Wednesday, April 30, 2008

"My Weaving Workshop...."

I was lucky enough to have had the opportunity to sign up for a weaving workshop with internationally known, Jason Collingwood, a rug weaver from England. It was held at Vavning Studio, in the small village of Shopiere, WI, which is about a 45 minute drive from our house in Madison. Juanita, who owns Vavning Studio, was the perfect hostess, making everyone feel extremely comfortable, PLUS giving us all GIFTS! She is a multi-talented artist and gave us each a print of one of her watercolors, along with a set of needles to use with weaving, and has a friend who also give us a special wire to make "G strings". (G strings are "needle threaders) :) It was a whirlwind 2 1/2 days, packed with information and not enough time, but DEFINITELY a great experience.

Vavning Studio is located in a former church, which is perfect for holding workshops. The upstairs, or main floor, still has the church pews (with seat pads!) and makes for a comfortable, roomy, and well lit lecture hall.

Here are some woven samplers of techniques we were shown/taught how to accomplish on our looms. (double click for a larger photo)

The weaving studio is located in the church basement, although it is actually the ground floor and one can walk directly into it from the parking lot, which makes it easier carrying in all the looms, benches, and materials needed for the workshop.

As you can see, there are many shapes and sizes of looms, each one with a "work in progress" on it, too. Beyond this room are, a kitchen, rest rooms, and Juanita's husband's darkroom, and the stairs that lead up to the lecture hall. Norm, Juanita's husband, has been doing photography as a hobby since 1948. I only know this because he, Juanita, and I had a little "show and tell" the last day of the workshop. A time had been set aside for "show and tell", but it was after the daily workshop hours (Sunday night), and since I traveled back and forth from Madison daily, Juanita asked me to bring in something I had woven to show the group. Many of the participants had traveled quite far to take this workshop and were staying in nearby hotel/motels and had shown their things the night before. Norm had somehow been forgotten in all the fiber "show and tell", so he was asked to show his photographs after the luncheon as well. :) Juanita also had another piece of weaving to show. She'd woven a very large rug for Patty, one of the owners of Rainbow Fleece Farm, using Patty's own hand spun yarn from some of her sheep. Patty and Andy had been invited to come to the luncheon, and to bring along some of their "wares". Juanita "unveiled" her rug for the first time and it truly, is a beautifully woven piece.

Another view of the studio....... I think Jason is a very good instructor. He is patient and works one on one very well. Patience is a GOOD thing when learning/teaching weaving......... :)

This is my work area. I was lucky enough to have been offered, by our friend Barb, to use her grandmothers travel loom, a "Baby Macomber". Actually, I borrowed it soon after I moved to Madison, but didn't use it. I was sort of "afraid" of it because of it's size. It is too small/short for me, but I have made a wooden frame for it to sit on, which raises it up about 1 1/2", so it fits much better. It was especially nice to have a floor loom for the workshop, rather than a table loom. Unfortunately, I had forgotten to pack my bench in the car (had too many things to remember, I guess!) the first day, but Juanita had an extra bench that I could use for the day. I did remember to bring mine in the next day (plus mine has a nice fleece to sit upon....).

A few more photos to follow in tomorrow's blog entry.

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