Tuesday, August 30, 2011

If You Could Choose....

I'd love to say that I've been away, been enjoying house guests  but the truth of it is, we have been dealing with water woes and how to resolve issues with the coming in of it, and the going out of it from the house. Also conscious of the dwindling summer and time to effect a solution!
 All solutions are expensive  of course...

Me, in approx 2004, eagerly heading into a workshop with my table loom all prepped! I was caught  being 'creative'  by friend Gudie Hupfauer.

So to that end I have been thinking of teaching but, 'true confession' time: the idea of standing at the front of a class of students terrifies me! What I would be able to do comfortably is teach one on one here at my home.
I could show the student how to do project planning, wind a warp and beam it B2F on the Louet  (either floor loom or table loom) and guide them through some of the basics such as reading a draft, choosing appropriate yarns. Later we can do finishing  and they can take their work home as  a purposeful cloth such as a scarf or tea towel or table runner.  

So that is how I envision the overall goals but as they say, the devil is in the details! Since I'm brand new to this I would like to ask 'You' that if you could be the student or teacher in this situation, what would you like to see in place?

  • how long would the class session be? 2 hours, 4 hours?
  • how many days or weeks?
  • day time? evening? or weekend?
  • ...and what to charge for my time, equipment and yarn?
I think by the time a student has finished a project they will have a much better understanding if weaving is for them or not.

  • What would you add to the list? What would you like to see included if you were the student or the teacher?
Years ago I had a weaving teacher tell me that I would not be weaving anything of merit for at least the first year and hopefully, I proved her wrong! Now I'd like to help someone learn to weave and get off to a great start. I'm looking forward to your comments or you can email me directly to weeverwoman@yahoo.com


Acorn to Oak said...

Those are tough questions to answer. I just know that if I lived near a weaver like you, I'd love to take some classes to improve my weaving knowledge and skills. Myself, I'd like a private lesson or very small classes of no more than two or three. I feel I get more from that than a large class and that students progress faster. If it's more than one in the class, I think it should be cheaper than a private lesson. I think I would prefer a four hour class because there is so much to do to get the loom warped, etc. and time goes quickly. Once in a class, I think a couple days a week would be good because it would be hard to wait a whole week before the next class...I'd be excited! Unless, I were able to learn enough in the one session to go home and do it on my own...definitely not possible for a first time weaver though. Cost? Wow...I have no idea on that one either. People have asked me for basic lessons and I never know how much to charge and I've ended up doing it for free . But, I usually end up selling some roving or something. That's nice. And, it's fun. But, I have no idea what the going rate would be. Good luck. Can't wait to hear how it goes.

dorothylochmaben said...

Wow I'm impressed !! Well done.
I hope you will get some really positive comments as a result of this post.
Come on folks, what a huge opportunity to be taught by Susan ! I would give my eye teeth to be close enough to spend even one day with her. I know her enthusiasm is infectious as I have caught the bug from her all the way across here in Scotland and I have learnt such a lot.
Don't be afraid to ask, Susan absolutely loves beginners !!

ladyoftheloom said...

I agree Dorothy! When I first started weaving a few years ago I think Susan's blog was one of the most informative.

My into to weaving was "Learn to Weave in a Week" class offered in a group setting by one teacher at the local "hand worksop" space. I learned on a floor loom. There were too many people in the group class of beginners. So I think maximum 3 students at one time. I do think I learn from others and my/their mistakes as well as the instructions given.

I agree with Acorn to Oak in that meeting several times a week is best for a beginner. I did have the advantage of having a loom at home so I went home and repeated the class lesson with my own equipment and that reinforced all of the learning.

Although I never took private lessons from Cherri, she had a private studio space where you could rent a loom for a month for $150 and come to weave as often as you liked but she was only there during certain times for instruction, the rest of the time she was weaving.

Good luck Susan!

Stefanie Roché said...

I'd take a lesson!
Thinking back as a total, total beginner I was too impatient. I wanted to weave already, not spend hours and hours warping. With that in mind maybe have an open "trial" evening, where you speak about weaving in general and people can throw a shuttle a little bit and see if they like it.
Then I'd probably make it two sessions... 2-3hrs each. One warping and starting to weave, one weaving and finishing. Would just take a tiny enough project to get it all done.

barbara said...

I think it is a wonderful idea to do one-on-one teaching. I always thought it would be nice to let a new student actually weave a tea towel, to see if they find the process of actually weaving enjoyable. I have had friends who have woven a tea towel and loved the process, and wanted to learn more. I have had friends who wove a tea towel and said "that's enough weaving for my life time".

If the person has travelled a great distance, and doing a mini course in 2 - 3 days they would be prepared to weave and learn as many hours a day as possible. If the person is not far from you and getting to your studio is not an issue, and depending on their life circumstances, they might be interested in one or two sessions a week.

Regarding what you would charge, what is your time worth? Wear and tear on the equipment and costs of fiber would have to take into consideration. Would a person be willing to pay $200 for a six hour teaching session/day????

Also, you have to take into consideration how long you want a loom "tied up" by a student weaver.

That's about what I can think of for now, good luck if you continue down this path. Some weavers do this type of training in their home studio. Also if you are expecting students flying in, is your place reasonably accessible from the airport? Accommodations near by?

Weaverly yours ..... Barbara

Linda said...

