47 amazing classes and the best demonstration schedule we’ve ever had…classes are now open for registration! Won’t you join us at the beach and celebrate your wooly passions!
New for 2013…Gary, Bill and David will be hosting a spinning wheel clinic on Saturday and Sunday…broken part? question? spare parts? Bring your wheel and for a fair fee these wonderful men will try and cure what ails it!
Happy New Year Everyone! Emma’s been holding down the fort while Astrig’s been playing in Southern Spain and Morocco…but we’re all settled back in and we’ve just launched the call for instructors. If you’d like a copy of the application just go to http://www.regonline.com/fibercollegeteacher2013 If you’re headed to SPA in Freeport on February 3rd, join us at the Champagne party…we’ll be looking for you!
We’ve never done it before! We have a few opening for classes that have been paid for but a couple of attendees have had life get in their way…so we want to make lemonade out of lemons. Write a comment to the blog and tell us about your fiber passion and the classes you’d take if money is no object…on Wednesday we’ll contact you if we can give you a free class…and our fingers are crossed for everyone! Please spread the word to every fiber enthusiast that you know we’d love for everyone to attend.
It’s fair to say that I was intimidated at the thought of calling Dr. Taimina on the phone. First of all, she was recommended by the very intelligent Sarah Kahn who spoke respectfully of Daina’s books and lectures; Then I did a Google search and read further accolades. I convinced myself that there was no way I could simply contact a mathematician of this stature and actually have a conversation. So I hedged my bets and sent a timid e-mail. Boy did I learn a lesson about bogey men in the closet, I let my imagination create fear. Daina is charming, talkative, friendly and oh so very approachable…I feel as though I already know her and look forward to meeting her next week. Did you know she was featured in a TED talk?
We asked her to answer our interview questions and this is what she said…I love that she’s happiest when she’s learning…me too;)
When I was 16 I thought…That in year 2000 I will be very old – already 46!
My favorite time of the day is…morning – full of hope that there is a whole day ahead to do so many things.
Proudest career moment…In January 2012 I received the Euler Book prize for “Crocheting Adventures with the Hyperbolic Planes”
The song/book/movie that changed my life…The Wren by Resat Nuri Guntekin – after reading it when I was 14 I knew I will be a teacher.
Guiltiest pleasure…good chocolate – dark and bitter
My favorite item of clothing…jeans
I still get nervous when…I start teaching a new class and do not know what the audience will be
Daily practice…cooking – my husband says it is my meditation time.
The art tool I couldn’t live without…does knitting needles count? But I still my watercolor brushes in sight in hope that one day I will get away from crochet hook and will paint again.
Words I live by…I can do it
What makes me happy…is learning. There are so many things I do not know! I am also happy to meet so any interesting and nice people through my crocheting.
The lesson I keep learning…I have trouble answering this – I guess there are lessons I will never learn.
You can never have too many…friends
Favorite spot on the planet…Sicily – Mount Etna.
Whole living means…to live every day like it your last one. I like how Ray Bradbury said – every day we have to jump from a cliff and grow wings while falling.
Dyeing fiber can be super casual or super duper scientific. One can spill
Kool-aid on their shirt with wonderful results, or one can earn a Master of
Science in Textile Chemistry, also with wonderful results. The Kool-aid is
relatively less expensive.
on September 8 & 9 for a super casual version of dyeing. Here’s how it’ll go
down: Show up at the Drop in and Dye Tent during the Shopper’s Boulevard hours
(Sat 10:00 – 5:30, Sun 10:00 – 3:00), and bring with you a ‘don’t be scared’
attitude and maybe some unloved natural fiber stash from home. She’ll have
various yarns for sale if you already love your stash as-is.
Reactive’ dyes for plant fibers (cotton, linen, bamboo, hemp, rayon) and
‘WashFast Acid’ dyes for animal fibers (wool, silk, dog, angora, cashmere,
llama). There will be a simple set up and easy to follow directions so one can
get their feet wet, so to speak. And Ellen will be there to answer questions
and cheer you on. All dyes and dye assists will be in liquid form for ease and
Ellen Mason is grounded, practical, talented and so attractive that it’s really tempting not to like her…but you have to because she’s so wonderful that she makes you feel wonderful too. If you watch any room that Ellen has entered, you’ll see people gravitate to her space like butterflies to nectar. Have you met her? Think Laura from the Dick Van Dyke show with the wit of today’s sharpest comediennes…we’re so lucky to have her in our midst! This year she’s playing a double roll at Fiber College…she’s teaching Slip Cover Making for a Small Chair on Friday morning and on Saturday and Sunday she’ll be mentoring a dye tent for attendees who would like to dye material they purchase or bring with them…a chance to create your own art with an expert in house.
