Meet The Conference Instructors
Dawn began exploring the fiber arts at a young age. Her passion for learning fiber arts has led her to explore many areas of the media. Years as a hairstylist strengthened her understanding of how fiber and color work together. Dawn received a Master of Fine Arts degree in painting from Montana State University in 2000. She earned The Handweavers Guild of America’s Certificate of Excellence for Level 1: Technical Skills in Handweaving in 2020, and HGA’s Level 2: Master Weaver in 2022. She has also received the HGA’s Award that honors outstanding exhibited works of fiber art. Dawn is a member of the Southwest Montana Fiber Arts Guild, the Helena Spinners and Weavers Guild and is the current president of the Montana Association of Weavers and Spinners (MAWS). Dawn shares her knowledge through teaching and conducting workshops in both weaving and spinning.
Cindy Dell’s Norwegian grandmother taught her to knit over 50 years ago. She has completed Levels 1 and 2 of the Master Hand Knitters Certification through The Knitting Guild of America and will soon complete Level 3. She enjoys many of the fiber arts including spinning, quilting, crocheting, dyeing, and designing knitting patterns. Since retiring from MSUB as a Professor, she has had more time the enjoy her grandson and Fiber Arts.
Barb French is a Maker who has had a life-long devotion to natural fibers. She learned to sew
and knit from her mother at a young age, and began designing and making her own clothes
during high school. Later, she added weaving, spinning and dyeing to her fiber obsessions.
Barb studied music and languages and taught for many years. While owning a yarn shop in
Bozeman in the 2000’s, the focus of her teaching evolved toward the fiber arts of weaving,
spinning, knitting, and others. More recently, her work centers on weaving garments and
rugs. As a founder of the Montana Fibershed organization, she also focuses on the
sustainable growth of Montana’s textile economy.
Barb has been a lifelong resident of Montana. With a degree in Speech, Theatre and Art, and a
master’s in Bilingual Education, she taught school for 30 years. Retirement has allowed her to paint and sew to her heart’s content! She has taught at sewing festivals and in classes. Barb
was certified to work with people who have dementia or brain injuries. She has participated in Art shows and continues to paint virtually and with small groups. Her hobbies include, but are
not limited to, sewing quilts and garments, painting, wool embroidery, spinning, knitting,
weaving, beadwork, word games, basketry, and traveling with her husband.
Born and raised in Billings, Bob Garritson has degrees in Soil Science, Biology, and Education.
After working in several careers, he retired as Director of Development of the Custer
Battlefield Museum. For most of his life he has studied and replicated the survival skills of
Mesolithic peoples (who lived in the middle part of the stone age between the Paleolithic and
Neolithic). For the past 35 years he has presented these skills in a program for schools,
museums, and various groups. One of these skills is the making of cordage from natural
plants and animals.
Joan Goldstein has been taking a dropspindle on hiking, biking and driving trips at home and
abroad for 25 years, picking up companion spindles whenever possible. Spinning the fiber
and knitting the resulting yarn keeps her busy. She has stories to tell about her interactions
in Peru, creative make-do equipment in New Zealand, dropped and lost spindles, and taking
her dropspindle across the country for a tune-up at the Golding workshop. Joan became a
MAWS Living Treasure in 2022.
Karen has been growing and processing her own flax into linen since 1989, using homemade scutching, breaking, and hackling tools. The most ancient of fabrics, linen has been produced since prehistoric times! One gets a special feeling of accomplishment and connection with the past when making linen fabric from its very beginning – literally just a seed! Karen loves to pass on what she has learned and is generously sharing her extensive knowledge about flax and linen. Her interest in fiber arts extends to basketry, braiding and sprang, felting, weaving, and natural dyeing; flax makes a frequent appearance in her garden and fiber work. Karen lives and creates in Corvallis, Montana, where she gardens, hikes, and cares for a small group of alpacas.
Denise Jackson is a fifth-generation spinner and weaver from Great Falls, MT. She is a certified
fiber arts judge and has worked with the NWRSA on setting MT fiber arts judging standards.
Denise completed her master’s degree in communications and leadership with the goal of
becoming a better teacher and judge. Denise teaches nalbinding, lace knitting, Shetland hap
shawls, socks, all levels of spinning, fleece judging, project planning and more. She has
published several articles in Spin-Off magazine
Cindi Kanvick, a life-long knitter who started spinning eight years ago. Cindi enjoys knitting,
especially learning new stitches and patterns, but she is most passionate about spinning,
especially on her Turkish spindles. She spins exclusively on drop spindles including a Navajo
Spindle, and supported spindles. She is active in Billing’s Prairie Handspinners guild and has
taught nalbinding and other textile history topics. Her day job is with the Billings school district.