Wow, indeed! I think there are many who would jump at the opportunity to spend time with you to learn weaving. Because you're in your home and preferring a 1:1 experience, I think a lot of these questions you can put forth and tailor to each person's needs. Take a look at classes offered at some of the well-known places (John Campbell, The Mannings,Vavstuga) and see what people are spending....don't sell yourself short!! There are advantages to taking classes with a group...most significantly is the time saved in immediately being able to see what variants of your weaving would produce through others' work. But that's well offset by the advantage of having the undivided (or lesser divided, if teaching just a few) attention of the 1:1 or small class setting.

See what each person wants, and tailor it from there. I think you're heading down a rewarding road. You already do this...only via your blog and letters and online forums...and it's obvious that you do this well! I think you'll find yourself very busy in short order!

My best wishes go out to you with this endeavor, Susan! I think there are many who will be thrilled to learn from you! I wish I lived closer!!

Susan said...

Thank you so much for all this helpful advise! I have also received some emails that are equally helpful.

So far it seems that the best way to do this is one on one (preferred) or two students maximum. Three would be too many as I have a floor loom plus a table loom that could be used. (The big loom is for my projects!) Hub is talking of picking up a used 36" 4 shaft loom for beginners visiting here as well. I think I have room to squeeze one more in!

I would be able to talk with the student and find out their goals and tailor their instruction to that end, making sure that basics are covered. Time? well 4-6 hours at a stretch seems good as they have time to actually get a particular task done and be ready to do the next.

I like the additional idea of renting time on a floor loom and being 'on call' for help.

Costs would be my time, materials and this is still being determined.

I do have a guest bedroom so a student could come for a weekend and stay overnight, but I think I will focus on local regional students for now.

You know, I think this might work! I might even have my first student as well. :)

Please keep the ideas coming as its is very helpful !


Susan said...

This comment is from Charlene (via email and reproduced with her permission):

About learning weaving

I am responding to the question on your blog today.
I have been weaving for 2 years and have thought a great deal about learning to weave. It is more important to me to be a good weaver - good skills and lovely fabric, correct sett for the purpose as well as lovely selvages and beat - there is a weft faced tencel scarf that was supposed to be a Bronson Lace I do believe. So my path has had its twists and turns.
I was lucky enough to take a learn to weave class at a regional weavers conference (NEWS). In three days we wound a predesigned warp (teacher designed) It was multi color(5) I do believe and the number sequence was Fibonacci. We then dressed the looms and wove the scarf - each got to choose the color of weft we wanted. Before we started weaving we had to pick a novelty yarn to add to the scarf and inserted it to learn how to fix a broken warp thread. The design here was great - everyone picked a different novelty yarn and place for it - as well as different wefts - some even did plaid. Everyone finished and we even twisted the fringes.
Next I attended a 9 week weaving class at a craft center. In 9 weeks I did 6 projects 3 small color gamps, a kitchen towel (twill) a kitchen towel and rug (log cabin) and the biggest was 6 napkins. The class was 3 hours one day a week, but when the building was open we could go and weave and work on our own. I was there a lot and tried to throw the shuttle on my own and be there putting on a warp when there was someone to help me.
I took to heart advice that I stick to short warps early on to get confidence dressing the loom. It was also encouraging to have things to see and have finished. But it was great that I could do all of this before I bought a loom.
I would encourage your students to go to Weavezine and listen to the pod casts of the weavers - I did that early on and then you feel initiated in the world of weaving.
To date I have kept track of my projects etc and am over 70(some were samples to try new fibers or do a sample of a new weave type). I believe in a good foundation and am still not convinced that the way to go is with the longest warp possible (to avoid having to do the set up work). I think that when you are new you are more likely to beam badly and have a problem or make a color or fiber decision that is not wise and then you are stuck with all the work and expense and it can paralyze you from cutting it off or weaving.
Just my 2 cents!
Thanks for asking.


Yes, feel free to use what you think would be helpful in the comments of your blog.

I know some feel the warping is the spinach part of weaving, but it is also the fun part - designing and deciding what the fabric will be, I also like looking at the draft books to see what threading can work for multiple things in cloth. So while dressing the loom can be stressful (it is so important to good cloth) it is also intellectually interesting.


Charlene makes some very good points for all us 'teacher types' to take note of! I thought all of it was important...
Thank for sharing!

Bruce said...

I'm really happy that you've decided to 'take the plunge' into teaching. I can say from many years of personal experience that you're quite good at it! You have a unique weaving talent that's enhanced by your attention to detail and your patience with anyone who demonstrates a willingness to learn.

You'll do very well in this new endeavor, and you know you have my support and the support of everyone in the weaving community that you belong to.

It's must like "riding a bike" ... once you take your first solo, you're off to the races.

Ever yours....Hub.

Rosalie Williams said...

Teaching your first session can certainly be intimidating. To keep things in perspective, try not to teach everything you know in one go. This means setting some specific and achieveable goals for your learners with time and skill constraints in mind. When teaching one to one, you can adapt the goals as necessary. But when teaching a group of any size, it's harder to adapt midstream. If you advertise a group session, state clearly the objectives of the session and the format. (I once attended a workshop exploring a weave structure which spent more than one third of the time on how to draft for beginners. If I had known that ahead of time, I wouldn't have wasted my time and money.)
Although we start weving by preparing a loom, I've found it very useful to have looms previously warped for brand new beginners and have them dive in with the rhythm of weaving right at the start. Only after they "get it" and see what some of the equipment does, can they relate to the need for correct threading and warp tension, etc. Then the process of measuring a warp and threading it makes so much more sense.
Having said this, I've found that every group/student responds differently (and has different standards/goals). So I permit myself to go with the flow. After all, as a teacher/facilitator you can spread the joy of weaving and not necessarily have to produce a Master Weaver in a weekend! Best of luck. Hope you enjoy this experience.