Sunday, May 4, 2008

Follow- Up On the Time Question - and a Teaching Question

First of all, a big apology to anyone who was looking for my Wednesday artist profile this past week and missing it... I was just swamped (and, let's admit it, completely lame). But, for a special treat, I'm planning to profile a weaver this coming Wednesday!

She is lucky enough to live near here!

So, folks, thanks so much to everyone who commented on the previous post. I took all of your advice to heart, as well as some wonderful advice from the EtsyFAST folks, too - and put it to good use at yesterday's Open Studios at Western Avenue Studios.

First of all, despite kind of a record low turn-out (it was kind of a yucky day here yesterday, it didn't surprise me that not a lot of people showed up) - I sold four pieces! I was tickled!

So, this scarf, among others, has a new home. (Always had a soft spot for this one - I wear it's twin sister that has a threading error in it - I took the colors from a painting that my daughter made.)

Secondly, I think I came up with a way that works for me to answer the dreaded "time" question. First, I changed my attitude and decided to attribute the question just to curiosity. Especially since during Open Studios my loom is right there, often with work in progress on it, of course people want to hear about the process. So, I spend a lot of time giving a quick run-down of the warping process and how a loom works to folks - it's really wonderful to see how interested people are!

And, when they ask the time question, I usually give a bit longer answer, based on some of the replies I got here, actually! Something like: "Well, I've been weaving pretty steadily for seven years now (funny how as a weaver that makes me a neophyte, but non-weavers think that's a long time, lol), when I first started it probably took me about 3X, though I didn't time myself then. Even a year or so ago, it took me about 2X. I've gotten really efficient in the past year and a half since I've started selling, though, and have my time down to X. Unless I make mistakes that need fixing..." (I'm a typical NorthEastern Yankee fast talker, so that goes by faster than it looks.)

OK, if you've made it this far - I have another question for you! Do you have people ask about you giving lessons? I'm amazed at how many people ask me if I teach when they come through during Open Studios.

I'm thinking that for the big Lowell-city-wide Artists Open Studios in late September that I'm going to bring my little four-shaft loom over, too, and set it up with a sample warp and let people have at it. We get a lot of kids through, too, and I think they might get a kick out of that...

I would love to teach someday, but at the moment, at least, I barely have enough time to weave! Maybe when both munchkins are old enough to be in school.

Any teachers out there? Do you give private lessons, one-on-one, or do you teach groups? I imagine it's a lot of work, but also really rewarding.

Anybody who happened to read my Endnotes column in Handwoven will probably realize that Rita Steinbach, my teacher at the Worcester Center for Crafts, was just crucial in giving me that push that I needed to move into designing my own work. (Thank you, Rita!!) Anywho, I would love to hear about your experiences!


Leigh said...

Very interesting posts Kristin. It's always fascinating to try to look back at our craft through the eyes of inexperience. It sounds like you are doing an excellent job with this. A teacher in the making for sure!

island sweet said...

i absolutely love that scarf - i think it's my favourite yet!
i'm always happy when people ask me how long it takes to make one of my hooked mats. because they don't understand why they are so expensive (afterall it's just strips of used t-shirts and burlap). i know that it takes 1 hour start to finish for me to hook a 4" square coaster mat. i show them that and then they understand...

Dianne said...

Years ago I had a folder called "Things to do when Laurinda starts school". Recently I went through it and discarded a lot of the projects - she is now 27 years old.
Dianne in autumnal New Zealand

KMRhandwoven said...

Sounds like open studio went well despite yucky weather... and great that you had some sales!
Like you, my studio is open to the public and a fair amount of folks ask me if I teach. Right now I don't teach in my studio but will be teaching at a craft school in the area. I have taught in my studio, just one student at a time. Of course the challenge with teaching weaving is that every student needs a loom (and therfore that loom is unavailable for you to use to produce items). Teaching does take a lot of time (time away from weaving!)But I think the fact that you have your studio/loom out there for the public to see and you are willing to talk with folks while you work you are already doing some teaching!
I have had folks (young and old) weave on my little loom (baby wolf). I warped it with rug warp about 5" wide (or so) and had strips of fabric for weft (a la rag rug) and let everyone weave a mug rug. It easy easy for them to weave, they could easily see what they were doing and they had a mug rug to take home with them!

Anonymous said...

I think teaching takes patience, good teaching can take a lot of patience, though perhaps weaving is different in that you have a student for a limited time and not every day. A retired teacher.

skiingweaver said...

Is that you, Mum? :) I actually have taught before - I taught flute and gymnastics when I was younger, and proved muuuuch more patient as a teacher than I am in real life. :)

gonga said...

I fell in to a teaching post when my two were baby and toddler, I have to explain that this teaching post was two hours a week in term time with a group of weavers at our local arts centre, who had been weaving together from the beginning of time, and needed a tutor ( because the original tutor had gone beyond retirement age!!) Perfect for an almost stay at home mum, Two hours of sanity. Now five years on I am still teaching. I can say that I have learned so much more about weaving from my students than I possibly could have at home by myself.

temptressyarn said...

I'm not a weaver, but I always have people ask me about whether I would teach a felting class (scarves) when I'm selling at craft shows. I also have 2 little ones at home (16mo and 5yo) so it's not really in the cards right now, but I've begun to ask around about places I could rent or use to teach a class. It is not easy to find something because I need somewhere with access to hot water and where the floor could possibly get wet. But I think that's nowhere near as difficult as the idea of having someone else's work on a loom holding it hostage until they finish--yikes!

On the flip side, I found a somewhat local place that offers weaving "parties" and lessons and was thinking of getting a small group lesson for two friends and I for a birthday celebration, so I'll get to learn about weaving and will be taking mental notes about what a fiber arts teacher might do.