Everyone learns in their own way.
I went to a very progressive and liberal school from elementary through high school. With no grades or final exams, we were encouraged to learn at our own pace. There was a lot of guidance and coaching from an eclectic group of teachers, of course. But still our flights of fancy were supported. I flourished in that environment, and to this day am grateful to a forum that gave me the wherewithal to pursue so many of my dreams. At A Gathering of Stitches we want to encourage that kind of learning. We want people to be able to follow a whim or a shadow or an idea until they feel they have learned all they want from it’s being. Not to sound all touchy feely, but I believe firmly in the sharing of information and skills, the passing down of heritage and tradition from one source to the next. New England has a deep-rooted history with textiles and fiber. Some of those ways have been forgotten, some lost, but many are alive and kicking in this modern day. Our mission at A Gathering of Stitches is to foster and support those ways in the here and now.
Towards those goals we will offer instruction in three general categories: process; project; and materials. Workshops will be identified by at least one of these attributes. Process workshops will delve into the how and why of a technique. Zipper insertion, darts, short row shaping, cables, and natural dyes are some examples of process. This type of workshop will offer in-depth instruction on techniques and methods, some historical, some modern, using examples of where, and why, you might apply them. Depending on the teacher and the form of the workshop, some process workshops will result in a finished project, or just a handful of samples for you to use as reference at home.
Project workshops will emphasize the completion, or a large way towards the completion, of a particular item, emphasizing the use of techniques and skills along the way. For example we will have workshops in making tote bags, skirts, hats and baby quilts. It stands to reason that there will be a fair amount of overlap of these two categories, but when you are looking at workshop descriptions, those key words (process, project) will give you a good idea of the focus of that particular offering. The third category is materials. Most of our workshops will probably fit into the first two categories, but on occasion we will offer up the study of a raw material like wool or silk or rayon. Finished items are greatly influenced by the elements they begin as. A wool jacket has a very different feel from a cotton one. Some swear by wool, others break out in hives just thinking about it. I can get lost in this stuff, and so can our teachers. So if you’re like us, there will be all sorts of fun happening at A Gathering of Stitches.
Workshops will be offered at all skill levels from complete beginner to seasoned practitioner. We will keep registration small to encourage personal attention. Offerings will change seasonally, and within the season (more or less) monthly. Workshops will be offered more than once in a season, so if you miss something, chances are you’ll get another opportunity. If there is something you are burning to learn, an offering you don’t see, or a workshop you miss repeatedly (we all have busy lives) let us know and we will see what we can do about it.
Beginning very soon, our workshop schedule will be available online, as will the ability to sign up and pay for them. We are hard at work trying to get it all described, photographed and laid out properly, so that when you go to our website you can find what you are looking for. The first few months may have some hiccups, we hope you’ll bear with us. We want to make A Gathering of Stitches work for all of us, and we know we will with your support.