Vivian Ross-Smith reflects on the series of weaving workshops she delivered at Annsbrae.
The purpose of this series of workshops was to provide the participants with an understanding of weaving, with the aim of continuing the craft in their own time if desired. We enjoyed 6 hour-long sessions at Mareel for the project.
Our first gathering was used to get to know each other and discuss the project ahead. We were a small group of just three participants which proved to be ideal for the workshops, allowing us to really discuss our ideas and dedicate time to each others' work. I showed the group a simple loom we would make ourselves during workshop time and we all had a discussion about ideas of shape, colour, and layout for our woven pieces.
At the start of the next session it was time to make the looms. We used a simple technique that anyone can do at home, setting pins equally in place at the top and bottom of a wooden board all ready to warp up. Then the fun part of starting to weave could begin! The participants chose beautiful colour combinations and experimented with various weaving techniques. As the sessions went on, everyone grew in confidence and ability. If any errors were made whilst weaving everyone was able to quickly spot and correct them, which showed a real understanding of the process.
For two of the participants, weaving was a new experience. They both took to it very positively, quickly appreciating the therapeutic benefits of the craft. One of the participants, however, had done a lot of weaving in the past, but hadn't had a chance to do any recently. It was lovely to see her getting back into it and she was delighted to have rekindled her passion. She brought in her own personal loom to use in the classes and even loaned a spare one to another participant to try out.
Everyone was very keen to learn from each other and share their own craft and artwork, with at least one participant taking along something each week to show the group. During the final session, everyone was asking for more! Each participant has taken their loom home to carry on weaving in their own time, and I am sure they will each continue to produce beautiful work.
The workshops have encouraged me to come out and talk to people and show what I've done. I was withdrawn before, but I speak to a lot of people now. We were all on the same level at the workshops and treated equally.