A year into the pandemic now, in-person meetings, classes and workshops are still canceled or postponed. We are still staying home more than ever, shopping in-store infrequently, ordering take-out food rather than dining in restaurants, working or learning remotely and spending lots of time in front of screens.
This past winter, several opportunities came up to take online courses, join Zoom meetings of like-minded folks and learn by watching videos until my eyes wore out. The weather outside was cold and wet, my studio was cold, so what else could I do? I signed up for Slow Fiber Studios‘ streaming Conversations with Cloth. I enjoyed Season 1 so much, I signed up for Season 2. What a great opportunity to hear and learn from the world’s leading experts on shibori and artful dyeing! There are only two episodes yet to stream, but if you missed the series, you will be able to download the entire program later this year. Check the website and/or get on the mailing list to be kept up to date.
At about the same time, I was perusing the offerings of Maiwa School of Textiles, which always has fascinating workshops, and discovered they were offering online courses, so I signed up for their Journey into Indigo. It’s a detailed set of how-to videos accompanied by Q&A between instructors and students from all over the world. Even experienced dyers will find there is always something more to learn. Another set of online workshops starts next month; mark your calendar if you are interested and try to register early.
My local weaving guild has a wonderful lending library of books and DVDs. Following pandemic protocol rules for checking items out, I am able to “try before I buy”. Just recently I have been reading Liles‘ and Boutrup/Ellis‘ books on natural dyes, as well as watching Michel Garcia’s Natural Dye Workshop No. 4: Beyond Mordants. It is 4 hours of DVD lecture/demos, with many “why didn’t I think of that?” moments, as well as almost more information than you can stand about “green chemistry” and sustainable production methods. Having now tried this one, I am sure I will buy.
Spring has sprung now and soon I want to be outdoors, planting my garden and later up to my elbows in indigo. While many states are starting to open up, giving us hope to resume our normal lives soon, there are undoubtedly going to be restrictions in place for a while longer, so you may want to make note of some online or distance learning opportunities you have yet to take advantage of. Here is a (by no means exhaustive) list of organizations that have traipsed through my email inbox lately. Don’t ever stop learning!