This year we decided to add a few new classes to our list, two of which fall a little outside of the our normal realm of Southwestern-style tapestry weaving. Structure, The Southwestern Way is one of these classes. I just taught it for the first time a little over a week ago and, I must say, it was a huge success!
Honestly, I was a little nervous before class started (like the-first-day-of-school-excited kind of nervous). I knew how I wanted the students feel by the end of class (pure excitement about the possibilities of simple weaving techniques, coupled with the confidence and knowledge to go out and create their own “patterns” and designs) and I had a slew of potential samples for them to weave up. But, as it was my first time teaching this, I really wasn’t sure how it would all go.
By the end of the first day, I could tell that everyone was having a great time and that they were all learning a lot… even though we stayed with exploring weft-faced weaving, which most of the students had done before. By incorporating new weights of yarn and simple treadling techniques, we were able to explore an array of potential projects that included ways to switch from weaving fine tapestries to heavy rugs, without ever needing to re-warp the loom!
We played around with a few more weft-faced techniques on the morning of the second day. During lunch, I started tying on new, colorful warps, so we could explore balanced-weaves. Using the same yarns and treadling techniques from the first day, the students were now able to see the vast potential of design, by simply adjusting a few little things (for example, weft/warp type and how heavy you pack your weaving).
Through I had intentions of introducing warp-faced techniques on the third day, I could tell the students were already nearing information overload (this may evolve into a two-part class). So, we continued on with balanced-weaves (a huge world in its self) and finished day three with a little talk about finishing techniques.
Each student left with two samplers (knowledge) and the confidence to start exploring new techniques and design on their own. Most of them also walked away with bags full of new yarns to try out at home (excitement). My hopes for the class were fulfilled!