Florida Tropical Weavers Guild Conference
The Florida Tropical Weavers Guild Conference 2014 has come and gone in a whirl wind. Sadly I was only able to take a day trip on Saturday at the height of the event. I would have loved to attend the entire event and take a workshop, but it wasn’t meant to be. “Handweavers guild” I often wonder why this name sticks? I belong to the Gainesville Handweavers Guild, and I ask myself the same question every time I say it. I find the term fiber artist to be far more accurate as all the weavers are fiber artists, but not all the fiber artists are weavers. Our guild is quite large, and there are members who don’t weave and fit seamlessly with those that do. Of the weavers in our guild, many of them weave very sporadically, however spend endless hours knitting, crocheting, spinning, felting and lace making. The conference itself seemed to encompass a wide variety of fiber arts, thankfully. Whatever they call it, I love it and want to be a part of it. It’s held at the Lake Yale Baptist Conference Center in Eustis, Florida. Somewhere south of the Ocala National Forest. It’s a nice facility from what I could see and the lake is beautiful. I ran into lots of fellow guild members that I adore, some people that I haven’t seen in a while, made some new connections and perhaps networked a little. It was nice to get to know some people a little better too. It’s nice to have a community that you truly feel a part of.
This year’s list of workshops looked great. Tapestry Weaving (the one I should have been in) looked great. I had a chance to speak to the instructor who was very approachable and full of helpful tidbits. I hope to network with this lovely lady in the near future. Nuno Felting, was another workshop that looked like fun and is a runner up to my second choice of workshops. Anytime you can mix silk, wool and hot soapy water and pull out a beautiful sculptural length of usable fabric you have my attention. They all seemed to have a good time, and the instructor was very sweet and informative. She had some beautiful examples of her work. I would have liked to talk to her more. Indigo Shibori seems like two workshops in one and is the other runner up for my second choice of workshops. The instructor was seemed very laid back almost like we were talking over coffee or something. The beautiful silk scarf that a fellow guild member made has inspired me to take a longer look at this technique. While I dye here and there, its not necessarily my thing, but this is dying and sculpture all that the same time, and you get to use unconventional tools, like PVC and rocks. How can you go wrong? Indigo is such a ancient and specialized dying process, its hard to believe that she fit both into such a short time, but it worked, and they spent the majority of the time outdoors and the weather was beautiful. Lace-Edged Triangle Shawl was a knitting workshop and looked like fun. They followed patterns that they were able to miniaturize. They learned all about working from charts and it seemed that they all had a good time. The class was composed of both “Throwers”, and “Pickers”. The instructor was very sweet, approachable and knowledgeable. Wood Turning was a class I wanted to drop in on desperately, but kept forgetting. They were safely out of the way, but perhaps too out of the way. I don’t want to learn wood turning, but I love wood turned items. Sadly I neglected them on my rounds of
bugging visiting people. Art Doll Bracelet is another class that I neglected. That class was always very quiet and I didn’t know anyone in to pop in to visit. Claire’s Picnic Basket Weaving looked like fun. The instructor was nice and everyone was doing a fantastic job which says a lot about her abilities to teach. I visited there often as I had several people in there I love to bug visit. I find basket weaving fascinating, so I try not to look at it too much, one more hobby is the last thing I need. Weave a Memory, Woven Greetings and Tablet Woven Borders Simultaneously With Loom all looked like fun, but they were mostly deep in concentration with one exception. Since I lack the loom to do any of these forms of weaving I spent little time visiting them. The woven greetings was a “round robin” format, where the participants worked on one loom with a certain set up, then moved to the next loom with a different set up, giving everyone a chance to work on different projects without re-warping. Weave a memory looked great, using painted or printed fabric with a picture or portrait, then cutting it into strips and weaving it, quite beautiful. Tablet woven borders was weaving on a floor loom with both selvages woven on tablets, an interesting process I would have liked to watch more. Journey Through Creative Spinning, I knew several people in this class and visited it several times. I didn’t have a chance to meet the instructor as she was busy instructing every time I came by. Her class was quite full. She seemed capable and like a great instructor. I lack the proper wheel for spinning the art yarns I saw her make effortlessly. There was quite a list of mini workshops as well. They all took place on a day I wasn’t there, but I did see some of the felted flowers from that class. While I would not have normally been interested in that, I found the results beautiful. I was really taken aback at how nice and organic they looked.
There was a Vendors Row, that was small and all the vendors that I encountered were nice, informative, approachable, easy to talk to and had quality products. There were guild tables that were a lot of fun to see. Works on the displays were quite varied, in technique. There was also a stage that had items to be judged. Beautiful stuff all around and every where you look. The pictures I have are of the guild tables and the items on stage to be judged. The guild tables were arranged for you to walk around and enjoy. For better pictures I would need to change the lighting a little and stage the items differently, but didn’t want to start moving everyone’s stuff around (it was bad enough that I had to touch everything, but fiber arts are tactile, so be it) The items displayed for judging unfortunately were in an area with very poor lighting, in fact they were nearly in the dark. So the colors of the items may differ in the pictures under the harsh glare of my camera’s flash. I refrained from taking pictures of the workshops or the vendors booths out of respect and lighting. I so wanted pictures of my fellow guild members, but they were either very busy in workshop or eating lunch, neither picture would they appreciate I’m sure. I brought my spinning wheel, and spun some alpaca, but was the only one spinning at the time. Still it was nice to see all the wheels lined up. Next year, we’ll see. Perhaps that’s the year I get to attend the entire event.