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Shawl by Susan Morgan Leveille.
Almost a century later, her great-niece Susan teaches weaving, is a superb weaver (starting when she was barely school age at Penland), and owns The Oaks Gallery with her husband. The Oaks Gallery sells jewelry, handmade clothing, pottery, carvings, metalwork, and more, all from first-rate craftspeople in North Carolina and beyond, and is a part of the Riverwood studios founded by Susan's parents, Ralph and Ruth Morgan.
Susan's work is beautiful; it also has the same sort of collectible cachet that accrues to, say, the Ben Owens family line of potters in Seagrove. The history of North Carolina mountain crafts is tied to the Morgan family in important, remembered ways.
Leveille specializes in overshot coverlet weaving, a form common in the mountains for generations. She says that she enjoys "sharing how these coverlets were made, and sharing their structure." She teaches every chance she can get, she says, both privately and in many workshops and craft schools throughout the region. Among the other traditional weaving styles she teaches are lace weave of huck toweling, and the Summer and Winter weave that was popular in colonial times. She loves teaching children and adults, and can gear workshops to any age or skill level. In her frequent school visits, she particularly loves "helping teachers relate weaving and fiber to whatever they might be teaching," from arithmetic and geometry to history and music. These concepts all come together in surprising but natural intersections in the art of weaving.The Western Carolina mountains are a frequent destination for East Coast travelers. Take a vacation at Campbell or Penland and take a class with Susan--or meet her in Dillsboro, where she also teaches. She is superb weaver, and one of those people who are a thread in the fabric of a better, more beautiful world.
Leveille has taught at Penland, the John C. Campbell Folk School, and numerous other important craft centers. She is also one of the co-founders of the Stecoah Valley Weavers, a guild that operates from Robbinsville's Stecoah Valley Center on a principle of economic and individual development much like her great aunt's vision for the Penland School.
|Susan Morgan Leveille, detail showing Norwegian krokbragd weave|