Monday, April 8, 2013

Southeast Fiber Forum Conference

I love conferences! You learn something every time you go. There's such a vast amount of weaving knowledge out there to add to our brains that it's impossible to learn it all, but we keep chipping away at it and hope to acquire just a bit more each time we go.
The conference was this past weekend at Arrowmont. Arrowmont's in Gatlinburg, one of the meccas of commercialization, not exactly a place you'd want to go to for improving your knowledge of weaving. However, there's a tiny oasis among the shops and "museums".  It's Arrowmont, a wonderful school for crafts. At Arrowmont, you don't realize you're in Gatlinburg. You're in a place that surrounds you with opportunities to learn! I used to go there for spring classes every year until we adopted our DD back in 87.
This is the third time SFFA has had their conference at Arrowmont.
This year I took a class with Karen Donde on Turned Beiderwand. The class was 2 1/2 days long. It could have been 5 days. So much information, so little time, so much to thread, weave, figure out....
I tried to take some pictures but I missed alot!
We all wound 2 warps before we got there. One warp we wound onto the back beam of our looms and if we had a second warp beam, the other was wound onto that one. I only have one beam on my ashford. So, the other warp had to be positioned and then supported with a weight so it wouldn't move while we threaded the 2 warps at the same time. Yup, 2 sets of lease sticks and all!!
Karen ended up helping several of the students at times, making sure they knew what they were doing!
 Christy took the class with me. Her baby wolf worked nicely. Note the weights she has on her second warp..
 I did snap a quick picture of my loom while I was still threading the warps. The only thing is, I forgot to snap one while I was weaving. So, once the warps are threaded and tied onto the front, you have to do something to be sure that that second warp is as tight as the first one for weaving. In order to do that, you have to divide it in sections and hang weights on it. We used water bottles that we hooked onto the sections of warp. It did look interesting, all those bottles on the backs of our looms. Of course, you could weave just a few inches before you'd have to go back and adjust the bottles down again. As long as the weights were the same and hanging from the back, not resting on the floor, you were fine. I did have a bit of problem with one side of my warp. Somehow the weight didnt' work so great there but I wove it off anyway.
 Karen helping a student with his warp. If you hadn't ever threaded a loom with 2 warps before, it was rather daunting!
 I mostly weave clothing that I sell. Our class assistant has bought probably about half a dozen of my pieces over the years. I consider her a friend, more than just a client, even though I only meet her at shows. This past fall she decided she wanted to learn how to weave as well so she signed up in the 2 year program at Haywood Community College. So now she's weaving and I suspect one day I'll buy something she wove when she gets into the Southern Highland Craft Guild as well!
 Oh, just noticed, you can see the bottles hanging from the back of her loom. The long term solution would be to get another back beam. Yes, you can get one for the baby wolf. They're not that expensive. Someone in the class had one. It does add depth to the loom but she sure could weave quickly! Only problem with the weave structures we were doing is that she had to change the tie up underneath the loom quite often. They all did. However, once the sampling's done, you wouldn't need to re tie everything, just weave it off!! Something to consider!!

One of the draws for the conference is that you have a keynote speaker. This year it was Jason Collingwood. He also taught rug weaving there. Of course we've all heard of his father and knew that he was now teaching, taking over from his Dad. Well, I'd never heard him speak before. What an interesting life! He showed us pictures of the studio where he weaves and explained how it all worked. I enjoyed his speech as much as any I've heard in a long time. Incredibly informative!
 The other highlight of the conference is always the fashion show. I tried to take a lot of pictures but the models kept moving alot and it was hard to pin them down..
Here's our fearless MC for the evening, all dolled up courtesy of the vendors, including the feathers in her hair!
 Diane Totten's class sent a representative from them all pinned up in things they had woven and crimped. Very serious fashion show this was!! We did some of this gathering  of handwoven fabric 2 years ago when I took Catherine Ellis's class on woven shibori...
 I don't knit but this cape was awesome. I think she may have spun the yarn too. I don't remember but it was gorgeous!
 Our instructor sent her assistant onstage with a vest she'd woven. I like the blocks that were created in the weave.
 This person won a bag of roving at a previous conference and this is what she did with cool is that?!
I won a skein of yarn that has angora in it. Ever soft!! Now I have to think of something to make before the next conference, if I choose! I'm thinking of ideas of what to make. It's not that big a skein so maybe some overshot.....hmmmm...
We all left Arrowmont exhausted but our heads full of new ideas to try to incorporate into our weaving lives. I'll take my samples along tomorrow for all the Tuesday Weavers to see and assess.
Until next week, hope you find time to weave!!


Linda said...

That sounds like a wonderful conference and meeting Jason was the icing on the cake!

KarenInTheWoods and Steveio said...

What a nice conference!

Hey.. there is one opening left for the Jason Collingwood Class up in Beloit, WI at Juanita's studio. Just over the border from Rockford, Illinois. If anyone wants more info, email Juanita

Karen and Steve
RVing: The USA Is Our Big Backyard

KarenInTheWoods and Steveio said...

Juanita's email :

Pat said...

Carol - Wow, I am impressed that you got home and got this post written up in 24 hours. Enjoyed meeting you at Karen's workshop. Sometime soon I'll get my photos up on my blog -


Bonnie said...

What a busy and fun class. Much too short. Sounds like it was a fun time.