I'm in Minnesota, teaching classes. The Duluth Art Institute hosted a sprang class, attended by several members of the local handweavers guild.
Sprang class started on Friday evening, and worked all day Saturday, and then again Sunday morning. Participants had practice with the basic stitch, as well as some variations. Everyone was able to practice setting up, working the piece, and several different finishing techniques. It was a superbe group of students. Thanks so much to Michelle, Louise, and Lynnea, for all the work they did to organize the event. It warms my heart to hear that this group plans to now form a "sprang study group", to maintain skills learned, and to help each other in further explorations of the technique. I'll be happy to skype in occasionally.
I then went down the road to Grand Marais, Minnesota, to teach at the North House Folk School during their Fiber Week. There were ten people in my fingerweaving class. We started at the beginning, and are progressed through diverse motifs. Another terrific group of students.
The third day I presented the theory of arrowheads ...
... and several lovely arrowheads were made.
Photo at the end of the 3-day class. Most students completed several straps, in a variety of designs. Congratulations to the new finger weavers.
Many thanks to Jessa, Ben, and the rest of the North House team for organizing this event.
So, I’m here in New Zealand. I’ve toured around a bit. Beautiful country. Mountains, valleys, and seaside.
Some Kiwis are quite serious about their chocolate. I happened upon a shop that claimed to be the Global Home of Chocolate Therapy … they did indeed have some excellent chocolate inside.
I saw the place where they make the Ashford spinning wheels, and met Richard and Elizabeth. Indeed Richard made the sprang frames that students used on my whirlwind teaching tour.
I’ve taught classes in several cities, including Wellington, Mosgiel, Ashburton, and Christchurch. Spinner / weavers I’ve met here are quite interested in finger weaving and sprang, and quick to learn.
Thanks to Rosanne & Paul for a delightful tour of Wellington. Many thanks to my Creative Fibre hosts, Robyn, Marilyn, Anne, and a special thanks to Sue Giller, Education Co-ordinator for Creative Fibre, New Zealand.
Over the next few weeks I’ll travel to Whakatane and Taurange, and I’ll visit the good folks at Majacraft. At the end of April I’ll participate in the national fibre conference that will take place in Auckland.
The Red River is frozen solid, and as usual the plows have cleared a track, so people can skate on the river.
But I’m in California. At the invitation of Jules Kliot, I taught a sprang class at the Lacis Museum of Lace and Textiles in Berkeley, California. The weather was markedly different from what we were having in Winnipeg.
Many thanks to Jules and to Erin for making this class happen.
Then on to speak to a gathering of the Santa Cruz Handweavers. The place where they meet is in a park.
I then taught two classes to the Santa Cruz Handweavers, one on sprang
And then I taught a second class on the subject of finger weaving.
Thanks to Mibs, Yonat, Barbara, and Ruth, for the work they did to make these workshops a pleasant experience for all.
Looking forward to returning to California again sometime.
But now I’m in New Zealand. Here’s the view from my window
I will be teaching in Wellington, Mosgiel, Ashburton, Halswell, and Taupo, and then attending the national Creative Fibre Conference in Auckland at the end of April.
St Paul to Durango
I’ve been busy teaching. The Midwest Handweavers Conference was held at St Thomas College in St Paul, Minnesota. I taught a finger weaving class and then a sprang class. On the way to Minnesota I stopped in Fargo to visit. Kim Baird said I should look up another instructor while there, Donna Kallner. Arriving at St Thomas College, I was assigned a roommate … none other than Donna Kallner.
What a lovely campus, and terrific vendor’s hall. I found just the yarn I was looking for, the right size yarn to work a more authentic version of that Coptic sprang turban.
Back home, I’m working on yet another pair of sprang leggings. These will hopefully be more accurate to that portrait of a Venetian gondolier.
Not quite sufficient time to finish those leggings, and I’m off to Colorado and the Intermountain Weavers Conference in Durango where I taught a three-day sprang workshop. Great to catch up with former students.
And there was a batch of new sprang students
The lovely thing about a three-day workshop is that students are supported through the learning process. By the third day some really creative things can happen. After the initial bag, and a circular warp lace sampler, and some exploration of twining, some students were ready to explore.
We were looking at images on the internet of wildly braided sprang pieces. Sally offered to use her piece to explore this method. We began the process in class. Recently she sent me this image of the completed piece. You see, sprang is so much more than ugly bags and hats.
After the conference I had the opportunity to tour Mesa Verde, Canyon de Chelly, and Bandelier National Monument, sites of ancient cliff dwellings. One room was clearly set up for weaving, a place for the upper beam in the ceiling, loops to hold the lower beam in the floor. Thanks to Laurie Webster and Glenna Dean for being my tour guides.
In other news, I’ve been working on a collection of sprang lace patterns.
I’m looking for individuals interested in trying out my lace patterns, giving me feed-back on the readability of the patterns. Any takers out there? Send me a note, carol at sash weaver dot com.
Travels, October 2014
October 2014 was spent in European travels. The impetus for the trip was the invitation to present information on sprang at the Early Textile Study Group conference in London. The topic for this year’s conference was Peter Collingwood. Dagmar Drinkler agreed to present her research on the subject of ‘tight fitting clothing in antiquity’, and I contributed my experience making leggings.
I did take the time to tour around London, spent a day on a double-decker bus.
