When I came to PortFiber last December my weaving experiences had been limited, thereby coloring my perception of the craft. Thus far confined to small frame looms and a lack of knowledge and experience, I semi-consciously viewed weaving as slow, limited, and unsuited to my crafting purposes. Nevertheless, I had a goal to learn how to weave on the shop's array of increasingly complicated and intimidating looms, perhaps just to prove to myself that I could.
So I read a bit and watched some youtube videos and jumped in and made some mistakes and learned how to weave, more or less. I could have stopped, except I guess I couldn't stop- I can't stop. So far I've woven nine pieces on rigid heddle and four harness table looms and I love it so much! I've played around a touch with patterns, techniques, and various warping methods, but the truth is I just like weaving. I don't even have any desire to make anything but scarfs at the moment (at least I've got holiday gifts mostly figured out) as I'm captivated by the back and forth of building fabric and watching my handspun interact with each other in new and fascinating ways. It's so relaxing, so rejuvenating, so fundamental. I do want to learn everything I can about weaving (I always get excited about gathering information about a new skill) but I'm oh so enjoying my slow build up of skills and experience along-side the more information dense side of the craft.
It seems I've fallen in love with weaving at precisely the right time in my fiber journey: In September I'll be taking my leave of Portland and PortFiber to fulfill another goal of mine. I'm going to Camphill!
Alright, I'm sure many people aren't familiar with Camphill (I wasn't until I met someone who spent many years at the original one in Scotland), so here's the ten cent summary: Camphill is an intentional community (a cluster of houses and buildings centered around a biodynamic farm and garden) where people, some with developmental disabilities and some without, live and work together. The Camphill I'm going to in Copake, New York is home to many workshops including a bakery, herbal extract making facility, bookbinding, woodworking, stained glass, candle making, and a weavery. The Camphill movement (which boasts over 200 communities around the world) was begun by Dr. Karl Konig in Scotland after fleeing Nazi occupied Austria, but it is based on the teachings of Rudolf Steiner (who is perhaps most famous for the development of Waldorf Schools). For years I have been captivated by arts programs (think Spindleworks in Brunswick, Maine) that utilize and build the talents of those with developmental disabilities, so upon hearing about Camphill I immediately felt it needed to be part of my life. Having the weavery helps too, though...
I suppose I've always viewed my life as a series of adventures that contribute to my growth as a person, which is why it doesn't seem so odd to be leaving a place I love. Sad perhaps, but sadness just reminds me of how much I've grown and enjoyed my time here. I have nothing but gratitude for my PortFiber family who have always been so open and welcoming. I've been very lucky to be a part of this wonderful community for as long as I have, though I'm sure this is only goodbye for now. Thank you everyone!