You read that correctly. In Spinning from Jeannine's Grab Bag, we spun everything from that straw, to tinsel, silk ties, fabric, shredded US currency and FedEx bags made of Tyvex. Jeannine wants spinners to have fun. We certainly did, although, most people graciously returned the Easter egg straw to Jeannine's stash. Jeannine reminded us that play and creativity with our fibres is at least as important as all that technical knowledge we collect.
My last retreat workshop was with Jacey Boggs. I was dead-tired by Saturday afternoon, but Jacey inspired me with her technical skills and precise explanations of techniques. She has the best method for transitioning spinners through short forward draft, short backward draft, spinning from the fold to long draw that I have ever heard. Any spinner who came into that room thinking long draw was impossible soon discovered otherwise.
Jacey is warm and friendly, full of new ideas and very, very pleased about the first eggs from her chickens.
So there you have it, a few impressions from SOAR. You have to be there to appreciate the wonders of it all. There are people from everywhere, fibres of all types, from silk to alpaca, to llama to cotton to ? Coleen N.'s "reeled silk sampler" was one of the hits at SOAR:
Other spinners and fibre artists took a more light-hearted approach. Here is Anne, in her felted llama ears which she wore through the week:
There were the spin-ins, silent and live auctions, the hand spun gallery and the vendors to explore. It's difficult to imagine, but I didn't buy an ounce of fibre or a skein of yarn. I chose instead to buy special spindles, hand woven bags from Peruvian weavers and spinning equipment. Not that I came home without fibres; the teachers supplied us well and I won an ounce of Paco-vicuna fibre as a door prize from SOAR vendors, Jefferson Farms Natural Fibers.
There was a private dinner held for SOAR Scholarship recipients and the SOAR scholarship committee members, along with the SOAR Interweave staff members. I learned that, in addition to my scholarship, I had been selected as the 2012 Evitt Scholar. This award is chosen by Gisela Evitt, who, along with her late husband, Bill, established the SOAR scholarship. The Evitt Scholar is given on the basis of one's past and future contributions to teaching fibre arts. Teaching is my passion, so I was most honoured at Gisela's choice.
Thank you to everyone who made SOAR the great experience it was. Amy Clarke-Moore was tireless in taking care of people. Interweave staff members Liz Good, Maggie Reinhold, Anne Merrow, and a host of others whose names escape me, kept SOAR running smoothly, no easy task with that many participants. The Granlibakken staff was always friendly and accommodating, sorting out reservations, shuttling us to classes, cleaning rooms and feeding us. (The food was spectacular!) I hope to attend SOAR again one day, to learn and to meet with friends, old and new.