Are you feeling as excited as I am about getting back out into the world? The past year and a half has been hard on everyone, myself included. I have sorely missed going to fiber guild meetings in person, visiting with friends for crafting days, and just being among people.
So I am super excited as the summer begins to ramp up, more and more people are getting vaccinated, and stores and destinations are adjusting to welcoming visitors back again. For me, this means I can once again get back to teaching classes in person, and I couldn’t be more excited! In celebration, I’d like to share my crazy schedule with you, as well as tell you about a great opportunity to grab some temari books. (And don’t worry — you can see more information about my classes on my “Teaching” page, anytime.)
Red Stone Glen Fiber Arts Center
One of my very favorite places to be, and my “home base” for teaching temari is the Red Stone Glen Fiber Arts Center in York Haven, PA. They put into place a lot of Covid safety precautions early, and have been open for a while. This was the first place that I felt safe enough to teach in person, and so I’ve already had a few wonderful classes there. It is such a great place to be…and if you are lucky enough to snag a room at the Ridge, you can even enjoy their pool!
Something that I’m very excited to announce is a brand new class I’m teaching there: the Kiku Rising class! This is a three day class where we will stitch up a lovely large temari, featuring twelve different face variations of the classic kiku stitch. Students have been asking me to write this pattern up for years, and I’ve finally done it. Sara Bixler, the owner and resident instructor of RSG, has an amazing color sense, and she helped me choose a second colorway for this pattern. Students will get to choose to stitch either the warm and sunny “Kiku Sunrise” ball, or the new cooler toned blue and purple “Kiku Moonrise” ball.
If you are interested in joining me, the class will be running July 24th – 26th, and you can find more information here:
If you can’t make the class, we are hoping to offer kits with the stitching yarns and full pattern in the coming months, so check back soon for that.
This is not the only change in temari classes at the Glen. While I will continue to offer my introductory class, Temari 101 as a two-day class, we have added onto it an optional third day. Those of you that have experienced my “fire hose” approach know that I have to jam a LOT of information into just two days, and often students feel rushed. I’ve heard that feedback enough, so we tacked on a “Temari 101 Open Studio Day”, so that students can choose to stay with me a little longer. This is really great for students that like to learn at their own pace, or might need a little more time to digest things. This extra day doesn’t offer new material, but it is a chance to work with me individually, and reinforce those new skills. I just love the flexibility that this option allows!
Sorry, I’m not done glowing about Red Stone Glen yet… I’ve left my favorite for last. I won’t be teaching the “Temari 201” class there anymore, which is where I would introduce students to the combination 8 and 10 divisions. I’m also not going to be doing the single day “Flax and Swirl” class. Instead, I’m just focusing on having more Open Studio classes. While most teachers wouldn’t enjoy this, it is my favorite way to teach. An Open Studio class is a three day class where everyone works independently on whatever skills they would like to develop. So any stitcher that has completed the beginning class (or the equivalent) can come! If you’d like the 201 class or the Flax and Swirl, we’ll just cover that material together. I contact each student ahead of time to find out what skills or patterns they would like to work on and I develop a plan for our time together. Personalization is the best curriculum! And if you’re not sure what skills you may work on, we put together a great list of suggested skills to help kick-start your ideas, which you can read on their blog here:
I absolutely LOVE this way of structuring a class. Sure, it’s more work for me ahead of time, but I honestly love it. And during class, everyone inspires each other and learns from each other, no matter what their level of experience is. I’ve already taught two of these classes this year, and I’m looking forward to more on August 27th – 29th.
John C. Campbell Folk School
I have had the privilege of taking a few classes at the Folk School in Brasstown, NC over the last ten years or so, and each time it has been an amazing experience. There is really no place like it! A mountain retreat setting where students from all over come to study with top teachers, learning everything from weaving to blacksmithing, glass working to photography. Sadly, they had to close their doors to students last year with the pandemic, but they re-opened in May, putting into place an amazing array of new safety protocols. I’m still a nervous traveller, but seeing the work they’ve done to make their campus and classes safe has me itching to go back! And this July, I get my wish! I’m so excited to be teaching a full week of temari, starting July 4th. It was seven years ago that I went there to study with my mentor and friend Barbara Suess, and I honestly feel like this is a dream come true to be going back there to teach. I have big shoes to fill…not just hers, but her longtime student and amazing temari stitcher and teacher Dana Watson has been teaching there since Barbara retired. I’m so thrilled to have the chance to travel there and have a FULL week to spend with students — stitching, being inspired and making new friends.
(There are still a few spots left, if you are itching for a last-minute holiday trip!)
