Colorado 2019: Foundations Retreat

Dates: June 16-21, 2019
Location: CSU Mountain Campus, 50 miles west of Fort Collins, Colorado.

Registration for this retreat opened February 18th.

February 19th: This retreat is now full but I do maintain a waiting list. If you want to be on the list, please fill out the registration form and I’ll let you know what your place is in line. Keep in mind that people often cancel and if you can make travel plans closer to the date, you might well get a spot! I teach a foundations retreat (and a couple other design retreats) every year, so sign up for my newsletter and watch for registration dates for 2020. Sign up on my contact page where it says Subscribe.


Tapestry weaving sometimes seems difficult, but there are some basic concepts that, once mastered, support all the other things we do in this medium. This retreat focuses on building a firm foundation in tapestry skills. It is intended for people who are fairly new to tapestry weaving. Whether you are an absolute beginner or have some experience but have struggled with understanding the underlying concepts in tapestry, this retreat will be a lot of fun for you.

We'll dive into the concepts that are the basis for everything else in tapestry:

  • materials and tools including looms and yarn

  • best warping practices

  • what loom might be the best for you

  • foundational skills and knowledge such as weft tension and meet and separate

  • making basic shapes and how to put shapes together to create forms

  • what kinds of forms are best for this medium and which are best left for the painters

  • how to start and finish your pieces

  • next steps in learning about tapestry weaving

You’ll have the option of making your own copper pipe loom for the price of materials. I’ll give you final materials prices before the retreat, but it will be in the neighborhood of $25. I’ll provide the tools and solder or glue you need to put it together. This is optional and we’ll talk about why you night or might not want a loom like this during the retreat.

I will provide you with a book of handouts along with slide presentations demonstrating these things.

Tapestry weaving is an engaging medium full of endless possibilities in design, technique, and color-use. If you're interested in catching the tapestry bug, this retreat will make sure you do.


The setting

Colorado 2018 will be held at CSU's Mountain Campus at the end of Pingree Park road. This is a gorgeous setting surrounded by the Mummy Range near the north side of Rocky Mountain National Park. I guarantee you're going to enjoy being in this beautiful place. See the photos in one of the galleries below for details.

We’ll work together every morning in the classroom and I’ll be available every afternoon to answer questions and continue assisting you with the techniques. You can spend as much time in the classroom as you’d like or you can take your loom outside and enjoy the sunshine as you weave or take a hike.

CSU Mountain Campus is at 9,000 feet elevation. This is pretty high if you’re coming from sea level. The best thing you can do to prepare for this altitude, especially if you live at low altitudes, is to drink lots of water the two weeks before the retreat and if possible, to spend a day or two in Colorado before going up to campus. Denver and Fort Collins are both at about 5,000 feet and an overnight in one of those cities before coming to campus can make a big difference.

Tapestry camp! If you love beautiful remote places, this setting is for you.



*note that meal times are subject to change depending on how the campus staff arranges groups. They can accommodate gluten free, dairy free, and vegan diets and are good about telling you exactly what is in any dish.


3-6 pm Arrive, check in at Hodgekiss Lodge, find your cabin
5:30 Meet at Hotchkiss for campus orientation and walk to dining hall together.
6:00 Dinner
7 pm Brief slideshow of tapestry inspiration and plans for the retreat in Hodgekiss Lodge
Evening relaxation on your own.

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday                    

*Group lecture times will be announced the day before for each day so you won’t miss anything if you’re off looking for moose or finding inspiration outside.

9-12 am  Workshop (all participants)
12-1 pm Lunch
1-5 pm  Open Studio with Rebecca or time for DISCOVERIES!
6:00 pm Dinner
Evening relaxation as you desire; studio open for further weaving exploration. We will have a campfire one night for those interested.


9-11 am Workshop review and wrap-up. Discussion of what we learned with show and tell. This is important. Please plan on attending.
10 am Group photo
Pack and disperse as needed. 
12 pm Lunch
Check out by 1 pm



Retreat fee: $575
Housing and food are billed separately at the rates below (price is for the entire 6-day retreat):

Private room: $735
Shared room (2 people): $635

Initial deposit of $300 due upon registration to hold your spot. Full payment is due April 15th via check or PayPal (credit card).

