Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A Wonderful Weekend

Last Friday my weavers guild an I all went on a retreat together. We packed our cars with looms and spinning wheels, baskets of yarn, knitting needles and over night bags for a three day stay, and headed north two hours. It was wonderful! Everything except the weather was beautiful, but who cares too much about on and off agin rain and hail when you have a stone fireplace to sit beside while knitting or spinning? The lake was wide and peaceful. The trees were deep and silent. There was the smell of woodsmoke in the still, chill air and the echo of voices and movement wafting gently up around the high rafters of the lodge ceiling. There was a lot of natural light in the lodge for working in because one wall was nearly all windows. The grounds had a distinctly  good old summer camp feel of the best in summer camp traditions from the 1930's: small cabins, swim floats at anchor in a cove, small boats pulled up on shore, winding woodland paths, a gathering place for a large campfire. Inside the lodge was a large stone fireplace. It was ideal.

There is so much talent, so much skill in this wool group! It's overwhelming! They have been spinning and weaving for years. I find them all so inspiring and they are all very helpful.

I enjoyed all the looms in action, but it's not a style of weaving I feel is for me. I have tried it and tapestry makes me feel closer to the fiber I am handling. Here, Jan works away at her loom on a scarf as part of a guild challenge using specific fiber such as tensel. I am not sure I spelled that right.

Such simplicity, yet such beauty. This I thought was a lovely wheel.

Lots of visiting and sharing of information and inspiration took place. Shirley on the left is a master weaver who is retired from the university she taught weaving at. Many at the guild learn all they can from her still.

Lillian at her wheel. Notice the sweater she is wearing. In person you would see it has many cables and braids running vertical and horizontally. Its beautiful much like a lot of her other work in knitting, weaving and spinning. She came to the USA from Norway as a young woman. I have always felt the scandinavians are excellent textile artists due to their beautiful traditions in wool.

Anna with two thirds of the lodge in the background. Down there at the far end you can see my wheel near where I was working at my loom.

Anna at her wheel

Meant to be religious in theme, the hand carved wall art was very fitting for a wool group's retreat. I loved them.

Exactly how I feel about sheep.

Look! I made this loom designed by a weaving master. I have added weft. I am weaving and it really feels and looks like a blanket or something. Really I am just making a kind of sampler to begin learning some of the techniques.

My friend and tapestry weaving mentor, Gail. She is talented, skilled, a good teacher and hugely generous. Thank you SO much Gail!

It's going to be beautiful; her own interpretation of trees. You know tapestry. It can be wall art, or large Navajo style blankets. They are done the same way and its an old art.

Picking the warp to weave in the weft is done with small wooded picks or fingers, then packed together with a comb-like tool. The beauty of tapestry is that small bits can be woven together into a whole piece thus letting the weaver work great detail, blending and interlocking. It's an ancient technique practiced the world over through time right up to the present.

Its working and I love it. The beauty of a simple tool. I admire the way the Navajo and other indigenous groups used what they had on hand to create beauty. My PVC pipe loom has very few limitations except size. But I have seen works of art woven on larger versions of the same PVC loom. One member of our group taught me how to make it and her work on her pipe loom travels the country to gallery showings. I have a long way to go before I can make beauty, but the techniques are fascinating me for now.

What I've learned so far. Basic weaving, dovetail joins and a slit join. I'm hooked.
Around the grounds during a break in the weather. Swimming anyone? How about a row or a sail?

The lake, with a beach for walking.

Lots of rocking chairs set around for sitting or for just sitting and being present in the moment. Such peace.

A small footbridge across little ravine to the original cabin. It was built by hand in the later 1900's by the family that once lived in it. They were missionaries to the local natives. The Father had a mission circuit which he traveled to reach the surrounding native groups. The family descendants donated their homestead in later years and it became the summer camp.

The original cabin again from the side.

A good, sturdy door on the original cabin, deeply satisfying to open and close. It swung easily on those massive hinges and the sound of the latch dropping into place was the very voice of good craftsmanship, security and simplicity of life.

I pushed these two beds together to show you, every bed at the camp and had a hand made quilt on it. They have been donated over the years by quilting groups on retreat. The textile lover in me appreciated all the colors and design.

This one leads to the lakeside. Many smaller ones branch off into the woods inviting you for walks and hikes.

A beautiful little window at the back of the original cabin.

The main lodge, built in the 1930's, but given a face lift on the outside. 

Come, sit, feel the peace. . .

and contemplate the lake through the trees. It was a wonderful weekend.

1 comment:

  1. After the last few days of work and looking at these photos . . . well you know how life is on the edge at times! Bliss, I just love all the wool, wood, and relaxing that went on there! Oh such joy in the simple pleasures of life.

    I am especially glad you got to take part in this event! Others will never know how special it was for you after the years on the edge!