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A Portrait of the Artist: Anne Sanderoff-Walker

Fiber artist Anne Sanderoff-Walker combines her drapery room with colorful wearable and decorative pieces in Designer Fabrications.

Fiber artist Anne Sanderoff-Walker has been working in textiles since she was a teenager, and she has been hand weaving for the past 25 years.

She weaves scarves, jackets, vests, custom tallits (worn at bar or bat mitzvahs), custom chuppahs (Jewish marriage canopies), pillows and throws and creates legacy quilts and wall hangings. She works in her home studio on a 54" loom with ten shafts or in her VisArts studio, which she shares with seven other resident fiber artists, on a four-shaft, 24" loom.

"More shafts allow for more intricate designs," said the artist who is always looking to "snaz-up" an outfit with a plaited twill scarf or bestow the value of heritage on young newly-weds with her Family Tree chuppas and quilts.

Sanderoff-Walker got her start as a wedding gown and evening wear designer in the Washington-area but began designing clothing from a very young age.

"Looking back at family photos, I realize that I designed and constructed all the outfits I was wearing," she said. "All the women in my family sew. It came very naturally to me."

A cousin who introduced her to weaving told her that her ancestors in Russia raised and sheared sheep.

"It makes me feel like it's in our blood," said the artist.

Sanderoff-Walker often hand dyes her materials. She works primarily in silk, rayon and tencel, a rayon-type fiber made from cellulose. Drawing inspiration from nature, she explores subdued color combinations.

"Green and blue next to one another are my comfort zone. I look at the trees and the sky, and it's clear that they belong together," she said.

Recently she has been experimenting with pairing warm colors like oranges and reds and is looking forward to trying out theo-mormon inlaying, a new weaving technique she picked up at the biannual Mid Atlantic Fiber Artist Association summer workshop.

"When the holiday selling season is over, I do more of my experimentation she said," as she gears up for the holiday sale at VisArts to be held from Dec.2 - Dec. 3 on the second floor of the Rockville art facility.

Besides her hand-woven creations, Sanderoff-Walker will also be showcasing her felt-cover and beaded journals and notebooks and artisanal pins.

"The artists' studios will be open and artists will be present. A glass artist, a potter, three jewelers and a photographer are also participating," she said.

The holiday sale features a Happy Hour from 6 - 8 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 2 and will be open from noon - 8 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Saturday.

Sanderoff-Walker is a co-op member and past president of the Potomac Fiber Art Guild, a 300-member organization with 65 juried members who exhibit at the Potomac Fiber Arts Gallery in Alexandria year round. She is represented by Live and Artful Life gallery in The Plains, Virginia and is a resident artist at VisArts. She also gives private one-on-one weaving lessons in Montgomery County.

Two of her quilts belong to the Montgomery County Commission for Women. Sanderoff-Walker served as the Commission's president for three terms and was a member for seven years.

The "Women's History Quilt" commemorates 30 women who have made significant contributions in Montgomery County.

In 2001, the artist, who has owned her own business for the past 30 years, received the ATHENA Leadership Award for business and leadership.

"Designer Fabrications combines my custom drapery room with my fiber arts work," said Sanderoff-Walker who accepts commissions year round and is always looking forward to new projects.  

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