If you’ve been following me for awhile, you know how much I love Peters Valley School of Craft. It is part of the Craft School consortium in the US, with Penland, Haystack, Arrowmont, Philchuck, etc. It is within an hour from my house, located in National Park Service property, and I support them in many different ways. Taking a workshop at any of these places can be life altering. I try to take a workshop every year at Peters Valley, but I also get to teach there occasionally, this year I did a Designing and Weaving Handwoven Yardage class. 5 Day.
First let me say that this class is intense over only a 5 day period. It is hard to make anyone, no matter how old, sit at a loom, sleying, threading, beaming, weaving for 5 days straight. As a matter of fact, in my early days of writing for Handwoven Magazine, I wrote an article back in 2002 called “Lose Weight and Reduce Stress” after I taught a similar class back in the summer of 2001 at Peters Valley. I remember then editor Madelyn van der Hoogt asking me on the phone if I had any ideas on how to boost readership, and I snarkily responded, “Just put something about weight loss on the cover!” So she said, “Great, write it.” (Jan/Feb 2002)
Designing, winding the warp, and all that handwoven yardage entails is tough work for anyone. But the studio and condition of the looms was fantastic, best I’ve ever worked with. The move to the newly renovated weaving studio, adjacent to the surface design studio at Peters Valley’s Thunder Mountain campus was the best thing they could have done for the students and for the looms. It was bright, the best air conditioned place on the campus, which was really important since we had a 100+ degree heat wave in the mountains along with monsoon rains every evening. The light was fantastic, and my daughter, as the fiber assistant was really instrumental in getting all the looms in perfect working order. I took advantage of the space and tables in the adjacent surface design studio to put out all my yarns, show slides, and give students a space to do preliminary design with color exercises and yarn wraps.
Once they had the yarn wraps finalized, they started winding warps.
Once the warps were wound, they started sleying the reed, in levels.
On to threading…
And then beaming… I brought a couple of Harrisville Tensioners from my own studio.
And then ultimately weaving four yards of yardage once they tested wefts.
Everyone was thrilled as the knots came up over the back of the loom, most of the fabrics were combinations of plain weave, twill, and supplemental warps. Since all of Peters Valley’s Macomber looms are at least 8 shafts, this is easy to accomplish. And Dee’s fabric really showed the influence of the photo she used for inspiration.
A very happy class!
One of the students, Ginnie, had flown in from Michigan, we have become really close friends as she is one of my regular students at Sievers School of Fiber Arts, I think she has taken my garment construction intensive class at least a dozen times. I’ll be teaching that class at Sievers in October. Anyway, she asked me in a conversation if I ever thought about teaching weaving, since she was mostly a self taught recipe weaver. I mentioned the Peters Valley class and she signed up immediately. She stayed over an extra day before flying home, and I took her into NYC to see the Camp: Notes on Fashion exhibit at the MET. It was worth the traffic and drive into the city as exhausted as we were. What a fabulous exhibition.
And so I now play catch up, balancing house stuff, (yes I had to call in two repair/handyman/contractors when I returned home because well stuff breaks while I’m gone), bill paying and bookkeeping, and projects with fast approaching deadlines. And starting prep for the fall marathon… I did manage though, to continue working on the stuff in my basket, finding out how many 4.5 yard ends I could get from these two skeins if I circular wound on a warping board into an ombré effect. The answer was 76.
And I leave you with two funny pet pictures, because I missed my furry creatures while I was gone, and they do keep me laughing… They seem to have an appliance fetish, the cat’s favorite perch is the coffee pot, so he can see out the back door when I’m dining by the pond, and he and one of my dogs lay in wait for the Roomba to start. They haven’t figured out yet how to start it on purpose… I just think it would be so cool to say to any of my animals, “There is dog and cat hair all over the place, please run the Roomba…”