A weaver since 1998, Denise Kovnat lives in Rochester, NY, and has taught at conferences and
guilds across the US, Canada, and Australia with a focus on parallel threadings, collapse
techniques, painted warps, and deflected double weave. Her hand-dyed and handwoven
garments have been juried into Convergence fashion shows since 2008 and have won awards
from Complexity (Complex Weavers) and many others. She is the author of a new book,
Weaving Outside the Box.
Born in Ukraine, Alena discovered knitting and crafting at the age of 12 and at 21 was sewing her own clothes when she moved to Belarus. In 2007, she immigrated to the US and became a citizen in 2022! She started wet felting in 2013 after discovering Uniquely Felt by Christine White. Later she began eco-printing with plants from her garden. Alena has taken many internet classes from around the world and has shown her wearable art in Southwest Montana.
Kate Larson is the editor of Spin Off magazine. She contends that the fiber arts are the
bridge between her passions for art and agriculture. She shepherds a flock of Border
Leicester sheep in Indiana and teaches handspinning and knitting throughout the United
States. Kate is the author of The Practical Spinner's Guide: Wool (Interweave, 2015) and
several videos, including How to Spin Yarn to Knit (Interweave, 2016).
Jayne Lund was born and raised in Lewistown Montana with a creative muse perched on her
shoulder. She has been exploring her creative side from early in life and has worked in many different media, including drawing pencil portraits and painting wall murals. For a time, she ran a business, sculpting and selling small figurines which sold to gift stores. Wool has been her medium of choice for more than 20 years now. Sculpting in wool, or needle felting as it is called, has become her passion! Almost anything can be sculpted in wool-- rocks, trees, water, animals, people, and much more. Locally, Jane has charmed fair goers with her felted gnomes and forest creatures. She has taught needle felting classes for several years and enjoys teaching wool sculpting techniques to all
who wish to learn.
Jo Anne Setzer
JoAnne started weaving in the 1980’s. After 20 years she fulfilled her dream to build a weaving barn, and she started offering weaving classes. Her weekly classes encourage all levels of weavers and allow students to go in any direction they choose with the craft. Consequently, each student is doing something different on the 20+ looms setup in the studio barn. Just imagine it! JoAnne has given workshops for MAWS and other guilds in crackle, beginning weaving, color and weave, kumihimo, inkle, pattern making for clothing, and 10 ways to treadle one threading. Some of these classes include 6 and 8 shafts, but most are for 4 shafts. Her current projects include tapestry, saori, weaving with handspan yarns and double weave on 4 shafts. JoAnne is constantly exploring new ideas with her ever creative and inventive mind. JoAnne is also a MAWS Living Treasure.
Lynnsey’s mother introduced her to dyeing, spinning and weaving as a young girl. Formerly a Costume Design Professor at Florida School of the Arts, she is a full-time master tailor at
Men's Wearhouse. Lynnsey splits her leisure time between her Porsche cars and all sorts of
arts pursuits including urban sketching, painting, knitting, spinning, costume design and rug
Sylvia Smith has been spinning for 30 years and is currently working her way through the
Master Spinner program at Olds College. She’s a member of MAWS, very active in her local
Guild and teaches a variety of classes at a local yarn shop. She is also an occasional contributor
to both Spin Off and PLY magazines. She lives in northwest Montana with her husband and cat,
with one being an enabler of her fiber pursuits while the other is an occasional obstacle.
Robin Thompson is a mother to 3, teacher of small humans, and a hobby farmer of angora rabbits and goats. She is a crafter of all things fiber. Her family is currently active in local 4-H and Prairie Hand Spinners. She started in her fiber journey at a very young age with her family of origin and is continuing the traditions with her children.
Karen Tyra has been crocheting for many years and has taught both youth and adults. Karen
taught 10 years in the public schools in various states and then was a Montana State University Extension Agent in Park and Stillwater Counties for 31 years in the field of Family and Consumer Sciences. This was followed by teaching knitting and crochet for about 10 years for Columbus Community Education. Her greatest pleasure is in seeing her students gain new skills that they can use for the rest of their lives. Karen resides in Columbus, Montana, where she crochets gifts for friends, leads Bible studies, and works at the local Chamber of Commerce Visitor Information Center.