Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Loom Class was WONDERFUL!


I am still on cloud nine from our loom class and have been wanting to share with you all. 

The Class:
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. 

Our Teacher:
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. 

The Students:

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. 

In Conclusion:

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



23 comments:

  1. Sounds like a wonderful class, and I'm thrilled it exceeded expectations - that is always welcome! Your strive to "test the synapses" is inspiring, thank you!

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    1. It's sincere and a discussion ongoing between my sister and myself. She has taken up learning Italian and I have gone the weaving route.

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  2. I can feel your excitement and hear the gears in your brain turning over and over. Being able to see new things and make new connections with a technique and 2 new local sewing buddies (how cool is that!) is just what you needed to get you through the rest of the winter weather. Did anyone like your custom loom carrier?

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    1. That got a huge positive response and it looks like I will be making a few more in the future! Using it last weekend taught me a few things to make it better and simpler. I also got lots of ideas for the look of future bags. I am going to start with making a couple of prototypes of the various sizes and see where it goes. Claudia was very encouraging.

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    2. How nice is that? Your talent and creativity recognized and celebrated and orders for more...win-win Miss Bunny!

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  3. Hi there Bunny,
    Thank you for sharing your latest adventure. Smiles all around, and you have found sewing buddies too. As mrsmole says win-win.
    Having trouble with my end sending my message as computer gremlins are disliking my passwords(?) so I apologize if more than one posting shows up!!
    How wonderful that so many people loved your loom carrier, it is pretty spectacular, I think you will be overrun with orders. On that note, if you were to produce more shibori cuffs I would be first in the queue to order one, as I think they are wonderful.

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    1. There may be more of those coming. I am trying to position myself for when we move from here and our secure jobs. One day at a time!

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  4. So fun!!!! It sounds as if you had an amazing time!

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  5. So energizing to learn new things--I can see the gleam in your eye from here!

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  6. Time to re-watch my Craftsy class! You've got me all inspired...again! Your lovely piece...the turquoise threads really sing to me...is a great mix of materials! And how lucky to have not only spent time with kindred spirits, but to find out they're practically neighbours! I do hope you keep these posts coming, showing your progress.

    I find making adornments such a nice adjunct to sewing garments! I've been doing more beading, but haven't got into the tapestry fun stuff yet...

    A Colourful Canvas: Beaded, Wrap Leather Bracelet

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    1. That's so nice to hear. The bracelet on the canvas has some novelty "rail road track" yarn in it that flattened to this great texture with tiny bits of color. We've been encouraged to seek out the novelty yarns to add a bit of punch to our projects. The bracelet is all put together but I am stitching all the edges with size 15 beads and that is taking a lot of time. They are so tiny it takes a while to fill up a space. I will definitely post pics when I am done.

      I don't know if any of you followed and remember the blog by Sommerset Banks. She is incredible creative seamstress but no longer blogs and rarely sews. Anyway, she generously sent me a BIG box of Paternayan yarns, probably every color, never used. I am so glad now to have those to begin to use for tapestry. If you are out there reading, Sommerset, thanks so much again. I will make good use of the yarns.

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    2. I just checked out your bracelet. It is GORGEOUS. Just click the link, everyone, to see what Sue has made.

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    3. eep {blush} thank you Bunny! I've been keeping my eye out for bits and pieces at thrift stores...sometimes I can find loosely woven placemats etc. that have fantastic yarns in them.

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    4. That is such a great idea! Thanks.

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    5. That is such a great idea! Thanks.

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  7. Gorgeous! Glad it was such a good experience. A good class can be so invigorating and inspiring. Can't wait to see what you create.

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  8. Oh Bunny, I am so happy for you! Weaving sounds exactly like your "cup of tea" and a class made in heaven for one so creative. Thanks for sharing your fun filled class with us...I had fun just reading about it! Your excitement was felt in every paragraph. Can hardly wait to see your finished projects! Linda S.

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  9. I wondered where you were!! Having FUN, I see...good for you!
    Love what you're creating & it looks like it was a great group of gals to learn with.

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    1. It was - a great group and a great class.

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  10. I thought of you when I drove past NOA yesterday. Groton is just four towns north of mine. I had lunch at Filho's Cucina. Did you happen to go there? Great food. Sorry I missed you when you were in the area. Although it sounds like you were plenty busy with the workshop and other ladies. Glad you got this great foundation in weaving with your loom. Enjoy!

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    1. If you are that close we will have to get together sometime. I am in the North Shore area a few times a year. A trip to Fabric Place, maybe?

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    2. If you are that close we will have to get together sometime. I am in the North Shore area a few times a year. A trip to Fabric Place, maybe?

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