Thoughts on Teaching Tapestry
As some of you know I have been working on a class through CraftArtsEdu for quite some time now. The first part, taking all the photos while weaving the piece, was a lot of fun (of course I did that with Elena, so how could it not be fun!). Now I am on my own doing the voice over. Yes, I will get to done before all of your kits are layered with dust. I just found out that two days of voice overs sound like I am talking inside a ball of fuzz. I fought with my microphone and adjustments for hours only to finally get the bright idea that maybe it wasn’t on my end. Sure enough, I think hurricane Sandy wreck havoc on the servers that are hosting this class. So two day’s of voice overs were lost. Yuck. They are really hard to do. But all is not lost because in the meanwhile I had the lovely opportunity to teach a private workshop to a lovely woman named Amy. And of the things I realized while I was teaching her is that I need to incorporate that kind of teaching style in to the voice overs. Now granted, I am still warping the loom in the voice overs and there is no way to give that too much exciting color. So I was glad I taught Amy before I got into the weaving part of the class. Now I am so excited to get back to it if only those servers would behave. Things do seem to always happen for a reason.
Back to Amy. I love one-on-one teaching. I can sit next to the student and watch and comment the entire time. It eliminates frustration because I am right there to trouble shoot or make a joke I kind of knew right away that Amy was going to be a quick study. I always ask people what other crafts, hobbies, etc. they’ve done in the past. Amy was a quilter using a huge quilting sewing machine and was also interested in carpentry (I found out later that she and her husband did all the finish work in their new home) and that she works as a computer programmer. When you put all three together and can imagine the frustration levels possible in each, I knew that Amy would find warping the loom easy. I didn’t know how she would take to the actual weaving.
Warping flew by. I think there was one mistake and I think I made it! Easily fixed and a good trouble shooting lesson. One of the heddles was not completely looped on. Amy was the personification of calm.
I didn’t know how much time I had with her. I knew she was going home with a loom with part of a weaving on it, but in a relatively short amount of time I had to give her enough knowledge that she could go home (with a book as well) and have fun weaving. She used the Small tapestry purse kit and will be making a purse, but not the one in the kit. At first I thought I might incorporate the sample from the CraftArtsEdu class but then I realized we would never get past just a tiny handful of techniques. I finally decided that we would just go for the advanced techniques first and if she could survive them, she could use the book to figure out the more basic techniques. She was all for it. Amy just wanted to play!
I taught Amy the concept of weaving in opposite directions as well as weaving with eccentric wefts. With these two skills you can basically build any shape and do some really serious shading. Amy learned how to add and remove colors and how to keep a bunch of them traveling in the correct direction and in the correct relationship with one another.
Two hours of weaving produced a piece an inch to an inch and half long in spots and five inches wide. Doesn’t seem like a lot, but there was a lot of learning packed into that little piece. Note how perfect the selvedges are! I imagine Amy will continue in these same vein for the next fourteen inches and have a stunning piece when she is done. Her husband (who bought this lesson and loom for her birthday) expects her to make “pictures” almost immediately and I expect she very well could!
That’s nine wefts in a space five inches wide. That’s a lot to keep track of.
Proud owner of New Mirrix Loom with beginning tapestry.