Aliza Novacek-Olson Teaching Artist


Only by looking into our past can we determine our future”


Aliza is from Roseau, MN and her business is Homespun Legacies.

Fiber artist by medium and a folk artist by style, I have been engaged in the arts for as long as I can remember.  During the last ten years, my interests have become more focused.  Much of my time is spent working with different approaches to the fiber arts – spinning, simple weaving, crocheting, wet-felting, needle felting, dying with natural dyes, Nålbinding, and machine knitting on antique or vintage machines.

My work fully embraces the past.  I am an avid historian and teacher of history. With each technique, I attempt to stay true to the steps our ancestors used in creating a piece.  Replicating primitive techniques in traditional fiber arts opens doors into life in the past. By considering purpose, colors, materials, and techniques, we can learn about the culture that produced the composition or design.

My mission is to fuse individual creativity into tradition and practices of past cultures. My goal is to impart a greater appreciation for traditional folk arts, preserving the richness of our past and bringing forward an old art form into a new light and a new future.

Title of Residency:  Fun with Felt

Brief overview of the residency: Felting has been around for most of human civilization.  I will share with students the nature of animal fibers and how those fibers were used by people in the past. Students will be replicating the ancient process of wet felting.  Felting involves exposing layers of fiber to heat, motion, and moisture. Students will be encouraged to use their imagination to create an artistic piece of felt that blends an old practice with a new look.

  • Age/Grade Level of Participants:  All
  • Length of Residency:  1-2 hours
  • Number of Sessions:  1-2
  • End Product:  Each student will create a small felted wall hanging.
  • Display Suggestion: The art will be displayed in the “lobby” or public area of the school, preferably during a school event (concert, play, etc.)

Title of Residency:  Simple Weaving (or Mug Rug Weaving)

Brief overview of the residency: Weaving is one of the most ancient methods of creating textiles.  I enjoy showing students how to create a simple loom and then watch their concentration turn into excitement as threads transition into cloth.  Finished pieces will vary from mug rugs, scarves, runners, or wall hangings.  Students will be encouraged to use their imagination and have fun as they learn the traditional art weaving.

  • Age/Grade Level of Participants:  Middle school through high school
  • Length of Residency:  2-3 hours
  • Number of Sessions:  2
  • End Product:  Each student will create a mug rug or wall hanging.

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