Spouse attendance: I have a few spots for spouses. If yours wants to come, you will both pay the shared room fee and they may attend all meals. Hiking, fishing (with valid CO fishing license), and bird-watching are just a few things that could keep your significant other busy during the retreat and they may join us on group hikes and for meals.

Commuter option: I prefer that everyone say on campus for this retreat, however, if you happen to live in a cabin nearby or have a friend who owns one and want to know what the commuter rate would be, please contact me. No camping is allowed on CSU property though there are two campgrounds nearby, a primitive one less than a mile away and one with more services several miles down the road. Remember that the campus is a two hour drive from Fort Collins each way, so commuting from there is not practical.

Making a copper pipe loom: If you’d like to make a copper pipe loom during the retreat, there will be an additional estimated $25 fee for materials. I will price out the copper and threaded rod and charge you what it costs! I’ll bring the tools and supplies we need to make them. You can decide about this when we get there.


Your $300 deposit is non-refundable. You can get a refund for the rest of your fees paid until May 1st. After that nothing is refundable unless I can fill your spot. If I am able to fill your spot, you will get a refund minus your deposit.



For the mountain campus:

  • Bring clothing appropriate for June at high altitude in Colorado. There will likely still be at least patches of snow above campus if you're hiking high, but the campus should be clear of snow. Though the front range around Denver, Boulder, and Fort Collins can be quite warm this time of year, CSU's Mountain Campus is significantly higher in elevation and you should be prepared for some chilly mornings and evenings. It should be pleasantly warm during the day. Rain is not very likely in Colorado in June, but you might want to pack a rain jacket just in case (you should definitely bring one if you're going hiking). You will want sturdy shoes for walking on uneven ground as well as any hikes you want to take. Mud, rocks, and water all happen here.

  • If you want to do some hiking, make sure your gear is appropriate. Don't forget your trekking poles if you use them for balance (as I do!).

  • a water bottle. High-altitude living demands a lot of water drinking.

  • You may find a small backpack or bag useful if you’re going to do some weaving outside the classroom or take walks with your loom.

  • The stars will be stunning. Don't forget to go outside at night to look at them. But you'll want a flashlight for getting around.

  • Each room has a private bathroom with a shower. All beds are twin sized.

  • We will be eating in the campus cafeteria. 

  • There will be other groups on campus while we are there. We will be sharing that dining hall though our classroom will be just for us. A map of the campus can be seen HERE. In June, other groups on campus are usually college-aged students doing research projects. They can be fascinating to talk to, so ask what they're up to.

  • There will be coffee and tea provided in the workshop room and there is refrigeration if you want to bring any snacks. I will be bringing enough wine for the first evening to share. If you’d like to contribute any beverages or snacks, please bring them! We often have a late afternoon snack or after-dinner wine and cheese gathering in the studio or lounge (or any beverage of your choice as long as you bring it).

For the workshop (detailed materials list will be sent a month or so after registration):

  • Looms: If you have a portable tapestry loom, please bring it. You may warp it ahead of time or you can wait to see what you might want to experiment with. A sample loom such as a copper pipe loom or a Hokett is acceptable. Many of my students love Mirrix looms and those are perfect for this workshop. If you're driving, you can even bring a small floor loom.
    If you do not yet own a loom, I have some loaner looms available for this workshop including a few Mirrix looms or you can plan to use the copper pipe loom you make in the workshop. Please contact me with questions about this.

  • Tools: A tapestry fork if you own one, any other favorite weaving tools. Tools that go with your particular loom.

  • Yarn: If you have a favorite tapestry yarn, please bring your own supply of that yarn. I will be providing a selection of Harrisville Highland which works well at 8 epi. You are welcome to use this yarn if you don't yet have your own stash (or even if you do)!

  • Warp: If you have a favorite warp or if you warped your loom ahead of time, please bring extra warp with you. I recommend 12/6 or 12/9 cotton seine twine at 8 epi. (Eugene Textile Center has it HERE.) I will provide a small spool of 12/6 warp for each person which should be enough to warp your loom one time if you have a small tapestry loom like a Mirrix or small copper pipe loom. If you’re bringing a larger loom, please bring enough for your warp.

  • If you're a note-taker, a notebook and pen. You will be given handouts.

  • If you are someone one who likes to work with music, please bring headphones for your device.

