Nancy Taylor, M.A.

Emeritus professor of art, fibers

Email:[email protected]

Department: Art

Program: Art, Nature and Conservation applied minor
Arts Management applied minor

Location: Center for the Visual and Performing Arts Room 233
801 National Road
Richmond, Indiana 47374

About me

I teach a variety of courses in weaving and fabric arts and regularly exhibits my own art. I have also led off-campus programs in East Africa several times and conducted research about textile dyes with students.

I have been teaching and learning with Earlham students since 1981. Along with teaching weaving and other textile arts, I am an active foreign study leader. I’ve traveled with students to East Africa a total of eight times.

I love biking, hiking, playing with our Labrador puppy, hanging out with family, and, of course, weaving and dyeing.

Visit my website to view my work.


  • M.A., University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • B.A., Colorado College

Professional memberships

Research projects

There is always something growing on my loom! I work in slit-weave tapestry, as well as multi-harness weave structures. I am particularly interested in the cultural and historical roots of contemporary weaving and in the important roles textiles have played in almost all cultures and times.

In recent years I have been exploring the range of dye colors that we can create from wild-growing plants on the Earlham campus and forests. This began with a student/faculty research project in which we dyed almost 800 samples from 53 plants. The answer? We can produce a lovely range of stable dyes in yellows, browns, greens and greys. Most of my current work comes from these dyes.

Collaborative student research experiences

Recently five students and I are researched the “Colors of Earlham.” Here is a summary of our project: Until the first textile dye was synthesized in 1856, all color on fiber came from natural dyes.  All color, for peasant dress and the most elegant of court costumes, for decorative tapestries and pile rugs, required a lot of skill and a lot of time. Most dyes were from plant materials, though there were several significant animal sources as well. The trade in dye materials was an important part of economies world wide, whether those dyes had been gathered from natural areas or grown as crops. But, imported dyes were expensive, and many dyers were dependent on far more local dye sources. What if we could only have colors from Earlham? We explored what colors we can create from the plants that grow on Earlham’s properties. We worked only with wild native and naturalized plants, and only those that we could collect sustainably, without damaging the plant populations. Before synthetic dyes, most local dyers made heavy use of non-native plants grown in gardens, which we are not doing. Also, the color which comes from wild plants varies according to local growing conditions. Our research goal was to discover the palate available from Earlham, and to create a number of final projects with our dyes. What was the answer? We can make a lovely, permanent, range of browns, greens, yellows and greys.

Scholarly interest

I have been teaching and learning with Earlham students since 1981. Along with teaching weaving and other textile arts, I have been an active off-campus study leader. I’ve led Mountain Wilderness, nine semester-long programs to Tanzania and Kenya, and a number of shorter trips to wonderful places like Turkey.

Published works

Recent Publications

Taylor, Nancy. “Shadow-Weave Circles.” Handwoven, November/December 2019. P 42-45.

Taylor, Nancy. “Local Color: Finding the Color Growing Around You.” Handwoven, January/February 2018. P.72.

Taylor, Nancy. “Black and White Alpaca Blankets.”  Handwoven, May/June 2016. P.38-40.

Taylor, Nancy. “Postcards from the Field” reprinted in Handweaving Today: Tapestry Weaving. E-book. Interweave Press, 2015.

Taylor, Nancy. “Local Color”. Image. “Ebb & Flow: Yardage”, Shuttle Spindle & Dyepot. Issue 181. Winter 2014/2015

Taylor, Nancy.  “Spotlight: Weavers Responding.”  Handwoven, March/April 2014. p. 10-11.

Taylor, Nancy. “Postcards from the Field”. Handwoven. Issue 160, May/June 2013. p. 46-47.

Taylor, Nancy. “An Alpaca Blanket for Soft Winter Warmth”. Handwoven. v.26 no 1. January February 2005 p. 40-43

Taylor, Nancy. Loita Hills Blanket.  Handwoven. v. 25 no 3. May June 2004, p 48-51

Selected Recent Exhibitions

Whitewater Valley Art Competition, Nov-Dec 2020. Indiana University East, Richmond IN.

Whitewater Valley Art Competition, Nov-Dec 2019. Indiana University East, Richmond, IN. Full Color.

Best of 2019. Ohio Designer Craftsmen.  May 5 – July 28 1019Ohio Craft Museum, September 20-December 15 Springfield Museum of Art.  Kimono
– Award for Excellence in Traditional Craft

Annual Exhibition of Richmond and Area Artists, November – December 2018. Richmond Art Museum. Elibelendi

Whitewater Valley Art Competition, Nov-Dec 2018. Indiana University East, Richmond, IN. Kimono.

Place to Place: Fibers. May 1- June 22 2018. Room 912, Richmond, In.
How the Light Gets In, Kimono, Kuba 1, Kuba 2, Elibelendi, Namibia Sketchbook

Women’s Fund of the Wayne County Foundation. February 2018 Batik.
– First Prize

Whitewater Valley Art Competition. Nov-Dec 2017.Indiana University East.
Kilim I

Material Connection: New Work by Members of the MFAEN. Kent State University Downtown Gallery. Nov 10-Dec 3 2016.
Local Color: Summer 2016

HGA’s Mixed Bag: All Media Exhibit. Wisconsin Center, Milwaukee. Aug. 3-6 2016.
– 21st Century Bark Cloth #5

MFAEN Miniature Textile Exhibition. Kent State University School of Art. October 2015.
Local Color July  
Bark Cloth July

Open Space: Art About the Land. September 2014– January 2015. Minnetrista, Muncie, IN; Art Association of Henry County; Anderson Center for the Arts.
Local Color 1
Local Color 2

We continue to monitor the effects of an industrial fire 1.1 miles from campus.
We continue to monitor the effects of an industrial fire 1.1 miles from campus.