For many weavers, the road to Convergence means poring over your workshop choices months in advance, readying your shopping list, and planning to meet up with folks you may have previously only met in the virtual world. For instructors, however, the road to Convergence begins well over a year in advance! If you have ever wondered how much preparation goes into teaching a workshop, here is a behind-the-scenes look from weaver Deborah Jarchow in this month’s guest blog post!
is a wonderful weaving conference that is held every two years. Ever since I began weaving, it’s been a high point for me to attend, hang out with friends, and see what’s new and exciting in the weaving world. As a weaving teacher, it is great to teach at Convergence. I get a special thrill when I get my name badge that says “Leader” on it! It makes it worth all the work it takes to get there.
When I’ve taken classes in the past, it hasn’t occurred to me how much preparation might be involved for the teacher. When the Woolery approached me about writing this blog, we thought it might be interesting for you to see what’s involved in presenting a class at a conference.
I will be teaching 3 rigid heddle classes at Convergence 2014 in Providence, Rhode Island. My classes will be a two day workshop on Pick Up Pizzazz, or using pick up sticks to create patterns in the woven cloth, a second 2 day workshop on Double Heddles and Double weave to explore patterns, layers, tubes and pockets in the cloth, and a 3 hour seminar on Taste of Rigid Heddle to introduce the curious to the wonders of weaving on a rigid heddle loom.
Preparing a teaching proposal can be a daunting task and takes lots of planning and organization! Here are some of the steps involved:
- Proposing an appealing class description with defined goals for the class
- Making a complete supply list for students
- Determining any audio/visual needs
- Setting materials fees for anything I supply
- Creating images for the project or technique being taught
- Planning for looms to be supplied or if students can bring their own
- Thinking about shipping supplies to the venue
Once the class proposal is accepted, it’s time to get to work! Here are some of the long-term tasks on my to-do list:
- Write the handout for the technique or project
- Then go back and make the project or do the technique strictly by following the handout
- Clarify things, correct mistakes, and add anything I overlooked on the first pass
- Take pictures of my project so I can insert some in the handout where images are helpful
- Re-edit the handout and set it aside again
- Coordinate with the loom manufacturers to supply looms for the class
Glimakra, Schacht and Ashford Looms
Closer to the class date, it’s time to:
- Print the handouts
- Gather samples
- Review techniques
- Ship everything to the venue
When I finally get on the plane to travel to Convergence, I’ll be so happy that really, all the hard work is behind me. Teaching is the fun part, and seeing everyone learn a new technique or get excited about what they are weaving is the reward and the thrill that makes all the preparations worthwhile!
Deborah Jarchow is a nationally shown fiber artist and weaving teacher. Her work with color, fiber and texture has led her to diverse projects from large scale wall hangings, to wearables, to liturgical commissions. Deborah travels the country as a popular weaving teacher at conferences such as Vogue Knitting Live and Stitches. She has maintained a studio at Studio Channel Islands Art Center in Camarillo, CA for over 10 years. You can learn more at www.deborahjarchow.com.