I recently had the privilege and honor to teach at the Midwest Weavers Association 2011 conference, Northern Wefts. It was held at Finlandia University in Hancock, MI . . . on Michigan’s upper peninsula. I had never been fortunate enough to visit the upper peninsula before . . . however, whenever I told anyone where I was going, everyone (and I mean everyone!) that had been to Michigan’s upper peninsula told me how beautiful is was . . . and they couldn’t have been more correct. From the moment I landed in Marquette, MI and was treated to a two-hour drive to Hancock and throughout my week, I got to witness stunning and lush scenes . . . Plato referred to nature as God’s art . . . and I couldn’t agree more after my recent experience.
I was fortunate to teach both a three-day preconference workshop and a two-day conference workshop. During the week, we had mild, grey, and occasionally wet weather . . . It reminded me of home and the weather in the Seattle area that makes it so perfect for weaving. The benefit of the mild weather is that it kept people from wilting in the heat . . . plus, no one seemed to mind being indoors. Fortunately, the weather on the last day was warm and sunny . . . the perfect conclusion to a marvelous conference.
In addition to the joy of teaching, I thoroughly enjoyed so many things . . . I came home with three more shuttles. Bruce with Kessenich Looms really out did himself and I can hardly wait to use the two shuttles I purchased from him . . . one is spalted elm and the other is walnut with a pattern in the grain I just couldn’t pass up. Sheila O’Hara’s keynote address was entertaining and informative . . . and hysterical at times. (Note to Sheila . . . a good speaker always leaves them wanting more and you did that beautifully!). Immediately prior to Sheila’s keynote, Finlandia University’s president, Dr. Philip Johnson addressed us. He was a great example of an accomplished speaker . . . he was brief in his address . . . and he demonstrated respect to his audience when he shared with us he had Googled information about weavers and learned about ‘weaver’s bottom’. It was funny then . . . and I still chuckle about his comments as I write.
I will cherish my fond memories of being at MWA 2011. There’s something about the spirit of fiber folks in the Midwest. They take what comes and make one heck of an event out of it!