We asked her to give us a peek into her mind by answering our interview questions…this is what she said:
I knit, sew, draw and dye. Mostly.
When I was 16 I thought, “If only I could sew and knit all the time, and not have to attend classes about books I really didn’t read.” I might have thought it out loud, too. Today I think, “If only I could sew and knit all the time, and not have to attend the grocery store or make supper.”
My favorite time of the day is when my chores and short list are done and my schedule allows a long spell of focused work time (which feels like party time). If I were more regimented about the chores and the short list, this time of day would roll around sooner.
My proudest career moments have been seeing my work in the wild – I once stopped a man on Cape Cod to say I was the maker of his child’s clothing, and more recently, I saw my Lillian Fay sweater on a restaurant patron.
Priscilla Gibson Roberts’ Knitting in the Old Way is the book that changed my life. It was a gift from my mother in 1985, and empowered me to think for myself, boldly.
My favorite item of clothing is my wedding gown – my Mom picked it out, a simple cotton dress I wore barefooted in our barn. It represents my past, present, and future. While I covet most of my clothes because they’re handmade, they can all be replaced if necessary, all except that wedding dress.
My Daily Practice: Coffee, think, record thinking on a 3×5.
The art tool I couldn’t live without is the 3×5 card – I keep them everywhere and jot down ideas, drawings, schematics and solutions. They are the pages in my life’s journal. I am a process junkie, constantly figuring and answering questions that probably don’t even need answering. The cards all end up in my studio, overflowing and not yet sorted, but there nonetheless.
The words I live by can all be found in the lyrics of Mr. Rogers.
I still get nervous when the lights come on at the end of a sad movie – everyone will see it was me sobbing and snorting. I still get nervous when a sports team will be counting on me to use my gross motor skills, or lack thereof. Why are there not more sewing and knitting games? I would be an excellent contributor. I still get nervous when there will be swimming involved. I still get nervous crossing frozen lakes on my snowmobile. I still get nervous when I know I will need to shake hands with someone, because I have cold and clammy hands. Want me to keep going?
The lesson I keep learning: This is my right hand, this is my left hand. Wait …
I have many favorite spots on this planet (and I have yet to venture far from Lake Winnipesaukee). I feel fortunate to live in New England, a hub for yarn manufacture. And there is no place like home. Home is where I keep my family, my sewing machines, my yarn and needles, my dye pot …
What makes me happy, really happy, is spending time with people who get me, really get me.
To me, whole living means loved ones, food for the brain, time to think, and making.
Unless you’re very lucky, you may have to wait until Fiber College to spend time with Ellen in person, BUT you can read more of Ellen’s words and see her designs on her blog. Odacier.blogspot.com
Mary Ellen is the friend you’d turn to when you need a sympathetic ear and possibly a good kick in the tail if necessary. Her enthusiasm for arts and color are as palpable as her friendly approach and I’m always thrilled when she shows up unexpectedly. Mary Ellen was one of the first to embrace computer technology and apply it to textiles to personalize quilts. She authored two books to share the techniques with others and is sought after to teach in places like Paducah, Quilting by the Lake and cruise ships to exotic locations. We feel lucky to be able to call her a friend…but then she’s love by artists all over the world. On Thursday she’s teaching a full day e-reader bag class.
When we asked her to answer our interview questions, she told us:
When I was 16 I thought… I would never wear two different shoes like my English teacher did.
My favorite time of the day is… sunrise.
Proudest career moment… when students want to enter the quilts from my classes in quilt shows. Some have even won ribbons but it is their newly found confidence that thrills me.
The song/book/movie that changed my life… I Will Not Die and Unlived Life by Dawna Markova
Guiltiest pleasure… whoppie pies (Hi Emma!)
My favorite item of clothing… red and purple wooly scarf made for me by a friend. I even wear it in the summer.
I still get nervous when… I rarely get nervous … I think I am pretty calm most of the time.