Mid Atlantic Fiber Association Conference 2021
Speaking of last minute, I have some final polishing up of my presentations that I should be working on right now, because at the end of this week, the MAFA 2021 Conference is happening! I’ve loved teaching at this bi-annual conference in the past, but this year things are very different. They made the decision last year to convert from their usual 3 day in-depth class format to an all virtual schedule of smaller classes. Of course, this means not everything can be taught — there’s no way I could handle teaching a beginner temari class in just a few hours!
Instead, I’ll be hosting 4 separate events in just 3 days… *gulp*. Sure, one is a lecture about temari, which is wonderful, as I love introducing people to this fabulous art. Another event I’m hosting is their evening Trivia Night, which I expect will be full of silliness and fun! But those other two…well those are real classes. Real…. online… classes.
I must confess…this is my very first time teaching online. And I won’t lie, I’m a nervous wreck about it. And I know many instructors have made the transition to online teaching during this pandemic. I just…haven’t been able to wrap my head around it. Mostly because I really rely on seeing (and touching) a student’s work. Will I be able to see their work well enough with their webcam? Temari especially presents some challenges that other “flatter” crafts like weaving don’t have. I need to see the whole ball, and cameras often focus on a flat surface. Plus, verbal communication is already hard with temari…without an absolute “up” or “down”, “left” or “right”, how much time and frustration will there be trying to ask someone to show me what I need to see? Will I really be able to give them enough?
So my big test will be this week. One of the classes I’m teaching is a two hour demo/class on the swirl ball design. Yes, that big pink one above that everyone loves. I’m depending on the students coming prepared with a ball base. And it is mostly a demonstration (with handouts of course), so I’ll be taking very limited questions. But it is going to be a real test for me. I’m finally dipping my toe in the ocean of online teaching. Hopefully, I’ll be a good swimmer.
I really would like to do more online teaching. I know that even though the world is opening back up, we learned a valuable lesson from this pandemic. There are a LOT of students that really prefer to learn online and I can understand why: accessibility, cost, and comfort are just a few reasons that spring to mind. And so I think online learning is here to stay. I suspect that a lot of places that have already adapted to teaching online will continue to do so, because the demand is rising. So even though I’m late to the party, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out how I can join in. I would love to find a way to reach students that I otherwise couldn’t connect with, and spread my love of fiber arts further. But like everyone, I have limited time and energy, and so far I’ve not been able to figure out the right way for me to accomplish this.
My first thought is that I’d like to try to do some one-on-one private instruction. I am thinking of 30 minute sessions, with an email beforehand to determine what we are going to work on together. That way someone would have my full attention, and no other students would be waiting for “their turn”. Plus it would be small bites of time, so nothing too overwhelming for anyone to commit to. This is something I’m considering working on starting in late summer or early fall, and it feels like it might be a good first step. (So if you think this sounds like a good idea, drop me a line and let me know! I’m very open for feedback as I try to figure out how I want to move forward online.)
And that’s not the only change that I have coming in the late summer/early fall. I’m getting ready to re-launch myself in a new brand. I have loved being a Temari Twin for these years, but since my better half retired…it doesn’t feel like a good description for me. And I find myself wanting to move into a broader role… temari is my first love, but I do enjoy teaching other things, like fiber dyeing, weaving, and even how to use weaving design software! So I’ve got some exciting changes just hopping around the corner. Hopefully you will find them…delicious!
And that Book Deal…
Right. I did promise you a book deal. And you’ve made it all the way to the end of my long post! So here it is.
My great friend and mentor, Barbara Suess, has published two temari books that I love, and always tell everyone to check out. And of course, I do this not because she’s my friend, but because these really are the best books out there for learning temari. Sadly, due to complications with her publisher, print copies of these books have been very hard to come by for years. And there won’t be another big printing of them again. So I’ve been encouraging people track down hard copies on ebay or other sites, whenever they are able to.
But I have the scoop for you! Barbara just got in the last hard copies of her two books from her publisher, and she is selling them on Etsy. She has a fair number of her first book, “Japanese Temari: A Colorful Spin on an Ancient Craft”, and so she is generously selling them at 50% off the retail price! Wow! Here is the link:
And guess what? She has a very limited number of hard copies of her second book, “Temari Techniques”! Thankfully, she’s had this available as a pdf on her etsy shop for a while, but if you are like me, you love to have an actual book to thumb through. And this is it! She doesn’t have many copies, and I suspect that they are going to sell out fast. So if you have been wanting this book but haven’t found it yet, now is your chance. I know as I write this, a lot of people have it in their “carts”, but there are still some left. Honestly, I still use this reference book myself, and if you can only ever have one temari book in your collection, I would urge you to get this one!
Thanks for reading! Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions for me about my teaching, if you have any input about teaching online, and what if anything you’d like to see me offer. I wish you a safe and happy summer, filled with real hugs, friends, and the making of wonderful memories.