Diana HartzmannSOAR Scholar 2012


SOAR scholars are asked to submit a report sharing their experiences as recipients and the impact the opportunity has had on their lives. Diana Hartzmann of Tulsa, Oklahoma, tells us about SOAR 2012 in Lake Tahoe, California.

It's hard to believe that so much time has passed since SOAR 2012.   Where has the year gone??? So much has transpired in the past months.  

In the early part of November I demonstrated with a friend at the Beavers Bend Folk Festival, something I've enjoyed doing for many years.  My companion had to return to Tulsa due to a family emergency so I made an 8-hour round-trip drive and was back demonstrating at the festival the next morning, this time as a solo act for the remaining two days.  For the first time, the festival presented certain participants with awards and our display received the Best Demonstrators award, based on our display and interaction with the visitors.

Photos courtesy of Diana Hartzmann.

The latter part of November I participated with the "Dickens on The Boulevard" in Claremore, a Victorian inspired pre-Christmas celebration where we dress in Victorian style clothing and demonstrate by being window dressing.  We also answer many questions and let folks know that spinning is still a living and viable craft.

The last of January I taught a drop spindle class for the local Society for Creative Anachronism event and also gave spontaneous lessons to an 8-year-old girl and another lady.  

Recently I finished lace-weight yarn for the Tulsa zoo which I had prepared and spun from one of their Jacob sheep.  This yarn will in turn be used for educational purposes and made into items to be sold to provide funds for the zoo animals.  

For some months I have been meeting with a lady several times a month teaching her to spin cotton on a support spindle.  She's beginning to feel more comfortable with her skills and starting to consider branching beyond just the support spindle.

I am currently President of our local guild, the Tulsa Handspinners, and am also serving as editor. I am also the contact person for anyone interested in our guild and craft and frequently provide information about our guild and craft.  If anyone at work expresses curiosity or interest, I am ready and willing to provide whatever information or encouragement they need.

At nearly every demo I do, one of the questions visitors ask is, 'how much time does it take to fill a bobbin?" A thought came to me recently about doing a display board showing a pyramid diagram of the time involved in each step of the preparation process from the teasing of the wool to the finished yarn.  So, I am in the process of developing this display by taking photos of the steps.

I attend a monthly evening spin-in at a local Barnes & Nobles bookstore where we dress in our regular clothes, showing folks that we are in the 'here & now' and not just relegated to history books and museums.  I often give impromptu spinning instruction or describing the history of our craft.

At the Renaissance festival in Muskogee I demonstrated wheel & drop spinning for 4 weekends.  I participated in a 20 minute 2-person joint Sheep to Shawl demo with questions afterwards for the Friends of the Festival.  I even gave a short spinning lesson to a deaf lady and her daughter, using mime and rudimentary sign language to communicate the process.

I have put together drop spindle instructions and packets for self-guided drop spinning 'classes' for the upcoming local Society for Creative Anachronism event.

I presented the program on drop spinning (which happened to occur on the same day as the SCA event) for my spinning guild, providing instruction and guidance for those who needed it.

I hope one day to be able to attend SOAR again.  This was one of the most incredible weeks in my life with amazing teachers and opportunities.  But until that time, I look forward to drawing on the things I learned and sharing these experiences in the future.  

One of my focuses for attending SOAR was to find ways to become more relaxed in stepping up and teaching the craft.  This means stepping outside my comfort zone of being a wallflower and being more interactive with folks.  It hasn't always been easy but the more I do it, the less scary it is.  

Thank you again for this most wonderful opportunity.

Diana Hartzmann




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