A New Year…

January was slowly becoming my favorite month.  It use to be September, fresh start of the school year, both my own and when my kids were young.  Fresh pencils, notebooks, and great expectations.  With the school years finished, September is just a slow slog to get through because most of my teaching occurs between August and November.  I love what I do, but the pace is killer.

January is cold.  (And this year was positively painful).  That means no working outdoors unless it snows. (Which it is supposed to today).  And there is supposed to be little on the calendar.  The holidays are finished.  The month is long.  Perfect time to reset the pace of the year and play catch up.

Yeah, that didn’t go so well.  Right now I’m frantically trying to finish up a couple dozen step out samples for making bound buttonholes for an article due the end of the week for Threads Magazine.  I tailored the jacket, and now have to do all those little samples.  Good thing I can make bound buttonholes with my eyes closed.

And Sunday is a music performance with my recorder consort, with a program I’ve been working for for about a month.  It is actually quite fun, I put together a PowerPoint slide presentation, (we all know I can do that in my sleep) of Pieter Bruegel the Elder paintings, and the consort will play sets of dances by composer Tielman Susato.  Both artists lived and worked in Antwerp in the 1550’s.  It is said they knew each other.  Sunday’s performance is at the Van Vleck House in Montclair NJ at 2pm if anyone local needs an afternoon out.  Point is I’ve been working on the slides, the presentation and the commentary, not to mention the practice for what is supposed to be my down time.  And I can’t do this with my eyes closed.

This past Saturday was my annual Learn To Weave Class I put together for my local weaving guild.  Since January is a down month, the only thing I have to worry about is weather.  It is always a nail biter.  And this year, illness played a factor.  I had two cancellations at the last minute, one three hours before the class, but was able to fill the spots with very happy people from the waiting list.  I own 15 Structo and two 10″ Leclerc four shaft looms. I hold one out in case a loom breaks and  I’ve spent years collecting them.  I refurbish them with aprons, new heddles if necessary, a 15 dent reed if it came with something other than 15 dent, and try to make the experience close to what it would feel like threading, beaming and weaving on a shaft loom.  I created a draft that gives them a gamp with a couple threadings and multiple treadlings for a lovely sampler of what a shaft loom can do.   I do prewind the warp, colorful rug warp, so that saves a bit of time. It is a 6 hour class and students leave knowing if this is a skill they want to pursue.

Usually I get two different responses at the end…  First is, thanks, I’m glad I got to try it but I can’t see me pursuing this, I’ve got so many other things I love to do, or don’t have the space, or the money, or whatever.  But the best response is the second, thanks so much, I am completely hooked, where can I get a loom and how do I keep studying…  In a class of 16 new weavers, we have generated quite a few new and enthusiastic guild members.

So, though January is stressing me out for reasons that are completely my fault because I said yes to too many things, this is a month of bright new beginnings for a new group of weavers.  Check out the photos!  A great way to spend a Saturday in January!  And a huge thanks to my daughter, who team taught with me, my studio assistant who came along because I made her, and the members of the Jockey Hollow Weavers Guild who helped keep everyone on track.

Comments (9)

Jill RoukeJanuary 16th, 2018 at 11:53 am

Love seeing all those little structos!
Thanks for what you do.

Jill RoukeJanuary 16th, 2018 at 11:54 am

Love seeing all those little structos.
Thanks for all you do!

Betty HarrisJanuary 16th, 2018 at 11:58 am

Darryl, I love reading your blog. I somehow missed your last one (December 2017) sharing the details of your studio with a weaver who is just building hers. It has taken me a looong time to realize that, contrary to my plans when I worked with you, I am a hobbyist, not a professional weaver. That said, your organizational skills impressed me with the need to get my own supplies in better order. Thank you for that.

AngiJanuary 16th, 2018 at 1:09 pm

I Love that you give new weavers something Bright and Beautiful, to learn with! My first 4 shaft project was all natural, cotton bird’s eye towels. It’s a wonder that I continued forward! Blessings on the rest of your “Catch a Breath” time!

MaryJanuary 16th, 2018 at 2:24 pm

What fun! Thank you for sharing your adventures! This workshop looks great for beginning weavers to see IF it’s a practice/craft/hobby they want to pursue. Lately I’ve been weaving on my rigid heddle loom rather than the 4 harness floor loom. One thing I’d like to try in the New Year are dish towels so I must get started on that at some point! Thank You!

Nancy WeberJanuary 16th, 2018 at 6:11 pm

Happy New Year, Daryl! What a great way to introduce possible new weavers to weaving! I know you love to do this class and glad you had help with your daughter there, too, even if you told her she had to come! Have fun with your upcoming concert, I know you work hard, in your down time , to practice on your recorder. Hugs,

LindaJanuary 16th, 2018 at 7:13 pm

Love your weaving workshop! I wish I could do something similar for my guild, but alas, I haven’t been collecting Structo looms for years and frankly not in a million years would I have the skill you do in teaching and working with learners!

Elizabeth EddyJanuary 16th, 2018 at 11:27 pm

Wish I could take that class! You are teaching just what I want to learn, including the color!

Joan AhernJanuary 18th, 2018 at 12:35 pm

Sorry to miss your workshop this year, it’s so much fun. Even though I’ve been weaving for years I still pick up tips. Looks like you had a great group. See you in Feb.

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