Sunday, August 16, 2009

SLOW CLOTHES at the Golden Gate Fiber Institute

I sat down at the loom and as I began weaving my new lavender sachet warp, my mind drifted back to the profound and amazing experience I had in California. It has taken me almost two weeks to digest my time at The Golden Gate Fiber Institute and certainly longer than that to "get" the theme of conference---SLOW CLOTHES. I realize now it was probably just as well that my camera was lost as it has gotten me to re-create images in my mind that I never would have been able to capture in a picture.

The slow movement says, essentially: slow down and live better.

(I believe my approach to weaving is in line with SLOW. I don't even own a bobbin winder and never have)

But I digress---Although the setting for GGFI was rustic, angels brought me warm bedding, a foam pad for between me and the scout camp plastic covered mattress, and a handwoven rug for beside my bed (just to name a few urban amenities). I slept very well! There was indoor plumbing and lots of hot water AND fantastic food. What else could a gal want?! Point Bonita is not far from the big city, but seems very remote. I delighted in the cool misty weather as it felt just like Seattle in the spring. Meanwhile Seattle was having recordbreaking heat! In addition, the cool weather gave me an opportunity to wear a different woven shawl every day.

Because the conference was small, there was a level of intimacy I had never experienced at a Fiber event before. I sat with different folks at every meal enjoying a wide range of engaging topics (more on that at a later date).

The teachers were a lively bunch, and every evening teachers and students gathered for delicious show and tell AND some of the best and copious door prizes I have ever seen. (every night for six nights!)

One of the best parts of the week for me was that I got to actually TAKE A CLASS with
Jeane deCoster

knitter, weaver, spinner, designer, owner of Elemental Affects

Jeane deCoster is a life-long fiber junky who chose her undergraduate degree because sewing was the only thing she could stand doing for 8 hours at a time. Making clothes to fit was (and is) an endlessly fascinating puzzle.

Who knew I would spend several mornings running around with my top off in class?! (Here is where the imagination is better than the camera) . Students brought garments to alter and/or to make patterns from.

The garment I had with me (I didn't realize I was actually going to take a class, so I didn't plan what clothes to bring for the class), is the Huipil I wove and made in 1994 when I was president of the Seattle Weavers Guild. The panel to the left is Bette Midler's horoscope, Lily Tomlin on the right, and Mae West in the middle. I always like to wear this when I teach. It gives me lots of good energy.

The thing that was fascinating about this garment is that EVERYONE tried it on, and EVERYONE looked great in it, much to the amazement of all. Jeane had pointed out after we all took our measurements that most of us regardless of our size and shape have roughly a similar shoulder width, and the huipil has a strong shoulder emphasis.

I made a drawing of the pattern and gave it to everyone (and is here for you as well)

I consider myself semi-sewing challenged, and I actually sewed the huipil. In addition, I was 60 lbs. heavier when I first made and wore it.
If you are looking for an unique fiber experience, I highly recommend you give the Golden Gate Fiber Institute a try.

Tomorrow I will tell you about the things I learned (always a good sign when one goes off to teach).


Valerie said...

Wait, you mean an electric bobbin winder, don't you? Surely you must have a hand crank one?

I would love to make it out to GGFI sometime (once the economy improves!) The ads cause me to drool on my pillow.

Love the Huipil and the three inspirational ladies! What a riot!

Theresa said...

Beautiful piece Bonnie and love the way, Bette, Lily and Mae all work together.
Sounds like a perfect time ( except for the camera)
at GGFI.