Earlier this month Jason Collingwood, a well-known UK rug weaver was a guest instructor at Heritage. The following is written by Sammie, who was lucky enough to take the class (me, I was back at the shop teaching and working – I have to leave town to get my education, which happens this weekend in Ypsilanti – watch the blog for details next week).
Sammie, Guest Blogger, weaver and Heritage staffer writes:
Who would have thought you could do soooooo much using only plain weave ? My head is spinning.
All 12 of us in the class pretty much mastered the first days lessons: vertical stripes and dots, both staggered and aligned. Then, day two brought a whole new set of challenges: crossed wefts and both “contrary” and “parallel” motion. Most of the group picked up the contrary motion and have a beautiful 6”-8” insert in our sampler (and then some of us have a 3” insert done entirely by Jason that we can look at in wonder). Crossing the wefts more than once in a “parallel motion” requires that you change the sheds 6+ times as your shuttles go left and right etc. After the first demonstration and all subsequent demonstrations (probably five or six), Jason would say, “Pretty straight forward. Have a go at it!” And, in unison, our eyes would glaze over as we looked down on our warps, and prayed for enlightenment. Usually we got the first one or two picks right before we started unweaving.
The third day brought lighter fair. Meet and separate, clasped wefts — so easy, no selvage issues, many design possibilities. And gave us all new hope. Maybe, just maybe, we could weave rugs that looks as good as Jason’s.
What makes Jason a great teacher?1. Depth of knowledge. He has been weaving for 20 years and has only woven rugs. He is truly an expert at all of the techniques he teaches.2. 10 pages of hand outs. Somehow I feel I get my monies worth, if I have paper to take with and refer to later.3. An hour and a half lecture in the morning, and an hour lecture in the afternoon. He is very informative and has a great sense of humor. We laughed a lot. And he is sooooo patient.4. Constantly paces the classroom never letting you get tooo far down the wrong road. After taking this class, I would say that all of us really appreciated the skill and strength needed to make one of his beautiful rugs, and that we believe we can weave a rug — using one or two or more of the techniques he taught us.
All of the rugs on Jason’s website are done on a four shaft loom — WOW!!!! Of course the looms have been modified to suit the needs of a rug weaver and the shaft switching system has been perfected for production and quality. All of the techniques learned can be applied to any type of weaving, that is, you could design placemats using the learned structures.
I am in awe. I would recommend that you do not pass up the opportunity to learn from him what he learned from his father if ever he comes to your town.
As in all things: the more you know, the more you realize you don’t know. Prior to the class, I began reading the Techniques of Rug Weaving–and now I am motivated to read and or own all of Peter Collingwood’s (Jason’s father and mentor) books, not because I intend to learn the techniques, but because the DEPTH of knowledge is overwhelming.(no words to express)How blessed the weaving world is to have you Mr. Peter Collingwood.Sammie