What fun to chat with a young person who is so passionate about fiber and fibery animals! The fiber arts will continue to be in capable hands with the next generation of fiber artists. Jaida Glessner started her fiber arts journey while working working at a small yarn store on the Oregon coast while also volunteering with area farms. Since then her experience with various crafting mediums has grown and her dedication for understanding all things wool has shaped her career. Jaida is currently an intern at Nezinscot Farm in Turner and works in their fiber studio. You can also find her in the barns caring for various animals–mainly goats, sheep and rabbits. She plans to establish her own small, diversified farm, focusing on fiber production and offering education opportunities for all ages.
Jaida will teach Tri-Loom Weaving on Friday, Sept 8 from 1:30 – 5:30 PM. In this fun interactive class, students will learn the many versatile uses of pin looms and master the simple technique of continuous strand weaving. Using a tri-loom, each student will produce a small handwoven shawl and take home a new skill that can be adapted and designed to produce an endless variety of handwoven creations. Let’s meet Jaida and then you can sign up for her class here.
Fiber College chooses a new theme each year. For 2017, it’s Re-Use, Re-Design, Re-Create. How do you incorporate any part of this theme into an important part of your life?
From a really young age, I became aware that recycling is important. Especially imagining landfills packed with things that don’t need to be there. In every part of my life, I reuse and recycle — I buy few quality clothes rather than a number of cheaper clothes. Crafting – it’s a great challenge to take what you have and try to make something with it. Not only is it practical, but also can give way to a more creative outcome.
Tell us how you entered into the world of fiber and the fiber arts.
Five years ago, I was looking for a job in a very small town. A retail position at a yarn shop opened up. No craft experience – I had to learn to knit – and two days after, I started my job, and took my first knitting lesson. I worked in two different yarn shops and over the years, became increasingly interested in and aware of the world of fiber arts. My sisters learned to crochet from our grandmother; I never bothered with it—I figured I could ask them to make it, if I wanted something. And now they ask ME for knitting advice and expertise.
I actually had been working on farms for awhile (before my knitting career) and I had definitely become more interested – so now I spin, I weave, and I felt. I really appreciate the process of working with fiber all the way from tending the animals to producing a wearable item.
I knew I wanted to pursue a farming education – I started researching places in parts of the country that I wanted to visit so I could double my travel and farm experiences! I hope to create for myself is a small, diversified style farm that incorporates fiber animals and also a small production of wool goods and other farm-related goodies
What’s the best piece of advice a mentor has ever given to you?
My first knitting instructor told me to not over-stress while I’m working on something fiber related so that if I created a mistake, I should continue, and then either put a bauble over the mistake or consider a thoughtful design element. Don’t stress the mistakes and just enjoy the craft.
Tell us about a time that you developed an exciting idea for your fiber art; where did the idea come from? What inspired you?
I designed and knit a sweater for my grandfather who is always cold and also has trouble dressing himself. So I searched for the perfect light-weight, warm material which ended up being an alpaca-based yarn that was the perfect color, perfect weight, and softness. The sweater is absolutely perfect for him! The fact that I could search for the materials and put together a sweater for my grandfather was the most exciting and rewarding project I’ve ever done!
If you could re-design your life as a fiber artist, what would that look like?
I would have an old country home on 100 acres and have the perfect fiber farm set up with a giant dye studio and a farm store to provide any of my finished products for people.
What or who has had the greatest impact on your work as an artist?
My coworkers at a yarn shop I worked at a few years ago. The yarn shop is called The Websters (a webster is someone who creates). There were people who had worked there for 30 years and were just total experts in each of their fields and I learned so much from them on a daily basis!
How does your art recreate YOU? What does that feel like?
I’m a naturally creative person but when I can bring function to my creativity, I feel even more of a purpose. So being able to practice the fiber arts has given me another outlet for functional creativity.
If you could go back in time, what might you change about your fiber journey?
I would have started crocheting with my grandma at an earlier age so I could be farther down the road on my fiber journey.
What’s the most important thing that you want potential students to know about you?
I don’t think that there is a right way to craft or to learn a craft. I can appreciate everyone’s individual understanding. What is important to me is that everyone gets a chance to become aware of what is possible in fiber arts.
Jaida is so excited to be joining our Fiber College faculty this year. If you’ve ever wanted to try weaving OR try a different kind of weaving, please consider registering for Jaida’s class here; it promises to be a great one! Welcome, Jaida!