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After modest temperatures and gray skies, I finally found a little summer . . . and it was in Durango, CO . . . where I recently went to teach at the Intermountain Weavers Conference (IWC).  Every once in a while, I like a road trip . . . especially when I teach.  It requires me to prepare a little earlier, I can take everything I want, and the drive lets me relax and I show up rested and excited about teaching . . . plus, I can avoid those pesky and frequently invasive TSA security screenings.

Before arriving in Durango, CO I had a little excitement.  First, while on my way on the first day, my car (1997 Ford Explorer) turned 200,000 miles . . . a major milestone for any car.  My car has been a great car and this trip was no different than any other trip.  Trouble-free and comfortable.  I even kept an eye as the miles rolled along and stopped to take a picture at 199,999.  It’s a goofy thing to do . . . but, then I like doing goofy things.

The day I was to arrive in Durango, CO began in Grand Junction, CO.  After a good night’s rest, I headed off excited to know my next stop was IWC.  What I wasn’t aware of was how exciting and slightly unnerving my trip was going to be.  While working my way south, I monitored the GPS.  It looked odd for quite a while because the numbers were showing it was going to take me longer than I would have expected considering the number of miles left until I reached my destination.  And then I found out why . . . I was getting read to drive through the Red Mountain Pass!  There are steep grades, tight turns, and very few guard rails . . . and they seem to go on and on.  I can’t remember the last time I had such an exhilarating drive  . . . It’s an ominous drive, but the magnificent views are stunning and well worth the effort.

After my mountain adventure (which cried out for me to play John Denver’s Rocky Mountain High which is loaded on my iPod) , I arrived at Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO at an elevation over 6,500 feet where IWC was being held.  Hauling luggage, teaching supplies, and the floor loom I took at that elevation is a little concerning since I live near sea level and I’m too young (or delusional) to want to huff-and-puff my way around campus.

IWC was exceptionally well-organized and the scenery was unbelievable . . . as though the entire conference had been plopped down in the middle of a movie set.  I was there to teach my workshop Pictures, Piles, Potpourri, & Perplexing Curiosities.  It’s a weaving workshop that is a smörgåsbord of weave structures . . . a weaving tasting menu of sorts.  The workshop is designed for intermediate-to-advanced weavers . . . but, it’s also for  ‘adventuring-seeking beginners’.  The workshop participants were more than ready for the challenge and wove some truly spectacular samples.  Below are just few examples of what they accomplished.

Corduroy samples before getting cut apart

Velvet (with a little uncut velvet pile to create contrast)

Images of thistles woven in swivel

It seemed IWC was over almost as quickly as it began . . . but, what an experience!  Not only did I get to teach a workshop for a great group of weavers . . . but, I was fortunate to spend time with other fiber artists.  The keynote address was delivered by Yoshiko Wada . . . and I’m more inspired than ever to do some new things.  You can learn about her at the following link  http://yoshikowada.wordpress.com/.  I’m rarely in completely and total awe of someone, but she had me captivated and wanting more after she concluded her presentation.  The fashion show was just want it should have been . . . fun and full of life!  The fashion show’s commentator was the extraordinary Anita Mayer.  Between her delivery style and the liveliness of the models the garments were brought to life.

After IWC came to a conclusion, I headed home with fond memories and completely impressed with how well IWC went.  The nice thing about teaching at a conference is that I often leave with less than I took . . . with my load a little lighter I hit the road to witness the beauty of this wonderful country.  The drive was easy . . . roads dry and the skies clear . . . the only blemish on the entire trip was the speeding ticket I received in Burley, ID while searching for a cup of coffee . . . but, then a gal can always use another memento as a way to remember an outstanding adventure.

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Comments on: "Rocky Mountain High at the Intermountain Weavers Conference (IWC)" (6)

  1. Patty Savignac said:

    Hi Robyn,

    I can’t see what I’m writing on the screen – it’s all black. I loved reading your comments and seeing the pictures of your students’ work at the conference.

    Patty Savignac

    • loomchick said:

      Thank you again, Patty! I appreciate everything you did in making IWC such a success!

  2. Marnie Magner said:

    We really enjoyed having you in Durango. Glad you had a new adventure driving down and home. The samples in your class were wonderful. Being on the board I missed taking a class so hope to hit one of your classes sometime.
    M

    • loomchick said:

      It’s unfortunate that so many people that worked so hard to put on such a wonderful conference were not able to attend any of the classes. IWC was so well organized and all of the hard work really showed!

  3. It was great to meet you at the conference Robyn! That road from Silverton to Durango is something else, eh? Love it, but avoid it in the dark or snow!

    • loomchick said:

      You’re so correct! Not only is the road from Silverton to Durango something to experience . . . but, the drive from Ouray to Silverton is amazing. It was one of the most intense driving experiences I’ve ever had!

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