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Sunday, May 8, 2011

Day One of the Jason Collingwood workshop on Twills at Vavning Studio

Yes, we are here in lovely Shopiere, WI ... a tiny village with one bar, one restaurant and an old Methodist Church.  My friend, Juanita Hofstrom, and her husband Norm bought the church and renovated it into a studio, called Vavning.   www.vavningstudio.com   

I drove the motorhome from home down 35 miles as far as UWGB,  Then I waited for Steve to get done with his day.  We hooked up the Tracker, he hopped in the driver's seat and off we went.  Bottlenecked around Appleton to Oshkosh with construction and we were driving on 4 hours of the roughest Wisconsin roads, argghhh.  I have not remembered Highway 26 being that bad, so I assume it will be next in the construction phase.

We got to the studio about 6:30 and said our Hellos to everyone.  Steve was craving fish fry from the little bar down the road, so we dashed over for a quick treat.  After all his driving, he deserved it!

I moved my loom into the building in my area, near the kitchen.  See... for this weekend, I am the "Aide De Comp" as Juanita called me.  But I prefer the term "Kitchen Wench"!    LOL ... I help with the coffee pots, tea water, snacks and goodies throughout the weekend.  Plus, on Monday, the final day of the classes, I whip up a lasagna dinner for the troops.

We hit the rack on Friday night all cozy in our motorhome. I went to sleep with a smile on my face and weaving in my heart.  Although I will be missing my kids and grandkids on Mother's Day this weekend, I will see them all soon.  Plus they can spend the day with their spouses' moms and not feet torn between this one and that one.  This is a nice treat for me, and I attend these classes once a year.   This is my 8th year attending. One year it was a two weekend class, with a week off in between.  Steve went back to work and I stayed here on "vacation" with my weaving friends!

Here are my blogs from last year:
Jason Collingwood Weaving Conference 2010 part one
Jason Collingwood Weaving Conference part two and three
after the conferece, getting back home again

Juanita lets us park our motorhome right in her lot next to the studio.  That saves on needing a hotel room, paying for restaurant meals, doggie boarding and running back and forth from the larger city, Beloit, where the hotels are located.  So it's a win-win situation for us to bring the motorhome.

The teacher, Jason Collingwood, has been coming here from Great Britain every year to teach various techniques of Rug Weaving.  http://www.rugweaver.co.uk/    His classes are informative, fun, hands on, and enjoyable.  He makes learning easy, with patience for the beginner and challenges for the intermediate or experienced weaver.

Saturday morning dawned a bit rainy and damp, and I got up early and dashed in the building to get the big coffee urns going, set out some treats and make up some deviled eggs from a few dozen farm fresh eggs. Juanita's daughter, Melanie has a farm and sent over the free range chicken eggs with colored shells of every hue.  Amazing and they tasted wonderful!

Folks gathered for the class, a dozen this year.  We set up our looms in the lower portion of the church, the weaving studio.  Juanita's husband, Norm, is a photographer and uses the upper portion as his gallery.  They were there, with smiles on their faces, greeting new people, and we got the day started with a lecture in the upper portion of the church.

Once the lecture portion was done, we took our notes and ideas and went to work on our looms.  Most folks brought their own looms, but Juanita also *rents out* table looms, pre-warped, for those who came far distances or don't own a small loom for workshop ideas.  We later take these new skills and ideas home to weave large rugs on our big looms.

Juanita also gave us some gifts...  her creative husband Norm photographed various scenes in the studio, and through the magic of manipulation, made these wonderful photo prints which they framed and gave to each participant.  Mine looks like hearts in the middle, but really it's the tip of a shuttle lying on a warped loom! 

(Blatant commercial here--- Juanita makes these lovely shuttles and they can be ordered by contacting her at the website listed above) 

And here is a special one she made for a fellow weaver, John, and it's just wonderful to see her creativity!

We wove, we figured, we laughed, we ate....   special Rugtalk friend, Katie had lunch with us out in the motorhome.  Steve was kept busy doing a few projects around the studio for Juanita, and babysitting the doggers.  He walked around the little village (about four blocks long)  and enjoyed hitting a few rummage sales in the nearby towns.   

He also brought me THIS for Mother's Day!

Kinda hard to hide a 2 foot tall orchid in a 38 ft long motorhome!  LOL ... so I got it early.  I have never had an orchid before and will be careful to follow the instructions to keep it going.  Gosh, it's so elegant and beautiful!  What a sweetie.  

We had a swap meet and Show N Tell session during the evening after supper was over.  I will post the pics from that later.  It's now Sunday Morning and I have to get back into the studio and get that coffee going!   I opened my cards from the children and will be seeing them soon too.

And to all of you mothers out there.....


  1. Happy Mother's Day to you to Karen,Good to see you are enjoying your weaving weekend, also a good thing they have one tavern in town, you won't have trouble tracking Steveo down.Be safe out there. Sam & Donna.

  2. I remember your retreat from last year. It must be very enjoyable for you folks that are into rug weaving. :)

  3. Sounds like you are right in your element. Enjoy your weekend. Happy Mother's Day!

    Kevin and Ruth

  4. Dang - Dang - Dang... Wow loved your blog TODAY!! I have to re-read tomorrow it was so good!!

    Happy Mother's Day..

  5. Thanks for posting all of the photos! Those I have taken will obviously not have me in them so now I have visual proof I actually was there. ;)


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