  • A task light is useful but not required (please also bring an extension cord if your light doesn't run on batteries). The workroom has some big windows, but the light in the studio is poor after dark.


Housing is in multi-room cabins. Each room has a private bath and has two or three twin beds (with a top bunk that will remain unused except for storage!). There are no larger beds available. Each cabin has a large lounge with a small refrigerator. You can reserve a room privately or share with a friend or significant other. If your significant other would like to come with you to the campus but does not want to participate in the retreat, please check the box indicating this on the registration form. 

 If you’d like to share a room with someone you don’t know prior to the retreat, I can probably arrange this but can’t guarantee that there will be a room-share partner available.

Conference Cabin layout

Getting there

I will send everyone a map with driving directions from Fort Collins to the campus after registration. It takes two hours to get from Fort Collins to the mountain campus.

The campus is at the end of Pingree Park road. This is a very wide, well-maintained 16-mile gravel road that branches off Highway 14 in the Poudre Canyon. The campus is 50 miles west of Fort Collins, CO. This is mountain driving, but this road is exceptionally good and quite wide. Any passenger car and a driver who is okay with moderate mountain driving will be just fine.

The nearest airport is Denver International Airport in Denver, CO which is approximately one hour south of Fort Collins. I recommend the E-470 toll road. It is worth the $6 (license plate toll, no stopping). Please leave at least three hours to drive from DIA to the mountain campus. For your return flight, you should know that DIA sometimes has really long security lines and you need to be at the airport two hours before your flight leaves.


I will not be providing transportation to the campus, but it is possible to arrange a shared rental car or carpool with other participants and I can facilitate that communication.

There is a shuttle from Denver International Airport to Fort Collins on GreenRide:
Frequently I can find people who can take people from Fort Collins to the campus so if you fly into DIA and want to take Green Ride to Fort Collins the day before (they’ll drop you off at an hotel), we may be able to find you a rideshare from there to the mountain campus.

There is NO public transportation from Fort Collins to the Mountain Campus. You'll need to rent a car or find a carpool. In 2017 and 2018, carpooling was very effective for many people in both retreats.


There is no cell service at CSU Mountain Campus or anywhere nearby. Believe me. None. 

There are several public phones that are available for your use and there is limited wifi access in the campus buildings. It should be enough to communicate with your loved ones that you are safe and enjoying yourselves mightily. The wifi is quite limited, so don't expect to be able to post to social media. You can send basic emails and that is about it! CSU instituted data limits for users in 2018 so you’ll be cut off after using a certain amount of data. It was enough for me so probably it’ll be enough for you if you’re not doing online work.

This retreat is a great opportunity to unplug for a few days.

Though at times the wifi appears to work very well, there is actually very little bandwidth. If you make that video call home, it means that no one else on campus can check their email or send a message. Please do not make video calls. There is a land-line that your loved one can call during office hours (7 am - 7 pm) and the call can be routed to your cabin or the lodge or you can bring a calling card to make long distance calls. Calls to 970 area codes are free.

CSU Mountain campus does not have paved trails or roads. You will not be able to drive between your cabin and the dining hall which is about 1/8 of a mile walk. The ground is rough in places though it is fairly level once you are on campus. Once you arrive your car will likely remain parked until you leave.

There is a nurse on campus at all times, but ambulances do not go to this place. If you have a medical emergency and the nurse and camp director determine you must leave, you will most likely get a ride in a helicopter. If you have a heart condition, please consult with your physician before coming to this altitude and make sure to take all your medication with you! Most people who are reasonably healthy have no significant difficulties with this altitude beyond an occasional headache. Just keep drinking water!


The images below are from past retreats at CSU Mountain Campus so you can get a feeling for the environment.
Click on the photos for the full view. Hover for caption in enlarged view. Use arrows right and left to scroll.

The gallery below has some images of weaving from the Vermont Foundations retreat in 2018 and a few from the 2017 and 2018 Colorado retreats. What you weave in the retreat depends a little on how much experience you have with tapestry weaving. If you’ve not done anything, we’ll start at the beginning! If you want a review of the basic techniques, we’ll do that instead. You’ll get a hefty bound handout to help you through it all.

I can’t wait to see you at tapestry camp! The mountains are my first love and there is nothing better than sharing my second love of tapestry weaving with people in such a stunning setting.