Saturday, July 29th, 2017 Posted in Events, Fiber Arts Education, Weaving | No Comments »
New England Weavers Seminar 2017
Gretchen and I recently took Halcyon Yarn on the road! We had the pleasure of attending the New England Weavers Seminar at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. The New England Weavers Seminar, or NEWS, is held every two years and is a highly anticipated event for weavers in the region. It is a long weekend full of classes, lectures, shopping, and galleries showcasing the work of newcomers and established weavers side by side. With over 350 attendees, dozens of classes, tours, lectures, exhibits, and unique vendors all in one beautiful place, NEWS is a great opportunity to connect with a vibrant weaving community. To stay up to date on details and make your plans for NEWS 2019 please visit their website, and sign up for their NEWSletter.
Gretchen and I rented a van and filled it with as many of Halcyon’s signature yarns, tools, and books as we could! It was lovely meeting and talking with so many passionate members of the weaving world, many of whom have been shopping with us for decades. We also saw lots of new faces that we hope to see again in the future! In addition to vending with Gretchen, I was lucky enough to take several classes over the weekend, ranging from the history of weaving with Marjie Thompson, to sewing with handwoven fabric with Sarah Jackson, to card weaving with Marilyn Romatka! Before this weekend, I’d only taken one formal weaving class. Being a mostly self taught weaver, this weekend was a great opportunity to converse with other weavers and learn from their experiences. You can only learn so much out of a book!
Gebrochen examples, from Marjie Thompson’s class.
A great tool for analysis, recommended in Marjie Thompson’s class.
Card weaving, from Marilyn Romatka’s class.
One of the most exciting things about the weekend was witnessing firsthand the importance of weaving guilds. I had a chance to see the Traveling Library, which is a collection of over 50 notebooks of handwoven swatches and drafts created over the years by NEWS guild members, who are then able to borrow the notebooks for study and inspiration. It is a reminder of the way that weaving drafts were shared in the past. Before weavers had easy access to unlimited weaving books and online sources, handwritten drafts and samples were passed from weaver to weaver. (Remember, if you’re a guild member, take advantage of Halcyon Yarn’s Guild Rewards program!)
New Santa Fe colors, in the Organic Cottolin Tea Towel kit – coming soon!
Seeing the library and guild exhibits really brought to light that strong sense of tradition and community in the weaving world, as did the evening lectures on the first and last nights from Tom Knisely and Lynda Teller Pete. I’ve seen numerous books and articles by Tom Knisely, but I had no idea he was an avid antique textile collector! His lecture was called “What We Can Learn from Antique Textiles,” and he brought some pieces from his own collection and even generously passed them around the room for us to gawk over. Tom is a very engaging speaker, and his delight in the craft is contagious. His favorite pieces (and the ones that told the best “stories”) were the ones that had worn away in spots or been lovingly mended. Rather than being disappointed by holes in the fabric, he looked at them as an opportunity to see exactly how the fabric was woven and used. While we may never know exactly who wove these early textiles, Tom and many of us in the audience enjoyed speculating about the anonymous weavers and owners of the textiles.
Lynda Teller Pete’s lecture was equally fascinating. Lynda is a fifth generation award-winning Navajo weaver and her lecture was called “They Will Know Our Names.” She spoke about her family’s legacy, where weaving lessons are mandatory and weaving is viewed as a “way of life.” The Two Grey Hills pattern is a traditional design that has been woven into rugs and tapestries by the Teller family for generations. It was fascinating to see how each generation interpreted the pattern a little differently. Hearing about the amount of skill and passion and history that goes into each and every piece woven by the Tellers was inspiring and it was wonderful to hear how highly valued weaving is within this family.
Learn more about Lynda, and her family, in the Craft In America: TEACHERS episode, from PBS.
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