Whew, what a week. First, I have to say that Sievers Fiber School, is my most favorite place to teach. For a couple of reasons. The location is sort of like heaven, especially in September. You have to travel to an obscure airport, Green Bay, which exists solely for providing transportation for Packers Games, then there is the two hour drive north through Wisconsin, into famous Door County, with all the cherry trees, and I’m talking the kind you can make wine with, and then you hop a ferry for the 25 minute trip to heaven.
In September the population of Washington Island drops to almost nothing, at least by New Jersey standards, and the weather is gorgeous. It hadn’t rained in 25 days, but the first night there, we got some welcome rain, and it stayed cool and comfortable all week.
The staff at Sievers is unbelievably hospitable, and caring, and they make you feel like family. They start with a Sunday night welcome social, and do their best to be supportive and encouraging, and grateful for not only the faculty, but the students as well. More than half my class were returning students, this was my third year there. I love the five day format, students can accomplish a lot in five days, but it always ends up rushed because one of the secrets of teaching is that no matter how much time you give students, they always need more! The new students follow my agenda, they all make a jacket from my pattern, learning the basic skills I want them to learn, and then when they return the next year, they may bring anything they want to work on.
This is such a great opportunity for me as a teacher, each student wants something different from me, and I find myself working way outside my comfort zone and really being challenged by some of the projects, some of the patterns, and some of the fabrics students bring. I think that’s my favorite part. I learn as much from them as they do from me.
The work space, which is a fabulous hexagon, a really beautiful building to work and teach in. It is roomy, bright, with plenty of work tables. Students can just spread out and fill whole corners. Many of them brought SUV’s full of stuff, projects, fabric, supplies, and the gallery/store at Sievers has lots more stuff available should you need anything at all.
There is a tradition at Sievers on the final morning, a group photo, a mini graduation, a song from Cindra, one of the staff members, who has a beautiful voice, a song about sleeping on an island, and never being quite the same. I cry every time I hear it. And a quick look around, I’m not alone!
I shared a cottage with Nancy Adams. She taught the other class at Sievers this week, a beyond beginning weaving class. She had eight students, and they were all enthusiastic and talented, and made some beautiful things. And we kept trying to convince them that they should be weaving yardage for clothing, forget rugs, and table runners…
Nancy was a great roommate, this is the second time we’ve roomed together. We would chat in the evenings, over dinner, which we cooked in the cottage, and then head back to the studios for the evening. There is no internet available, no TV, nothing else to do but what you love best! It doesn’t get any better than this…
The final night we all went to a Washington Island landmark, the Sailor’s Pub. It has become a tradition, and we filled the restaurant with happy talk of fiber, and projects, and what next, and how we are all looking forward to coming back next year. We left the restaurant just at sunset, which was a fitting end to a glorious week.
I encouraged Ann, the owner of Sievers, on the drive back to Green Bay, to think about offering to rent sewing machines to those flying in from other states. I know many more would be able to take advantage of the classes they offer if they didn’t have to worry about bringing a sewing machine on an airplane. I’m hoping they can work that out for next year on a limited basis.
I flew home uneventfully, in first class, enjoying the quiet time before returning to the melee at my house.
We have taken on a few additional teens in the basement since I was last home. I think my son is trying to get in as much partying as possible before he leaves for the military. He is still working on all the paperwork, and I get frequent texts asking me about medical procedures he had, or things like the spelling of my maiden name and where I was born.
And I’m sure you are all waiting to hear about the new dog. My husband and daughter spent a few hours repairing my fence last Sunday after dropping me off at the airport, and they brought home a lovely year and a half old male Norwegian Elkhound. His name is Bjorn, and he follows my daughter around like they were glued at the hip. She has known him since he was 2 months old, was bred at the kennel where she works, and after he became a champion, the breeders needed a home for him, too many males with five females in heat becomes quite the juggling act. Bjorn was my daughter’s favorite, and so she brought him home. I really haven’t seen much of the dog. If my daughter isn’t home, he just sleeps at the foot of her bed and waits for her to come back. He isn’t quite sure where I fit in, since he lived her a week before I returned.
I’m all unpacked, and I’m caught up on laundry, starting to clean, and look at the workload for this week. I don’t travel again for a couple weeks, and then it is off to Albany for a quick weekend.
It is good to be home.