Wednesday, February 17, 2010

My Tapestry Guinea Pigs

Just after returning from our sabbatical, I found out that, due to state budget cuts (passed down to the cities and towns), my part time librarian job had evaporated. I’ve been working there for 12 years, and they will keep me on the payroll, and call me to fill in now and then, but I have NO regular hours.

I go to the library once a week to work as a volunteer doing book repair. It’s a good learning experience, and I enjoy being there.

Tapestry Class TAMy immediate reaction was “Now I’d better do something else!”

While we were on sabbatical, I made a list of resolutions for changing my life when I got home. One item on the list was to teach tapestry classes.

A few days after I lost my job, I got an email from a member of the local weavers guild, asking if I knew anyone who was teaching tapestry classes in the area. I replied “Yes, actually, I am.”

I remember the first time I taught a weaving class. It was in about 1976, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, at a cooperative called Womancraft. Because I had no floor looms, we made frame looms, and I taught mainly tapestry techniques, because that’s what is fun on a frame loom. Tapestry Classroom

The last time I taught tapestry classes, a few years ago, it was at an arts center, and it was such a pain dragging all the stuff down there, I decided that next time I would teach in my studio.

That way I have all my tools, books, tapestries and looms to share as needed, and also, my trusty assistant, Xerox, who can’t resist a shed stick.

 Tapestry Classroom 2

It took some work to make space in the studio, and round up tables and chairs, frame looms, and yarns.

I told this first group that they would be my guinea pigs! It’s a good thing I limited the class size to 6, because that’s exactly how many can fit at the tables.

I made up a new sampler, and made copies of it, but realized pretty quickly that I had not included enough details. Tapestry Class Yarns

I had imagined us going over it in class, but I had forgotten that they would take it home and try things on their own. So for the second group who started last week, I redid the whole thing, this time with more details, and illustrations.

All the students in the first group are members of the Weavers Guild, so they all have floor loom experience. IMG_5123

The second group includes Weavers Guild members, and Spinners Guild members, and again, all have woven on floor looms. So they are picking it up very quickly.

I decided to make the classes just 4 weeks, because most people have a hard time making a longer commitment.

I hope that we can schedule another 4 week class afterwards for those who would like to continue. IMG_5125

Unfortunately we had to cancel the 4th class last week, because of snow. And this week only 2 could come, so I only got a few photos. I’ll take some more next week.

So far it’s been a LOT of fun, and as I’ve said many times before, I am learning just as much as my students!


Jennifer said...

What a great new adventure for you! I'm glad you were open to it and the opportunity arrived at the same time!

Tommye McClure Scanlin said...

Nice description of your workshop, Jan!
Happy weaving to everyone who comes to your studio to work with you--what a treat they have.

Unknown said...

Boy, I wish I lived closer ... I think that would be fun to try!!!

Liz said...

Sometimes everything just falls into place. Sorry to hear about your job, but it sounds like you're having fun with the class.

I'll be teaching an intro to tapestry (one day) class next month. So far three students have signed up and I have just started to panic :-) I've taught a wide variety of weaving topics but tapestry is new for me. Still, I look forward to learning lots as I prepare for, and teach, the class.

Keep us posted on the progress of your students. Happy weaving to you all!