Wednesday, March 31, 2010

News from John Campbell Folk School teaching week

I'm at John C. Campbell Folk School this week to teach a class called "Tapestry Weaving: Begin With the Basics and Move Beyond". There are eleven students from all over the U.S. in the class and because the class is full I was able to have a teaching assistant for the class. I asked one of my former students at North Georgia College & State University, Lena Grace Adams, if she could assist me this week and she was able to work it into her schedule. She used tapestry as her medium for her senior exhibit at the university and so she's comfortable with basic techniques. Her degree was in art education so she's also a very capable teacher. I'm very happy she was able to join me at JCFS this week because she's adding so much to the class with her knowledge and her spirit.

Here are a few photos from the first couple of days of the class. We laugh among ourselves that it seems each day is really two days because what we did before lunch seems like yesterday when we get to the end of the day!

The class began on Monday as they warped their looms and I introduced meet and separate, using two colors. After weaving an inch or so of that, they were introduced to hatching--still with only two colors. Next came the conflict of interruption of sequence to the meet and separate of two color traveling in opposite directions in the same shed (as originally set in place) when a third color comes to play. Which word--STRESS or ARGGG or YIKES! or something UNPRINTABLE!! -- adequately described the feeling they had when that terrible interruption happened. Yet, that particular terrible interruption is what has to happen, over and over and over and over again in tapestry weaving.

My goal for the week is that these students will depart on Saturday with the knowledge that they will never "solve" once and forever the continuing challenges that tapestry will present to them. They will always have to be doing a constant assessment of where the wefts are in relation to each other, and they will always have to analyze what the next weft to be entered must do to "play well with others." There's no SOLUTION to what will always work right in tapestry weaving... it continues to present problem-solving opportunities every time a new color/shape is introduced.

More to come tomorrow (maybe!)


  1. looks like you are having a good week. I like 'yikes' myself.

  2. wishing I were there....

  3. Thank you the interesting post. I enjoyed reading it and look forward to more in the future.

  4. i would often 'cheat' when that problem arrived by introducing one yarn and work from both ends! |<.

  5. Kaite... yes, that's one of the solutions I give them!

  6. oh, how good. i discovered that myself and thought i was being 'bad'. isn't tapestry wonderful. |<.