Friday, March 28, 2008

Virtual Weaving-Seattle Weavers Guild

Yesterday was the Seattle Weavers Guild meeting. The program for the day was presented by Jannie Taylor. There is a lovely bio on her at Look under "workshops" and then "teacher profiles".
The subject of the presentation was on weaving software, what is available and how it all works. She hooked her computer up to the digital projector and opened and discussed a few of the more common weaving software programs and was actually able to show us how they work. She is an engaging and entertaining speaker. Lets face it, for some, the topic of software and technology isn't as exciting as discussing weaving techniques and color. She never gave us a dull moment. Actually, Jannie was discussing weaving techniques and color, just in the context of using weaving software.
There was one or two particular points that she made that I thought were completely spot on. She pointed out, or reminded us, that there is a learning curve to practically every new skill we try and using weaving software is no exception. She suggested approaching learning the software as play. Play with it for 10 minutes a day or so, make a mess and then get rid of it. One will be surprised how soon you can learn to use the software doing this. She also cautioned about expecting to get new software and design fabric for a wedding dress the first time out.
She pointed out how we adults tend to be focused on having a tangible outcome rather than just playing around with things. I have to agree with her although I am one of those people who do a lot of playing around whether it be on the computer, dyeing, weaving, music, climbing, etc. I have many things that don't turn out well because I thought I would try out a "what if ". When I do have a success, I consider all of the "goofs" to be part of that success. I include the cost of materials in this. That means the first time I produce something wonderful, it costs a lot more in materials than the next time I produce it. I usually approach workshops with the idea of what I can learn and what can I try that is new to me rather than what wonderful fiber thing I will bring home. I even go to the extent of picking colors that I don't particularly like or use often. That means the things I bring home from workshops are not usually suitable for framing!
I must admit though, it isn't always easy to do this. Sometimes I would love to be able to pull something fantastic off in one go. When that does seem to happen, I have to admit that it was more the result of previous hard work coming together than any super talent that I have. What does that mean? It means the previous hard work and time needs to have been put in place. So play, make mistakes, ask "what if?". Have fun, scream and yell in frustration, scream and yell in triumph! The rewards are so worth it.
In the meantime, I am going to reconfigure my weaving software (long story) and get it set up to do a bit of virtual weaving.
Happy playing! -Renee

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