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.
Learning from students
.I've been travelling, teaching in Quebec and Iowa. It's lovely to meet people, share what I know, and learn from so many talented people. As a consequence I've updated the contents of the twining patterns on my website, tweaking the directions, hopefully making them easier to understand.
The Midwest Handweavers Conference took place in Grinnell, Iowa recently, and I had the privilege of sharing with several very talented people. One of them, Jason, made it all the way through my twining patterns, and gave me some excellent suggestions. I've now edited those twining patterns on my website. Anyone who has already downloaded them, and who wants an update ... please contact me and I'll send you the new-and-improved version.
I taught sprang at the assembly of Quebec Handweavers in St George, Quebec. There I met some extraordinary fingerweavers.
I also met Monique Dumas, who had taken a sprang class from Peter Collingwood years ago (her first encounter with someone speaking with a British accent), and who went on to be the very first to teach sprang at the Maison Routhier. She showed me her lovely sprang shrug.
My students at my class at Maison Routhier did me proud.
Lovely meeting every one of you. I wish you many happy hours of sprang.
I now find myself at the FibreWorks Gallery near Madiera Park, British Columbia. I've been offered a short residency. This place is also called "The Yurts" because of the buildings that make up the campus.
Planning to create a sprang scarf, I brought along yarn, beads, and the top and bottom of my sprang frame. I purchased 4 ft long dowels locally, and set to work.
A sprang project needs the yarn mounted on the frame in an orderly fashion ... I needed to organize a first cross in the warp.
The weather was pleasant, I sat outside the FibreWorks Workshop Yurt, and worked. My pattern is inspired by pieces I saw at the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum in Decorah, Iowa.
On Monday, FibreWorks was closed. I went along to speak to a spinners' guild, bringing them the good news of sprang.
I worked on the shawl on Tuesday, and finished it by Thursday afternoon.
The Weavers Circle meets at the FibreWorks Gallery on Thursdays, they watched as I cut the fringes, and tied the knots.
More Sprang Lace Patterns
Since returning from my travels, I've been busy writing patterns, and making samples. I sent pieces to the Hermitage and to the British Museum, giving them pieces for others to handle.
Here is a photo of a piece in the British Museum collection, and the matching pattern I've been working on. I'll be teaching sprang at the Lace Museum in Sunnyvale, Calif, in February 2018. Once people get past the basics, I'll be happy to share these and other patterns. Anyone interested in this class should contact Kim at the Lace Museum, by emailing kim at wire lace dot net, or calling 510 565 0994.
Grand Forks, British Columbia
Over two years ago the weaving guild in Grand Forks BC invited me to teach them sprang and fingerweaving. At last the date has arrived.
Flying in an airplane from Winnipeg to Grand Forks, BC, took me right over the Canadian Rockies. I love looking out the window of an airplane.
Grand Forks is surrounded by mountains. It snowed most every day I was there. It looked like Christmas.
Three days of class. Fingerweaving the first day, then two days of sprang. The students were keen and eager, completed a number of projects, exploring these braiding techniques.
Thank you to Sue for organizing this, and to all who contributed to the lovely lunches, the setup and takedown.
The Textiles of the Nile Valley Conference is held every two years in Antwerp, organized by Antoine De Moor, Petra Linscheid, and Cäcilia Flück. I arrived in Antwerp at the central train station ... a truly beautiful building.
The conference is held at the headquarters of KatoeNatie. This is also the location of an amazing collection of Coptic garments. I presented a paper along with Ines Bogenspurger and Julia Galliker on the subject of textiles found in the ancient town of Karanis. My part of the research had to do with examining and reconstructing bonnets from the collection at the Kelsey Museum.
I set up a display of reconstructed bonnets from the Kelsey and Krefeld collections. I invited participants to touch, and to try them on.
Curators and scholars were very happy to be able to touch and e explored a variety of ways to wear these bonnets.
Proceedings from these conferences get published in a lovely, full-color book. My paper from 2015, presented with Fabienne Medard, appears in the volume we received at this year's conference. Yes, this year's papers will be published in a volume that will be released in 2019.
In the Fall of 2013, I visited the Krefeld Textile Museum, at the invitation of the director, Dr Annette Schieck. I viewed their collection of sprang bonnets, and then went home to try to write up the patterns and make replicas. I now return to verify details that I failed to note on my last visit.
At the CIETA conference last month in St Petersburg, I met Aachen textile conservator Monica Vroon. She had a question about a certain set of 'dresses' for a statue at the Aachen cathedral. She met me in Krefeld, bringing the garments in question.
It is a set of two garments. They are for a statue of the Virgin holding the Child Jesus ... so two 'dresses', one for mother, and one for the child. Looking closely at the pieces, yes, this certainly could be sprang.
The next day I travelled to Herne, to visit with Torsten Verhülsdonk of VS-Books. We are talking about a German edition of Sprang Unsprung.
Mr Verhülsdonk treated me to a tour of a very lovely archaeology museum in Herne.
I then went on to Munich, where I taught a one-day sprang class, organized by Gitti ... it was a pleasure to meet you and your friends. (Sorry that I did not think to take photos.) Looking forward to seeing all the lovely sprang things you will make in the future.
Sprang in Prague
After visiting Picardie, just north of Paris, I went to Prague. There I visited with my friend and sprang expert Sylva Antony Cekalova (check out her website www.krosienky-sprang.cz ... if you need the English version, look for the British flag in the banner, and click there). Sylva is always full of amazing ideas for sprang.
It was a delight, spending time with these amazing people in Prague, talking sprang, walking along the river, a ferry ride across the river, collecting sprang frames (branches) with Sylva.
Sprang in Picardie
I taught a class in sprang at the invitation of Odile Boone, of La Boone Ferme. Odile raises angora rabbits. She sells the fibers, and also sells finished products such as sweaters and gloves. Always looking for something new, she thought she'd try sprang.
Odile gathered some friends, and we held a class.
We made cellphone bags, to explore the basic stitch, then dabbled in making holes on purpose (lace patterns) cables and more.
The British Museum
A while back I met a curator from the British Museum, who invited me to have a look at the sprang textiles in their collection. I took her up on the offer.
So, here I am in London, at the British Museum. They've reserved a spot for me in a 'study room' and bring my sprang bonnets to examine.
I've been writing out the patterns ... and I've informed the curator of my plans to publish these lace patterns. Hoping to add them to my book of sprang lace. The historic record is so incredibly rich.