Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Spring Squam 2015: Day 2. "Extras" and Second Class Starts

On the second day of Squam (Friday), I optimistically dressed in my capris with my silk stripes sweater.
The schedule for the day starts with "free time". There are no classes until the afternoon. But in case you can't entertain yourself sitting on a dock and knitting, Elizabeth arranges for some shorter optional lecture workshops called "Extras".

The first was taught by my roommate, Donna, and it was about Zentangle, a meditative drawing process.
She somehow edited her class, which is normally three hours long, down to a little over an hour. It was a great introduction and we all got little kits with the marker, pencil, "stump" (something I had never heard about before!) and five Zentangle cards.

Here's a quick "flip" through my process:
That's as far as I got in class, but you can imagine how it might finish up. There are lots of patterns out there to do or, obviously, you can make up your own.

Here are all the cards from the class:
Once again, amazing how the same instructions results in very different results. She talked about people having different drawing styles like different hand writing. Tell two people to drawn a curving line or a spiral and you will get two different results. Makes sense once someone says it, but it was a new idea to me and I like to think of it that way. (I worked very hard when I was young to get hand writing that I liked. It encourages me to think that I could get drawings I liked if I worked at it.)

I didn't win the prize (one of Donna's framed Zentangles) for having traveled the furthest to be at Squam, but that's ok because being her room mate I got some extra supplies to take home!

Right after Donna's class was a class on arm knitting. I had heard about arm knitting and had always thought I could figure it out whenever I needed it. But, hey, if someone's going to do a class on it, I may as well join in!

Yes arm knitting is exactly what it sounds like: knitting with your arms. No needles, no tools, just you and the yarn. Here is Anne giving us all a demonstration:
And here am I knitting away while she explains knits, purls, decreases, increases, binding off, etc.
And by the end of class, I had a cowl that I could wrap around my neck three times:
Anne gave us a pattern for the cowl, but since I didn't
want to have to seam it at the end of class, I knit it
as an I-cord. I had to slip stitches from one arm to the
other, but that was worth it to me. I sewed the
beginning to the end, and voila! a super long bulky cowl
in about an hour.
It was chilly enough I needed it! I had brought yarn for this class and made the cowl with two strands of bulky cashmere and two strands of worsted weight cashmere. It still wasn't really bulky enough but it worked to participate in the class and to learn how it works.

Speaking of being chilly, this is what I ended up wearing the rest of the day:
A change into long pants and addition of the wool orange tulip socks, black and green cardi, and the new cowl. Everything knit is 100% made from raveled sweaters. Isn't that amazing!?

After lunch, I had the first half of my second class: Thread and Memory with Joetta Maue. Here is the class description:
As soon as a moment is over it instantly becomes memory. Therefore we often live in a state of memory which is usually a little blurry, a little edited and very much a personal perspective. 
How do we create an artwork that explores and is evidence of something that is gone?
Memory is personal, unique and complex therefore art inspired by it should be as well. In this class we will explore the feeling and expression of memory by looking at the work of a few select artists, writing, journaling and doing a few "loosening up" exercises that will help us tap into the depth of a memory.
 
From there we will focus on incorporating images, drawings, texts and if possible collected objects to honor, heal or illustrate a memory through textile and stitches.
You are welcome to work from any kind of memory be it the memory of the best day of your life, childhood, a relationship or trauma.
 
This class is open to all experiences. Please note, this is not a technique class. We are building on your existing embroidery skills, whether they are advanced or basic.  Our intention is to make a piece of textile art. 
This class will be taught in a more critical thinking style on how to develop an idea into an artwork. 
This is a warm and gentle class where you will feel safe and supported as you share your work, your story and your creativity.
And Joetta was very kind and gentle to me when I was having trouble getting my design onto the napkin I had brought. But by the end of the afternoon I had a design I could start on the next day. (Once again, I'll write about the actual project in a future post.)
Friday evening, Clara Parks gave a talk about how she ended up with bales of wool to be processed into yarn and then the process of making it into yarn. She was informative and entertaining. It turns out the American textile industry is disappearing and for some reason it doesn't get the bailouts that the auto industry gets. (Imagine that!) The newest Pacific trade agreement going through right now will be another big blow.

On the lighter side, she shared the story of having a man approach her at a fibre festival and introduce himself by saying he had the largest flock of Saxon merino sheep in America. Her knees buckled. Most of the audience reacted audibly when she repeated his claim to fame so she knew that the rest of us understood!

Once back in the cabin and seeing the rest of my cabin mates quickly head to bed, I decided I was going to go out looking for a party, or at least a group of people awake. Not hearing any noisy cabins when I stepped outside, I headed to Greenwood which is the largest (?) cabin, where registration happens, and usually a big centre of social activities.
Sure enough, when I walked in there were about 15 women sitting around the fire-warmed living room. When I explained why I was there, they joined me in good-hearted mockery of my early-to-bed cabin mates. But I swear it wasn't 20 minutes later and every single one of them had retired to their rooms. (I swear it wasn't me being rude!) It wasn't even 10:30!!

But that was all I was up for. Two cabins petering out was all I could take. So I went to bed myself and read for a while. Also a good way to end the day. :)

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