Here on the blog, we often tell you about the amazing and talented guest instructors we are lucky enough to have in the store each season to teach all sorts of skills and projects. Recently, it occurred to me that readers might be interested in hearing a little bit about some of the wonderful people who teach for us on a regular basis – our WEBS Teachers-in-Residence. It seems a good place to start this occasional series is with Leslie Ann, who has begun a free monthly Rigid Heddle Drop-In Session! The next meeting of that drop-in is tomorrow evening, March12th, 5:30pm – 8pm.
Leslie Ann, what are some of the classes you teach here at WEBS?
I teach Introduction to Rigid Heddle and the rigid heddle technique classes – Lace, Pick Up Sticks and Using Two Heddles. I also teach the Beginning Weaving class for multi-harness floor looms. And I teach a few knitting classes, such as the Cornucopia of Cast-Ons and Bevy of Bind-Offs as well as Casts-Ons and Bind-Offs for Sock Knitters. And, of course, I’m now resident weaver for the Rigid Heddle Monthly Drop-In!
What is your general philosophy towards fiber crafting?
I have always loved creating things with my hands and with fibers. I don’t consider myself particularly artistic when it comes to drawing and coloring (as I’m sure my daughter would tell you!), but I love to touch color and to manipulate it with my hands. And I love to make things for other people. I think it’s really special when I knit or weave that I touch every inch of the thread that goes into what I make. I put my good thoughts and energy into the yarn as I work with it and it feels good to know that it will surround the person I make it for. I find that my creativity is kinesthetic – when I touch yarn I want to make something beautiful with it. I am inspired by the feel and color of yarn and the design flows from there.
My philosophy? I guess it has two parts. The first is that I make things to share the good feelings I get from working with fiber. The second is that it’s all about fun –play with the colors, rejoice in the touch, enjoy the process of creation.
We are excited about the addition of rigid heddle to our regular Drop-In line up! Now that you’ve held a few sessions, what can a customer expect to experience when he/she stops by for Rigid Heddle Drop-In?
Rigid Heddle Drop-In is pretty informal. Some people bring their looms and weave, some just come to chat and ask questions. I have my loom there and demonstrate some techniques. We always have show and tell, which is pretty inspiring. Fun and inspiration are my goals for Drop-In! I find that the weavers really enjoy getting together and sharing projects and experiences. It’s usually such a solitary craft, so it’s fun to be with other folks who speak your language and appreciate the work you are doing. So there’s always that sense of camaraderie. People will find a nice open classroom, set up for weaving. It is great to be able to weave with other folks as well as ask questions about your project. I find that I talk a lot! Mostly answering questions, those little things that really make a difference in our weaving – how much to angle the weft, how to tuck in the ends, how to hemstitch. And I find that the group shares a lot with each other – their experiences with different fibers, successes and challenges, great ideas for projects.
What is your favorite thing about teaching Rigid Heddle?
I love getting other people hooked on weaving! And I love when they see how easy it is with a rigid heddle loom. The day starts with lots of questions (and, sometimes, anxiety) but soon everyone is immersed in weaving. And there’s always such excitement when we pull the scarves off the looms! Rigid heddle weaving is so immediate, the process is so fast, that you get that creative gratification quickly. And it’s fun showing people how to take their weaving to new levels using pick up sticks and finger-manipulated techniques. I feel like I’m opening the door to the candy shop. And then I get to see what people create!
If you have any questions about Leslie Ann’s classes or drop-in, feel free to come into the store, or contact Customer Service, for more information.
Let us know in the comments if you enjoyed this teacher profile! Would you be interested in hearing from more of our lovely and talented teaching staff?