|part of our gift bags, which were on our beds upon arrival|
Set in the beautiful estate of the Yarra Valley Convention Centre, we were inspired beyond expectation. Organiser Felicia and her army of helpers had thought of every detail to make sure we all had a wonderful experience and got the most joy possible out of our weekend of craft. It was obvious they are passionate about their project, and that passion was infectious.
From a wonderful cross-section of teachers and workshops on offer, to guest speakers, exceptional food - oh, the food! delish and plentiful! - and of course, the stunning natural environment, there was really nothing I would have changed. (except maybe the opportunity to enrol in more workshops - an extra day or three would have been amazing!)
I took three classes - Saturday I spent in dyeing workshops; one for indigo dyeing, the other teaching us how to use natural resources from the environment to dye textiles. Both classes were taught by Julia Billings. In fact, all the workshops I took were taught by Julia. Unplanned on my behalf, but very happy coincidence! If you ever get the opportunity to take one of her classes, don't hesitate.
|examples brought in by Julia - not what we dyed!|
I spent the whole day Sunday learning about stranded colourwork, which was very exciting given my personal interest in the tradition of Shetland knitting practices.
These are the examples brought in by Julia which were stunning, to say the least.
We spent the morning discussing the history and influences of colourwork in knitting, and colour theory. Then we began working up our own designs to be incorporated into a tam, and had some great instruction on technique for provisional cast on's and knitting in the round with yarn in both hands.
This is my progress so far.
I'm smitten. For someone who has always loved traditional knitting, I've really been too scared to tackle it properly, but after this class I feel like the mystery has been removed. I am very much a visual learner, picking up skills much quicker when I'm show in person than trying to work it out from diagrams and descriptions.
There's so much more to discuss about The Craft Sessions, but I'm feeling overwhelmed and finding it hard to put into words exactly the impact the weekend had on me. It certainly was wonderful to be able to spend a whole weekend learning new skills and working on craft-related projects, for sure. But there was something more than that about the weekend for me. I came away with such a sense of clarity about my work, and the direction I want to take it in.
To me, as with so many others, my craft work is more than just a past time, or hobby (I really detest that word, but can't find an apt replacement at the moment). I find the artisan skills and their history incredibly fascinating and they have always played a bit part in my art work.
I've been struggling recently, grappling with where I want to focus my passion and creativity; what I want to "do", and the weekend has really been able to more clearly define this dilemma for me. I'm not exactly sure where this clarity will take me, but I know where I want to focus on moving out of my current employment sector and into something more relevant, more fulfilling.
Big changes ahead, and it will probably take some time to put into place, but the impetus is there, and the will is there. That's all I need for now.