us that objects with purpose and authentic relationships make joy and richness.

Catherine Smith (Board Member)
Professional costume designer, Professor of Theatre, textile enthusiast. Kiki is a professor of theater at Smith College and a professional costume and set designer. She designs for regional theaters and choreographers, including the Talking Band in New York and Shakespeare & Co. in Lenox, MA, where she is a founding member. She also oversees the Smith College Historical Clothing Collection. She brings the connection to the Five College Community and Historic Northampton, and a deep interest in historic dress and textiles. She looks forward to helping develop a program to revive and teach skills and techniques that are essential to daily life and believes that understanding the manufacturing of material objects can reveal much about our past.




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