Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Textures and teaching - fiber arts classes

I am a texture person. I judge things by how they feel. I was asked yesterday why I don't like to wash fleece. "It feels icky," was my honest reply. Wet, dirty, loose fleece clings to your hands in a way I do not enjoy. Once it is spun into yarn, woven into a rug or otherwise structured, it is easy and enjoyable to wash.

The last skeins of this year's Thyme
wool and Fantasia mohair yarn.
When I shear a sheep or goat, I grade the fleece by touch into a spinning or a rug fleece. I write my choice on the bag, along with the shearing date and who grew the fleece.

Spinning fleeces feel so good on my hands that I want to touch them for the 20-30 hours it takes to spin up a full fleece. Rug fleeces are pretty enough to make wonderful rugs, and I'll enjoy their unique texture for the time it takes me to weave them into a rug. Some very nice spinning fleeces end up as very, very nice rugs, because I just don't have time to spin all the fleeces that I'd like to.

Because I am so kinesthetic, I learn by doing. When teaching, I sometimes find it challenging to work with students who need verbal explanations. I work hard to find the words to use to communicate my actions. I write up hand outs and test teaching techniques on friends. It seems to work, my students come back and take more classes and many of you have become friends.

Right now I'm putting together my fiber arts classes for this season at the Ozark Folk Center. I've got a locker hooking class set up and am considering Rigid Heddle weaving, needle felting, Triloom weaving. These fiber classes are in addition to my spring greens cooking class and the cheesemaking class. I'm also considering coordinating a fiber arts retreat, similar to the Ozark Quilt Retreat.

What fiber classes would you like to take this year?
And do you have a clever name for an Ozark Fiber Arts Retreat?

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