While in the UK, I stopped in to visit friends. First up was Oli and Erica of Weavolution. They hosted me while I taught a finger weaving class to the Cambridge Weavers.
Next I visited my friends Elaine and Andy. They toured me through Yorkshire, including a trip to Chatsworth House, an amazing place.
Elaine and I talked sprang, and the probability that ancient Persians and Celts work sprang clothing.
Back in London, I stopped in at Alexandra Palace for the Knit and Stitch show, on Oct 9, minding a booth for The Braid Society, and gave a class on finger weaving: Weave a scarf on the train.
After the Early Textile Society conference in London, I travelled to Reading. There I was able to have a sneak preview of an amazing collection of braided pieces in the Reading Library, the Braid Society’s Biennial Exhibition.
Near Reading is the town of Aldebourne where individuals interested in diverse braiding techniques meet regularly in the local town hall. Thanks to Sally, and to my hostess Rosie, I taught another workshop there, this time finger weaving (last time was sprang).
On to the mainland of Europe. Thanks to Frieda who met me at the train station in Antwerp, Belgium. I taught classes in the Belgian town of Sint-Job-in-‘t-Goor.
This was an ‘advanced finger weaving class’, the follow-up to a previous session. Participants explored some of the variety of patterns possible.
The following day was a sprang class. Pauline brought a sprang cap that she had made after the sprang class last year.
By then it was time for a rest. My friend Karin took me home. I sat in her backyard and worked on other sprang projects.
Accepting an invitation to visit a very talented bobbin-lace weaver (this sister of a Winnipeg friend) I travelled to Braunschweig. Between discussions on the subject of bobbin-lace, finger weaving and sprang, we toured through downtown Braunschweig, and made a visit to the top of the newly rebuilt ‘Schloss’ and the Quadriega.
On to the Netherlands. Braid Society member and friend, Ria toured me around the Netherlands.
We had been invited to the island of Terschelling.
Resident of Terschelling, Marianne, is a very talented textile artist. She also has an amazing collection of textiles. She introduced us to the neighbourhood chickens.
While on Terschelling, I visited the local yarn store, Tante Lies. Come to find out, I’d been volunteered to give a talk on the subject of sprang at the Tante Lies yarn store. I brought along a frame, and people were invited to give it a try.
While in the Netherlands I was privileged with a visit to another Ria.
On Nov 1, I taught a sprang class in The Hague at the textile studio known as DeSpinners. Thanks to Dineke and Katia, this was a follow-up to a finger weaving class I taught last year.
What a pleasure to spread the good word about these amazing techniques to individuals interested in learning.
On to the final destination, Lyon, France.
The Greco-Roman museum is built into the Fourviere hillside, right beside the remains of two Roman amphitheatres. If you’re in Lyon, you really should stop in, it’s a ‘must see’.
The theme of the month at the Fourviere Gallo-Roman Museum in Lyon was textiles. I had been invited to give a lecture on the subject of sprang bonnets. This is the reason I’d been working on that sprang turban. Wednesday I presented a workshop for children (and their parents, grandparents) on diverse braiding techniques. Thursday I presented my lecture and workshop on the subject of sprang. I brought along several replica sprang bonnets that I have made. Sprang frames were available and seven women took the opportunity to explore the basic sprang technique.
The Gallo-Roman museum had a lovely little sprang bonnet, on loan from the Textile museum.
Back at home, I’m now trying to map out the pattern.
My flight to Belgium stopped over in Montreal. They were having a snowstorm, and I worried that the plane would not be able to take off. Not to worry, we arrived on time in Brussels.
I taught two sprang workshops in Sint-Job-in-‘t-Goor. Some of the participants had taken my finger weaving workshop last fall. They brought items they had made to show me.
I led two sprang workshops.
A big thank you to Ina Verhulst for organising these workshops.
I also met with the textile group called Metamorphose. They explored finger weaving.
The annual Winnipeg winter celebration, Festival du Voyageur is in full swing. Again this year Manitoba weavers are present, contributing to the history component of the festival. We’re weaving tea towels this year. Several weavers have taken their place at the loom.
The fingerweavers were also there.
Historic Ft William
Drove to Thunder Bay last Thursday to attend the Great RendezVous at Historic Fort William.
On the way I stopped in at Quetico Park to see the sash I wove for them while artist in residence two years ago.
At the RendezVous, I gave a workshop on fingerweaving to participants and Ft William Staff.
This woman had learned fingerweaving by herself. She found the book Fingerweaving Untangled in her local library.
End of the School Year
Van Walleghem School invited me to come teach fingerweaving to their students during the last week of school. I spent a day and a half working with them. Students from grades 3, 4, and 5, explored the basic fingerweaving method making a ‘wrist sash’. My heart was warmed by a student who said to me, “Nice presentation.”
July 1 is Canada Day. National celebrations everywhere.
I was invited to the Musée de St-Boniface Museum to animate my “Fingerweaving Dance”.
Assisted by my daughter, and accompanied by expert musician D’Arcy Stearns we wove six feet worth of ‘sash’ (12 strands diagonal stripe).
Maybe next year we’ll try for a Guiness record.
I’ve been doing some sprang lately.
A pair of wooden handles gave me the idea.
The fingerweaving class is progressing very well. Five women have progressed to the flame pattern. Today we were joined by members of the group that meet monthly at the St Boniface Museum.