Hera Gallery Presents:

The Shape of Weaving

September 8th - October 7th

Opening Reception: Friday, September 8th, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Artist Talk: Brenda Osborn –“Imagery in Contemporary Tapestry”

 Sunday, September 24th at 3p.m.


Hera Gallery is pleased to announce The Shape of Weaving an exhibition featuring the work of Rhode Island Weavers, Jan Doyle and Norma Smayda. We invite the public to join us Friday, September 8th from 6:00 to 8:00pm for the opening reception and to the artist talk on Sunday, September 24th at 3p.m

This exhibition will showcase two of the most decorated and influential Rhode Island Weavers, whose work and careers have been influenced and intertwined by one another for many years. They both experience weaving as an escape from the chaos and stress of daily life, as well as a place for freedom of expression. 

“I leave the stresses of the world behind when I become immersed in designing and creating cloth at my loom in my search for a unique textile.  There is magic in interlacing of warp and weft, always dependent upon use of fiber, color, weave structure, and design that challenges and delights me, while producing cloth suitable for its purpose”

Norma Smayda

"Nothing brings me more pleasure than discovering the endless possibilities of weaving.  It's the only medium I use that allows me to create a blank canvas and completed piece simultaneously."

-Jan Doyle


Norma Smayda is a master weaver, teacher, and author. She established the Saunderstown Weaving School in 1974, the same year that Hera Gallery opened. She learned to weave in Norway; Scandinavian design, colors, and weave structures continue to be an important focus of her work. She also specializes in the contributions of William Henry Harrison Rose and of Bertha Gray Hayes, and is coauthor of Weaving Designs by Bertha Gray Hayes: Miniature Overshot Patterns. More recently Smayda has immersed herself in weaving with fan reeds, in designing and exhibiting her ondulé textiles, and has written Ondulé Textiles: Weaving Contours with a Fan Reed. She has received the New England Weavers Seminar Weaver of Distinction Award, and she is a past president of the Handweavers Guild of America.

Norma has been involved with Hera since it’s opening; both the gallery and the weaving school work in unison to offer women the chance to develop their arts. She has curated these exhibits at Hera:

2017  "The Shape of Weaving", Two-person show with Jan Doyle

2014  "Forty Years Interpreting Tradition", Fortieth Anniversary of Saunderstown Weaving School

2010  "Diverse Dreams/Diverse Weaves", Thirty-sixth Anniversary of Saunderstown Weaving School

1998   Curated exhibit of UMass Dartmouth Fiber Artists.

1995  "Celebrate with Handweaving", Twentieth Anniversary of Saunderstown Weaving School

                 [This exhibit then traveled to the Happy White Gallery in Bristol, RI]

1978  "Woven Hangings", Solo show of work from MFA thesis


(She will have her recently released book, Ondulé Textiles, available for book signing and sale on September 8th at the Opening Reception. Profits will go to Hera Gallery)

Jan Doyle is a Master Weaver whose costumes have appeared in museums, operas, movies, and fashion shows throughout the US, Canada and the UK. Most recently she was chosen as the featured artist for the national convention of the Hand weavers Guild of America. Her works currently appear in the Layers of Meaning exhibition on the Digital Museum of Modern Art, a cutting edge virtual museum. Jan is the artistic director and weaving instructor at the Carolina Fiber and Fiction Center where she developed and facilitates the Master Weaver Certificate Program. She is a loom repair and weave structure consultant for historic museums and private clients.

Jan teaches in the Textile, Merchandising and Design Department at URI  

Research: Finnvav weaving, double cloth, Shibori, indigo and resist dyeing.