Around this time, my friend Brittany McLaughlin launched her online course, The Weaving Workshop, through her company Rose Valley Textiles. Brittany and I were both textile design students in the 90s at Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science (now Philadelphia University). We both had had jobs in the textile industry after college, but like many designers in the industry, those jobs mostly shipped overseas and we found ourselves switching gears.
So when she asked if I would be interested in participating in her first ever online class, Ground, Path, Fruition, I jumped at the chance!
The online course begins with putting a warp on, and experimenting with basic 4 harness structures. I can't remember the last time I'd done anything besides plain weave, it was so fun to be setting my loom up to weave a crowfoot and a twill again. In addition to playing with structure, we were also encouraged to play with a variety materials.
The second part of the course was taking images of texture that we'd compiled on a Pinterest board earlier, and using those images as a starting point to interpret them into woven cloth. I decided to use only my own images, that I'd taken during my travels. Here are some examples of my swatch side by side with the inspiration.
This photograph was from a rocky beach in Maine.
This image was a landscape in Monument Valley from our October 2012 trip.
You can see all my samples over on Pinterest.
The final part of the class was making a book from all the materials in the class. Personally, as someone who makes books, I loved that this project connected those skills also. Also appropriate for me since the first bookbinding workshop I ever did was part of my first handweaving class in college.
It was liberating to weave, and not be thinking about price point or who would buy this. No one even had to see it except for me. This class was the perfect antidote for feeling creatively blocked and the added surprise was how it perfectly combined many different parts of my life; my love for weaving, bookbinding and traveling.
Throughout the course, Brittany didn't focus on technical details, but more on the meditative quality of weaving, which was so refreshing.
If you're a weaver looking for some creative direction, I highly recommend checking out Brittany's class. I was so inspired by it, I promptly put on a new warp, this time threaded for 8 harnesses.