Monday, May 13, 2019

John C. Campbell Folk School class--one last time!

Well. The last class I'll teach at John C. Campbell Folk School has come and gone. And it was a wonderful one. I was so glad to be back there once more... the door to the Keith House says it all:

I took my first weaving class here in 1974. It was taught by someone who was not an experienced weaver but he knew much more than I did. He guided me through some of the things that I hadn't been able to figure out on my own. I really feel my career as a craftsperson began with the Folk School forty five years ago with that experience.

I taught my first weaving class there in 1982. The weaving room was in what's now the History Center at the school. Now the weaving and fiber studio are in spacious quarters, the Louise Pitman Fiber Studio. I love coming into that space each time I'm there. I've taught weaving at the Folk School at least nineteen times since then.

There are many floor looms in the weaving side of the building. For tapestry classes, though, those are pushed back and tables where two students work side-by-side are at the front of the room. Here's how the room looked on the first day before students arrived:

And here are a couple of room overviews throughout the week... lots happening, as you can see!

Here's the building at night after I'd left for the evening. Allie, my assistant, and at least one other student were still hard at work... not quite until the wee hours but later than I could stay.

The grounds of John Campbell Folk School are always beautiful. One of my favorite places is actually a walk from the Keith House to the fiber studio through the woods. I could feel my blood pressure lowering on the first afternoon when I arrived as I walked through these trees:

Late April and the first few days of May were perfect time to see some of the early wildflowers. Flame Azaleas were blooming and there were Pink Lady Slippers in the woods! Many other things were out, as well.

There were twelve students in the class as well as Allie, my assistant. All were somewhat (or a lot) experienced with tapestry weaving. The class was called "Tapestry: Expand Your Horizons" and it was intended to be a class in which a few techniques that perhaps hadn't yet been explored by students would be introduced. I also talked about the "What? Why? and How?" questions that play a big role in any art making. There was a new white board that I made copious use of throughout the week as we had morning discussions.

During the week we also had a lovely visit by Joy and John Moss, of tapestry bobbin fame. John has had health problems but is now back to turning a bit. Joy has taken over much of the bobbin turning in the meantime. I'm glad they were able to stop by during the week. If you've ever ordered a bobbin from them and haven't met them, here they are! I thought it would be appropriate to have them pose surrounded by the weavers who they love to work with.

Now... photos from the week, in no particular order. Because students brought their own looms along many had weavings underway that would be finished later. Several did cut off pieces during the week, as well.

Susan was able to complete a small tapestry and even mount it for display.

A few design exercises were  presented and several people worked with those in addition to their weaving:

Nancy had a couple of larger cartoons she was preparing for tapestries. She was able to pin up her papers to the wall in the room next door since there wasn't another class there during that week.

And we were also able to use the opposite side of that room to have an informal show and tell of work from students a few had brought with them. There were a few digital images by others the next day.

Allie demonstrated a couple of techniques during the week:

But, sadly the final day was there at last. Everyone got packed up and ready to go for the closing ceremony but before we left the room we sat around and talked about this and that of tapestry. So many questions, so little time!  Here's the great group that took the last Folk School adventure with me (minus one who had to leave early):

At the closing ceremony our tapestry week's work spread out before us to be admired by one and all. Allie Dudley, thank you very much for being such a great assistant! Thank you to all of those who came to share five days at John C. Campbell Folk School with me. You helped to make my last teaching experience there an outstanding one. I'll see you again in the future, I'm sure. Happy tapestry weaving to one and all.