My heart is breaking. My mentor and friend, Randall Darwall passed away this Friday, January 13th. Randy, hand-weaver extraordinaire, teacher and craft world advocate. He was, to the core, a genuinely kind and good man.
For over 30 years he has graciously and generously guided me through my career in the craft show world.
In the mid-80’s, in a workshop he was teaching, he encouraged me to enter and exhibit at a thing I didn’t know about, craft shows. I am ever grateful for his advice. There after, he’d always stop by my booth to say hi, drop words of wisdom, encourage, advise and joke around. One time, he came by to borrow a needle and thread to make a little repair. I grabbed a friend and insisted they take pictures. Randy dutifully trying to finish his project, me laughing.
I was over the moon when he suggested we collaborate. He handed me an armload of his hand-woven scarves and wished me well. Step one, I had to get over my reticence of cutting into them! After that hurdle, I was off. It was an amazing opportunity to use his beautiful fabrics in my jackets, coats and tops.
He and his life long partner, Brian Murphy, were the perfect pair. Brian funny, joking and teasing, Randy playing the straight man. Below, with Heidi Austreng, administrator of the Smithsonian and Craft2Wear shows.
They worked hard and relentlessly, but always with humor and delight.
He was a prince among men.
Randy, I can’t even begin to say how much I will miss you.
Susan Neal says
Yes, a big lose to the community.
Jamar Pearson says
I can tell by your words there is a hole in your heart and life. So sorry for your loss.
Ellen Miller says
Thank you for this post- I didn’t know Randy had died. As you may remember he introduced us at a Craft Boston, for which I will always be grateful.
Randy was a lovely man and a great inspiration for me. He will be missed.
Susan Glass says
Several years ago I signed up for a weaving class with Randy at Penland. Unfortunately, a conflict arose and I could not attend, I was disappointed ever after. He was so creative with color and pattern.
Diedre Cain says
Ann, It’s so clear that Randy was a very important and special person in your life. I am so sorry to hear that he passed away but so happy to know that you were in each other’s lives.
Deborah Krall says
I’m so sorry, Ann. Another blow so soon. Great photos. I can feel the warmth and wit shining through.
Gwyn Peterson says
I knew Randy first as a teacher on Cape Ann Island, as a fellow weaver. I am so glad we had a visit a couple of years ago in Washington at the show. His work was wonder.
Juanita Girardin says
Randall was an incredibly generous person , kind to all of us who were his colleagues and friends.
His woven cloths always reminded me of sunsets in their color ways , while the structure seemed like a daring woven Italian cloth. We all admired and loved him and with his inseparable ever joking Brian, they were the consummate pair. The craft world has lost an icon.
Adriane Nicolaisen says
Randall was a beacon for me. He encouraged exploration, truth and the highest standards of craftspersonship. He chose an humble medium and made it a path to beauty for me and for all who knew him.
My thoughts go out to Brian for his loss.
Judith Cooper says
I am filled w/ sorrow at this news… SHIT! What a lovely man he was… Randy & I started teaching in the Gloucester Public Schools at the same time: 1969, or thereabouts…. I actually remember teaching him weaving!!! He stayed with it, I didn’t… & the rest is history. Now I will treasure all my Randy scarves even more…
My heart goes out to Brian & all of us who loved this wonderful man…
Marylou Ozbolt-Store says
I first met Randy in the very early 70’s when I took a course from him at the University of Washington. I had been weaving since the early 60’s but wanted to learn more and was lucky to take a course from a Master. I will sorely miss Randy. He truly was an icon and a humble man. Over the years of exhibiting with Randy and Brian they never ceased to amaze me with their innovation and creativity in our field. Always inspiring and approachable. My heart too goes out to Brian through out this journey.