Sunday, July 05, 2009

There's No Place Like Olds

I'm home from Fibre Week at Olds, and while I am rested and happy to be surrounded by loving family, I'm already missing the amazing people that I just spent the week with!

For the past 10 years, I have been making the pilgrimage from Fort McMurray to Olds, first as a student, then as a teacher. And every year, I marvel at this gathering of fibre producers, processors, vendors, artists and aficionados--nearly 300 people drawn together by their passion for fibre. Here are just a few of them...

...listening to Jean Curry tell us about the progress of the Master Weaver Program. This is just a small corner of the group--trust me, there were a few folks crammed into the room for the welcoming festivities and to hear Sara Lamb's Keynote Address. Sara spoke on a topic near and dear to my heart-the sense of community amongst fibre folk. Nowhere in my travels have I seen that sense of community more clearly than at Olds!

I wore two hats this year at Olds: I taught the dreaded Level 3 again and I was the Fibre Arts Program Coordinator. The first job is pretty self-explanatory--I subjected 10 unsuspecting spinners to a boatload of mathematical formulas. And they appeared to have survived...

...with smiles on their faces, yet! (Or. perhaps, those are grimaces of terror as they contemplate their homework?)

I am always impressed with the people who take the Master Spinner Program. They come from all walks of life, all levels of education, and all parts of the continent. They bring so much collective wisdom and enthusiasm for the craft to the classroom that it becomes a joy to share what little knowledge I have to impart. I love that moment when someone goes "ahhh!" and sees something new. And I love learning new things from my class, from clever spinning tips to...ummm...colorful?...expressions and turns of phrase.

Of course, it's not all math and agony in Level 3. We get to play novelty yarn games, too. I have a raft of pictures of smiling spinners displaying... and funky yarns, like this one by Kristi. I enjoyed every minute of teaching this amazing group of women, and I hope they weren't too overwhelmed. I hear through the grapevine that one or two of them are planning to start their homework right away, so I'll start watching my mailbox...

My other job gave me the opportunity to get to know many of the guest instructors better. I ate dinner with "lah-ti-dah" Sara Lamb and "lah-ti-dah" Jane Stafford, and even got Ms. Stafford behind the wheel...

...spinning a pretty decent yarn. Now, I must confess that Jane told me that she had spun a little before, but I will still claim that I was the one who taught her to do it right!

I had several wonderful conversations with Joan Ruane, who was an enormous hit with her students. I chatted with Cynthia MacDougall about the realities of the fibre world, and I didn't get to spend near enough time talking to Sharon Costello (maybe next year, hey Sharon?).

With so many instructors coming and going, I had very little time to visit with Linda Cunningham, Nancy Walker, and Linda Wilson--but Tracy Kuffner did get a chat in while she was switching from adult classes to kids' camp mode. And Jen Black, who is now a fellow Master Spinner graduate, came and went a fair bit, but still took the time to get a good visit in.

All of these amazing people, along with our Master Weaver instructor Jean Curry and my fellow Master Spinner instructors Rosemary Harris, Gayle Vallance, Colleen Nimetz, Charles Vereschagen, and Birgit Rasmussen bring so much to our community. They share their skills, their knowledge, their humor, and their passion for fibre with anyone who passes through their sphere of influence. I am honored and inspired to be in their company.

Of course, I am honored and inspired to be in the company of the folks who were enabling us in the vendors mall, as well. I little bit of cashmere (okay, a lot of cashmere) from Spruce Haven Farms followed me home, along with a fair bit of a yummy alpaca/cashmere/silk blend from Alpaca Plus. Not to mention the little bits here and there from many other vendors, including colored roving, some rare Fox Fibre cotton, some glitzy threads, and...well...half of an amazing Merino/BFL cross fleece. (Thanks, Vicki!)

As I mentioned above, though, I think I am most inspired by the students who enroll in the various workshops and classes. These are the people who make Fibre Week...and I'll tell you more about some of them next time!

1 comment:

  1. I came home from Fibre Week EXTREMELY inspired!! Unfortunately, I have injured my left hand, so some of my enthusiasm must wait until it's healed. The fibre gets wound around the stitches. *sigh* See you next year!! :0)