It started over a year ago when I asked the membership of Black Sheep Handweaver’s Guild what kind of workshops they might be interested in, and who they might want to have come teach. The overwhelming response was to have Jason Collingwood come from the UK and teach us about rug weaving. So I started on the quest to see what his schedule was and whether we could fit it into our schedule.
He’s actually very easy to track down, with having a web presence at http://www.rugweaver.co.uk. He even answers emails in a timely manner! We hashed out a weekend that would work for both of us, which was last weekend Oct. 10-12, almost exactly a year after first contact.
Eight people from our Guild and adjoining areas gathered with their looms and enthusiasm in my living room, to learn the techniques of rug weaving first taught by Jason’s father, Peter Collingwood. Peter’s book, Techniques In Rug Weaving is a classic, and Jason having been taught by his father, is continuing the tradition of making quality rugs by hand.
We had a great time! Jason’s relaxed style and unending patience with us repeating the same questions over & over, he had us weaving samples of rugs in no time.
Rug weaving isn’t really that difficult, but for all of us there were new techniques to be learned and trying to wrap your head around them was sometimes daunting. I found myself more than once staring at my loom and this little piece of weaving, wondering what the hell I’m doing, or what was I going to do. During those times, I’d also look around the room and was rather relieved that I wasn’t the only one with that look of concentration.
Now I bet some of you are wondering why the hell weave a rug? There are many rugs you can buy out there that are quite adequate to cover the floor. Well my answer to that is, why not weave a rug? I’m at a place where I’m exploring with my weaving. I’ve been weaving with fine threads over the summer, and have made some very cool scarves that I’ll be selling at shows this winter. It was time to try something different to see if I liked it.
I learned lots of new techniques in this workshop that I’ll use in other areas of my weaving and I’m thinking that after the first of the year I’ll explore it even further. It may not be rugs that I make, but wall hangings, because some of the work I’ve seen of Jason’s is really exceptional and I’d love to have some textile art on the wall.
For now, I have this sweet little piece that’s about 12″ wide and 20″ long to refer to. I’ll be using it for a table runner or maybe as a wall hanging.
It was a great weekend and I’m still ruminating over all the things I can make with this very different type of wool. Thanks Jason for the inspiration!
For all the weavers that might be interested, Jason will be teaching a three day workshop on 3 End Block Weaving next year at the CNCH conference, April 9-12, 2015 at Asilomar on the Monterey coast. You too can learn how to make an amazing rug.