Saturday, November 2, 2013

SOAR and More

SOAR  is over. I’ve been home for nearly a week. Most of my catch-up chores are now done. My head is still spinning with memories. (“spinning”? Really? Did I really write that?)

I roomed with the delightful Loyce Erickson. She lives in western Oregon where she creates wonderful felted art and felted clothing. We got along fabulously (I was happy to gush over loads of pictures of her new puppy). She works with wool, of course. But she also incorporates silk into her felting. She generously gifted me with some silk hankies that she’d dyed black (!) and a sweet pink and grey silk-wool felted scarf.

My workshop and retreat sessions were great fun. I saw many old faces (I mean: they were folks I’d met before), and many new faces (new to me!). There were folks who’d just begun spinning (less than a couple months), and folks who’d been spinning for innumerable years. It was delightful to meet some who’d attended more than 25 of the 31 years of SOAR. I do love the variety of people: different tastes, different enthusiasms, different experiences, different cultures, different ages. Yes!

SOAR is not only a wonderful place for teaching and learning, but for having surprise conversations. At each meal, I tried to sit at a table with at least a few folks that I’d not yet met. Fascinating conversations ensued. Same thing at some of the social gatherings (mentor meeting, vendor meet-and-greet, fashion show, evening spin-ins): conversations went in all directions. I wish I could remember every single word. At least I remember some.

In no particular order:

Teri Drouin-Guerette. She’d taken my workshop last year, and this year she was in my silk hankies retreat session. We got to chat about fiber events and teaching spinning. She gifted me some lovely stitch markers. Thanks Teri.

Deb Menz. She was in my silk hankies retreat session. Now, Deb is a renowned color expert. I was so excited to tell her that I am proud to be a “color dunce”. That sounds so confrontational, but she took it for what it was: a silly little moment.

John Mullarkey. A pleasant young man who does remarkable tablet weaving. He also has done some intriguing work with pin looms. In fact, he help Schacht Spindle Co update the pin loom for their new Zoom Loom. John also had a retreat session dedicated to silk hankies. Where I was teaching how to spin them, he was teaching how to weave on a pin loom with them. His students made adorable silk flowers.

Gayle Vallance. Another SOAR mentor, Gayle is from British Columbia, and she knows her bast fibers! We had chats about flax, hemp and cotton. She inspired me to spend more time with these fibers. I look forward to those adventures!

Andrea Mielke Shroer. Andrea’s workshop room was right next to mine. So, I got to peek in on her regularly. She focused on using Corriedale wool. We had chats about variations within the breed, where to get good Corri wool. In one of her classes she had the most beautiful raw fleece spread out in the middle of the room. A delight to see and smell. I also got bits of advice from her about using a tahkli spindle.

Patsy Zawistoski. We sat next to each other during the final night’s “farewell” gathering. And we shared some wine. We talked about travels, great wheels, flax, tahklis, wine, knitting, and undoing knitting.

Carol Desrochers. Carol roomed with my sister, Meg, when they were in school at the University of Michigan. It was great to catch up with her at SOAR. The last time I’d seen her was at the Michigan Fiber Festival in 2004. I’m hoping that I see her more often!

Robin Russo. Robin is a wiz. I took her 3-day silk workshop several years ago at Convergence. It was a marvelous and memorable experience. Our paths cross every now and then, and we usually get in a word or two about silk. This time, we happened to be in a vendor booth together. I was fondling a silk form that I’d not seen before: a silk “lap”. I grilled Robin on it’s properties. As always, she was kind, generous, and informative.

Marilyn Wright. Marilyn is from the UK. I met her last year at SOAR. It was a pleasure to see her again. This year she taught short workshops in blackfoot spindles and spinning. In one of our chats, she gave me the background of this intriguing spindle. She wrote an article for Spin-Off, Summer 2013. I am smitten with this spindle. I must get one! (The Woolery sells them.)

D.Y. Begay D.Y. taught classes on Navajo spinning. I enjoyed meeting her and chatting about the southwest. It’s been a very long time since I lived in Arizona.

Chris Pappas. Oh, wow. Did you read her article in the Fall issue of PLY magazine? It was great! We sat next to each other at lunch one day. I had no idea who she was. After a few exchanges we started talking about academia, and her work as an archeologist, specializing in textiles. Then someone mentioned PLY. I got very excited. I told her I thought her article was the best piece in the magazine. A few days later, she said I had the best haircut of anyone at SOAR. Funny.

Kate Larson.  We didn’t get much of a chance to chat. Too bad; Kate is a delight. But I did get to see some of the work that her students had done in her workshop on spinning for Norwegian mittens. Fabulous detail. I want to make some! Really. I do. And I will. And I’m now more interested in spinning 3- and 4-ply yarns.

Lynda Walker. I met Lynda last year at SOAR. We just hit it off. This year she bought me drinks on Friday night. We chatted and chatted and chatted about dance, peanut butter, and other important topics. And we laughed a lot!

Anita Osterhaug. Anita is the editor of Handwoven magazine and Weaving Today . She has been given the task of guiding a conversation and gathering thoughts about the future of an Interweave spinning event. We sat next to each other one night and I commended her for taking on such a daunting task. Many folks do not like change, so Anita has a lot of persuading to do. I will be hoping for the very best for her and for whatever spinning event evolves from SOAR.

I regret that I had other conversations that were equally touching, inspiring, and surprising, but I don’t remember everyone’s names. I’m bad that way.

I drove home last Sunday. As much as I love teaching, I also love going home. As my car gets closer to Lake Ann, I grow calmer. I was pleasantly surprised at how much autumn color still lingered. The blazing colors of maple are past, but the oaks are now coming into their own. I will now get some time to relish northern Michigan late fall, do some cool weather cooking, and work on fiber projects. Maybe work on my tahkli and Navajo spinning. And play with my looms. And rug hook. And spin. And knit.

Life is good.

No comments:

Post a Comment