Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Honing Skills

catching the shuttle - thumb is used as a 'brake' to prevent the bobbin from feeding off too much yarn

preparing to throw the shuttle - index finger has moved to the point of the shuttle to propel it through the shed

Today I got an email from someone who found my You Tube channel and watched the video clip on throwing the shuttle:

Selvedges have really been my bug a boo. Yesterday I was getting so frustrated that I was ready to scream.

I got online and googled and ended up at your video. All I can say is thank you! I went back to the loom and practiced keeping my hands off the edges and just throwing the shuttle and keeping it above the beater bar and away from my body. What a difference!

It really warms my heart to get messages like this.  I truly hate to see people struggling with the techniques of the craft.  Most often they don't even know there might be a 'better' way than what they are doing.  When you are self-taught, you do the best you can, not knowing any different.

Recently I saw someone demonstrating weaving.  She was obviously a very talented weaver from the work on display but....she was sitting way too low.  I wanted so badly to go over to her and explain that she needed to have her bench higher so that she didn't have to hunch her shoulders in order to throw the shuttle.

But - and this is a big but - I have done this before and been rebuffed.  Some people have actually gotten angry about my trying to help them.  :(

And so I think long and hard now about trying to offer my help to others.  Much better to just post videos to the internet and blog.  That way people who want to know more can hopefully find what they need and I'm not offending someone who doesn't realize that what they are doing is going to be harmful to them down the road and risk offending them by offering to help.

The benefits to working more efficiently are that you get more done with less effort, you do less harm to your body (which will come back to haunt you as you get older - ask me how I know!) and ultimately the quality of your textiles will be enhanced as you work more consistently.

I am really happy to be doing more workshops about issues of efficiency.  When I first started beating my drum about working more efficiently/ergonomically there was a certain level of hositility from some people.  Ultimately it is up to each person to decide if they are happy with their results and whether or not they feel the need to change. 

The next opportunity for people to take a really indepth workshop is at John C. Campbel Folk School in NC in March next year.  The class is starting to fill - and it's a great environment - a real creative retreat.  I'll also be doing a shorter version for the Sarasota guild in Florida, just prior to JCC.  Then in 2013 I've been contracted (again) to do a short version for NEWS.

And of course, people can come here to my studio for a 3-5 day weaving camp experience.  Maybe during the Cold Snap Music Festival in February?  ;^)


Meara said...

Where can we find a list of all your instructional YouTube videos? I'd love to take a look at them all.


Laura said...


Click on the 'see all' link under the 3rd photo - there are a few there.


Rhonda from Baddeck said...

If you can find a way to get to John C. Campbell Folk School to take Laura's class - DO IT! The whole environment is wonderful, the weaving studio is big, bright and beautiful. You'll learn some REALLY neat tricks and weave more than you thought possible. I raised my weaving bench to its highest position and it really made a difference. And my new shuttle-throwing skill is like magic.