The last vendor booth was packed and driving away Sunday night at 7:30. The last classroom tent was stowed away by Monday at noon and we had to hurry to take the red banners down because people were driving in with hope that the College was still going strong. Tuesday was devoted to paying the artist instructors, writing a few of the many thank you notes we want to remember…and eating some leftover lasagna while we sorted through the bills and piles of paperwork.
Today…the to-do list still seems as long as it was on Monday but we’ve recovered from that initial exhaustion and are warmed by the entire experience once again. What a rush!
Over 1050 people participated at Fiber College 2010. We offered 57 classes and you filled 480 class seats with warm, enthusiastic tushes. 23 People volunteered in one way or another and we were able to help those with physical challenges, those who bought more than they could carry and point everyone in the direction they were headed. 88 people shared potluck supper on Friday night…and we drank lots of organic lemonade and glasses of wine during our fiber discussions on Thursday and Saturday nights. Alice Seeger was our beloved artist in residence sharing her weaving and her life. Nan Fickett provided our very first sculpture exhibit in the new art studio…well you get the picture…it was an amazing 4 days.
Rather than interrupt the flow of this year’s classes by handing out evaluation forms, we opted to send exit letters to everyone who gave us an e-mail address. We’re glad that we asked because your responses are making us feel as though we’re being wrapped in a mohair blanket edged with Angora and cashmere…thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We want to know the good, the “needs improvement” and the “rock my boat experiences.” We will take all of your suggestions and start planning for next year sometime in October. With that in mind, the next series of blog postings will be an intermingling of your comments and the 650 photographs that were on my camera…and if you have good pictures, please send them along…there is so much happening during the weekend that we can’t possibly capture the smiles without your help.
We asked, and you said…
Hello! Fiber college exceeded all my expectations. The community atmosphere made me feel that I’d found my tribe I loved that it was big enough to feel a part of a group and small enough to not be too overwhelming. The classes were wonderful (I took silk on spindles and “spinning wild”). Your campground is comfortable and beautiful. I certainly concur that yoga and massage would be spectacular additions. I would love to see a community project (such as a piecework scarf or other such creation), maybe in a designated area so people could just continue to add as the muse moves. I’d also like to know whether it might be possible to be a part-time vendor. I make puppets and little milkweed fairies…I’d like to have the luxury of relaxing and taking classes, with perhaps only an afternoon of sales. Is this a possibility? Thank you again for a wonderful time. I am already counting down the days until next year. Please let me know if there is any way I can be of long-range help behind the scenes for next year. Your fiber friend, Jen
I had never even heard of the Fiber College until my friend Pam invited me to attend with her. I love to knit, and being recently retired saw my way to some extra time to work on projects. I came with no real expectations. The classes I signed up for were mildly interesting, but it was difficult to select from the wide assortment. Most seemed to be geared to spinning and weaving, but I thought, what the heck, just go to the ones that sound interesting. I didn’t know any of the instructors, even by reputation, so it was pretty much a shot in the dark. I am not usually a camper, and I live by the ocean, so even though I have been to Maine a lot and love it, I wasn’t sure how the experience of the campground would be.
So-Pam and I arrived on Wednesday night, registered our cars and settled into the Frog and Fairy cabin. It was so pleasant and so simply attractive. We had all we needed(except a bathroom). However, the bathrooms and showers down the road were spotless and available and sufficient (if you planned ahead!) Not so great in the middle of the night, but that is camping. The campground was obviously well loved and tended carefully. The gardens were lovely and interesting, the shore accessible and lovelyThe classes I took with Linda Whiting, Elizabeth Musselman and Jackie Fee were way above and beyond anything I expected. The information was foundational, applicable and accessible. All were so fluent in their craft that they could explain and inspire and encourage. Class size was just right for individual attention, and I learned so much that I can really use not only for knitting, but for my art in general. Each instructor had an obvious and infectious love of their craft and the experience to back that up. All personalities were different, but each was engaging in her own way. No prima donas here. What fun. Time flew by and I was really energized by the hard work.
Social life among attendees and instructors was wonderful. The sculpture show and lasagna dinner were highlights. I loved meeting people who shared my passion for creativity. Everyone, no matter what their level of experience or achievement was on a level field. Sharing was easy. Camaraderie was delightful, but not overbearing.You could do as much or as little as you wanted and feel part of the program. The staff was warm and helpful and made everyone feel welcome and included.
I will make a few suggestions about catering. It would be helpful to know ahead of time about what might be available for breakfast and lunches. Also, sandwiches might speed up food service at noon. Two coffee stations-one at camp office/store and one at the welcome table at the head of the road would facilitate things.
Vendors were excellent. I was sorry that most of the demonstrations took place while I was in the classes I had signed up for. It was hard to know what was going on when. Perhaps some advanced notice and schedule would facilitate planning for participants. Also, now that you have the studio space, an exhibit of what people have done would be great-an expanded show and tell. Fiber College was a wonderful experience and I congratulate all of you who work so hard to bring it . you for this year, and I look forward to hearing about next year. Stephanie
WOW! I’m impressed! I’m not completely put away yet…My unexpected outcome from my class is that everyone took home dog hair – even the nasty stuff to play with, get frustrated over, and conquer! I had a blast sharing my crazy world of dog fuzz … too much fun… I did walk through the gardens and commune with the goats (even stole a few veggies for them – totally at their request! I never got down to the water … wow! I didn’t realize that until now. As much as I live for chocolates and massage, and admire yoga … I’d rather see Fiber College stay a fiber experience… I would love to hear Linda from Wild Fiber do a talk in the evening … wonder if she would do that? Other than Bark magazine, Wild Fiber is the best magazine to be found (and of course, it takes some searching)…YOU GUYS ROCK! and that’s as in rocks swept in my the tide – smooth and magical!~ Cindy, the Twisted Dog lady
And we’ll share more tomorrow…