Yesterday’s rigid heddle workshop went well! A quick skim over the feedback sheets revealed that the main criticism was not enough time to learn everything, which isn’t a bad complaint. It could have gone another hour, I reckon. Maybe two, but then I think I would have lost the ability to make any sense at all if it had.
I learned some valuable things:
In the course description I said attendees should know how to warp their loom. I’d planned to help those warping for the variable dent sampler while everyone else tackled the standard warping for the rest. But two students needed assistance with the standard warping, which meant I did not have much time to help the one trying variable dent sampler. What surprised me was that the lack of warping familiarity was due to the weavers coming from a shafted loom background, not because they were raw beginners. One was fine once she had her loom warped, the other did well but progressed more slowly.
Ensure my assistant knows how to do direct warping. (The lovely weaver who was to be mine called in sick – poor thing! But as she doesn’t know direct warping or rh looms it wouldn’t have solved this problem if she’d been able to come.)
Get students to warp their looms beforehand. This would be a shame, as I was able to show them a few ways to make the warping easier. I suspect there’d always be a weaver who signed up then discovered they couldn’t warp and then expected to be shown anyway, or else expect me to show them in my own time before the class. I couldn’t include varident weaving… or could I?
Do a separate rh loom beginner/refresher class.
The organisers of summer school assured me twice that the tables would be the solid kind suitable for clamps. They weren’t. If I’d known they wouldn’t be, I could have come up with a solution beforehand.
Buy clamps with a longer reach and loan them to students on the day.
Get students to warp their looms beforehand. (Ditto on the hitches listed above.)
The temporary shop at the scout hall didn’t have any of the weaving accessories students wanted to buy. The shop at the Guild doesn’t have some of them either. Well, I was only able to get a list of suggestions to them last week, so I wasn’t relying on the shop having anything. But in future it would be good if there were accessories for sale.
Sell the more basic tools myself.
Get my list of suggestions to the shop organisers earlier.
I forgot to take photos!
Get the assistant to take them.
Set an alarm near the end of the class to remind me.
Not all the techniques in some of the samplers are of similar difficulty. Tapestry may be too fiddly for the easy sampler. Krokbragd is harder to understand than the rest of that sampler’s methods.
Review and remake three samplers. Include just three methods on each. Move inlay to easy sampler. Move overshot to texture sampler. Move Krokbragd to an advanced class.
The Schacht Cricket loom was wide enough for the variable dent sampler, but didn’t allow room for chocking the heddles.
I know now that if I do a variable dent workshop I’ll need to get Cricket owners – and probably SampleIt users – to use three heddles instead of four.
Eight was a lot of students to wrangle.
Reduce classes to six unless doing a single technique.
Most of the students asked for the instructions of samplers they didn’t choose. I let them, though I was not sure it was a good idea. They also asked if they could email if they had problems. The notes are written specifically to be used in class, not tacked without any assistance. This could become a problem, if they expect a lot of assistance when they really ought to do another sampler in another class.
Also, some students switched to another sampler midway, which I minded less and could see it was partly because the samplers need tweaking. However, I think this might have given the impression that they didn’t finish something and therefore felt like they hadn’t done enough over the day.
All this might make it sound like the day wasn’t a success. It was. Most of it went to plan and I expected to be adapting on the day and watching for ways to improve. Many of the students were having fun and getting excited about the potential of rh looms, which is the main aim after all. I’ve come away thinking I could teach again, and better, and that the demand for rigid heddle weaving classes is strong.
I just need to work out how and where I’ll do it.