I am still on cloud nine from our loom class and have been wanting to share with you all.
This class was a two day introduction to weaving with beads and fibers and more specifically, weaving on a Mirrix Loom. The Mirrix Loom is a table loom that you use upright which is a really really nice feature. They come very small sized (perfect for bead weaving jewelry) to quite large (great for larger tapestry works of art) and I think they are just beautiful to look at in a tech sort of way. We all brought our own looms to work on. The original class was structured to learn various tapestry/bead techniques while weaving two different bracelets, one on each day of our class. Because we were the world's best students with a great teacher, Our first day was declared a teaching success and our teacher suggested we get right into tapestry weaving if we were interested. We were and the second day of our class was strictly tapestry weaving and trying all sorts of techniques in a small sampler. The class was scheduled for 10-4 but our group of enthusiastic students decided 9:00am to 4 would be even better. We were all drinking the Kool Aid.
For our class, Claudia supplied us with gorgeous hand dyed silk fibers and gold thread to use. A nice "kit" was provided with way more than enough fibers beads and more to finish our two projects. The hand dyed silks are TDF.
Claudia Chase was our wonderful teacher. She designed the Mirrix Loom and owns the company. She has been weaving all of her life, is a member of the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen (prestigious juried group) and is a natural born teacher. Her excitement was contagious and her patience limitless. Throw in a great sense of humor and you can see why the class was such a success. Claudia has classes on Craftsy as well as Craftartedu, a great site I just learned about. She dyes, spins, weaves and all that wonderful fiber-y type of "stuff".
Claudia (black top in the center) was supported by our gracious hostess and artist, Joni Parker-Roach ( far right). The class was held at her gallery, The NOA Gallery in Groton, Mass. Joni teaches classes in an area behind the gallery that was bright and full of her student's work. She made sure we were comfortable in every way and commandeered a great evening out of wine and good food for all.
My favorite words from Claudia over the weekend "if you sew you know you want the back of your work to look as good as the front and you've been trained to do that. Throw that notion right out the window." In weaving there is all sorts of party happening on the back of your work and you just don't worry about it. Nobody does and it would be odd if you did. These were the first words Claudia shared when the class began.
I was surrounded by very accomplished bead weavers. Hopefully I absorbed some of their brilliance. Talk about small world! Two of the ladies, twins Tammy and Terry, live twenty minutes from where I live in upstate NY. I have searched high and low for garment sewing buddies since I moved here ten years ago to no avail. I go to this class in Massachusetts and find kindred creative souls that I can now commiserate with. That alone is worth the price of the class to me! The twins are very accomplished, bead professionally and enjoy sewing as well. Dona was from New Hampshire, another professional beader and so is Princess. Princess, forgive me for not remembering your given name but Princess fit so perfectly you needed no other! Princess kept us laughing for the two entire days and stands to my right. All in all, a great group of creative women that I truly enjoyed being with.
What I learned:
I was a blank slate when it came to this loom weaving business. Truthfully, I have always wanted to learn how to weave and now have the opportunity. I will continue to sew as that is in the fiber of my being but I welcome this opportunity to continue to stretch my creative muscles. Frankly, one of the reasons I wanted to try this new to me craft is to see if I can help my synapses to continue to make new connections as I age. I am on a quest to try things that will stretch me mentally and force me to think in a new way about a new subject. Weaving will be a great way to do that.
We learned all sorts of techniques, "pick and pick", "wavy lines", "bumps", "dancing fibers" and so much more. We also learned how to properly set up our looms for both bead weaving and tapestry weaving.
This is my loom warped for tapestry and the heddles attached. That took some concentration and my synapses were connecting left and right! We learned techniques for finishing woven bracelets. For me the finishing is where the pros stand out and us newbies strive. It was so nice to have someone show me techniques for clasps and such.
Myself and all the students all felt we got way more than our money's worth in this class. Claudia was so generous with her knowledge and kindness, Joni, too. We were thrilled to get all the extra emphasis on tapestry on day two. The atmosphere was loose, fun, and we were sucking up the the teaching like sponges in the deep. I had great fun, learned so much I never knew, and established some nice relationships with like minded spirits. I would take this class again in a heartbeat and highly recommend it if you lean in this direction. Gotta keep making new connections for the brain synapses!...Bunny