Daily practice… Morning coffee by the window with my husband.
The art tool I couldn’t live without… my camera. I use photographs to inspire so much of my work … from quilts, to jewelry, to wearables.
Words I live by (by Dawna Markova)…I choose to risk my significance,
to live so that what came to me as seed
goes to the next as blossom,
and that which came to me as blossom,
goes on as fruit.
What makes me happy… Too many to list. Having my family around me is high on the list.
The lesson I keep learning… that every person has a story to tell and that each carries a bit of truth within them.
You can never have too many… grandchildren!
Favorite spot on the planet… Patten Pond in Surry, Maine
Whole living means… Being grateful … grateful for what you have been given, what you have earned, and what you can create.
Amy’s infectious laugh and earnest, twinkling eyes leave you feeling like anything in the world is possible…she’s marvelous. One of her creations sits on my coffee table and makes me smile every day. Reading her words makes me feel calm and when she’s in the room I feel inspired…boy, I wish she lived closer than the mountains of Vermont! But she’s in Searsport in September and we’re thrilled to have her teaching two classes: Thursday Maine Forest Dryads come to life for students under her tutelage and on Saturday she teaches Tidepool Dragons.
Amy told us a bit about herself:
When I was 16 I planned to change the world, and I have. However, I redefined the parameters of my plans over time. Changing the world in small bits, I work on changing my small part of the world every day.
My favorite time of the day is the early morning before anyone is stirring when I can walk outside with the first cup of coffee of the day. The morning is a time of peace and possibilities.
A pivotal moment in my doll making occurred when I brought a handful of little mermaids to Marie Baron at Cottonwood Quilts in Montgomery, Vermont. Earlier, I had tried to interest a Waldorf doll shop with my work and was turned away because everything was wrong with my dolls, from the colors of their skin and hair to their beading and embellishments. It was a bit depressing and I wasn’t sure whether I should keep trying to find a shop. Marie saw my mermaids and her face lit up. She held one in each hand and turned to her husband and said, “Look, they have belly buttons!” I was so thrilled to have found a kindred spirit. Marie, always supportive and enthusiastic, greeted each of my creations with the same excitement as those first mermaids.
Choosing only one book or song is impossible when so many are significant to me. Life on a Little Known Planet by Howard Evans is a special book that explores insects and their kin from the aerial domain of dragonflies to the twilight meadows of fireflies with a philosophical twist as chapters like “The Universe as Seen from a Suburban Porch” unfold. I return again and again to illustrated children’s books like the wonderful The Red Tree by Shaun Tan, for refreshment and inspiration. Using few words, they convey so many emotions. Tan’s illustrations always show you something new and the story ending always makes me smile. I also derive inspiration from J.R.R. Tolkein’s, The Lord of the Rings, as both a story and in images from Peter Jackson’s movie version
Browsing through a bead store with no particular project in mind is a guilty pleasure for me. It is a dangerous pastime because it often evolves into purchasing. But, you can never have too many beads.
My ancient jeans jacket whose flannel lining is worn down to the warp. It was already old when my dog was a puppy. When Paprika was little and got tired of walking she would fit inside the front of this jacket with her head peeking out the open collar. As she got older, she never tired, always racing ahead. Paprika is gone now but my jacket is still here, old, worn and perfect for chilly morning walks.
I walk every day. I find walking is a time to let go of all the day’s worries.
The art tool I couldn’t live without is my Singer Featherweight sewing machine. It was made in the 1939. My little Featherweight will sew anything! My parents got me my first Featherweight when I was in college and it was love at first sight. That machine was stolen from my car many years ago in Philadelphia and I have always wondered what the thief did with it. Did he realize what a prize he had? Did he sell it or just throw it away? Maybe he was inspired take up sewing. My beloved machine was replaced with a ‘new’ Featherweight that I have sewn with ever since. I have a fancier new machine, but it mainly collects dust.
Words I live by include ” . . . fugerit invida Aetas: carpe diem”: envious time is fleeing: seize the day.
I love the ocean and migrate to the seashore whenever I can but I live in the wild mountains now. I love the excitement and bustle of the city, but also need the solitude of the country. There is beauty to be found almost anywhere if you look carefully and give yourself time to enjoy. I think the lesson I keep learning is the importance of finding joy wherever you are. Being with my family and exploring the universe from my own front porch is the most wonderful place to be.