And so it begins.
This will be my first time teaching level four so I printed out the file the college sent and am now going through it to see what all is necessary, both in terms of my bringing appropriate teaching aids and a group warp. For level one and two, the instructor sets up a group warp for the class to use in turn, and I need to find out what the level four group warp entails.
However this morning I woke up with an eye-watering muscle spasm between spine and shoulder blade. Pain killers are barely making a dent in the pain and I doubt I'm going to be able to weave so paging through the manual seems like a mighty fine idea.
The more I teach this program, the more I appreciate what the course designers have built into it. I remember filling out a very lengthy questionnaire when they were first working on it and of course I stuck my oar in about wet finishing. It was years later when I applied for and was accepted to teach the program and was very pleased when I read through the manuals to see what all had been included.
Level one begins with wool as the yarn, plain weave, basket, and twill as the main focus. (Other variations are included but they all build on those initial weave structures.)
Level two works with cotton, twill, overshot and double weave.
Level three addresses unit weaves and expands to linen and silk.
Level four has a focus mainly on colour and design.
In addition to all that, exercises push students to explore other aspects of weaving, especially in terms of communication - so written work, documentation, photography, and in level four building a portfolio.
There is much, much more - these are just a taste of what is included.
Students sometimes don't understand that all the exercises, yes, even the paper weaving, have been included for very specific instructional reasons. They all, even the photography, are there to further the students in learning about the broader aspect of being a weaver - in the broadest context - in the 21st century.
It is also a program that is pushing people to learn the basics, yes, but also the principles of the craft. The sorts of things that rarely get addressed in a seminar or a two day workshop, because there simply isn't time.
Level one also addresses ergonomics. Me being me, I love this part of the class because I get to tell people in depth about how to protect their body from repetitive stress injuries as best they can. I love digging into things like how density affects the finished cloth, and the wet finishing.
This year I am teaching level four and two in Cape Breton and level one at Olds College Fibre Week. Even if someone isn't interested in taking the entire program, I would like to encourage people to at least take level one. It is the foundation upon which the rest sits.
If someone can't take the class, then I recommend Jane Stafford's on line guild.
If you sign up now, you get all the previous lessons as well as joining the current content. Jane and I do some things differently, we have had different experiences and different teachers. But she will give good information and I suggest that if you want a good solid foundation of weaving knowledge you won't go wrong taking her on line classes. Some of the things she does may resonate better than what I do. Choose your expert. Learn enough to become your own expert.
Someone asked me if I was going to teach on line now that I'm retired. The answer is no. Jane is doing a fabulous job and there is no need for me to join in with one. If someone wants to learn from me there are resources - my books, the DVDs I did for Interweave which are now available from Long Threads Media as on line 'workshops' and my humble attempt at short video clips on You Tube.
Or Olds College. This year in Cape Breton for level four and two, or level one at Olds Fibre Week.