Find joy in the unexpected with Jeannine Glaves at SOAR

SOAR (Spin-Off Autumn Retreat) veteran, Jeannine Glaves, will be teaching Spinning From Jeannine's Grab Bag on Thursday again this year. Join her workshop at SOAR in St. Charles, IL, on October 20-26, 2013, to learn more about her bold and inventive approach to fiber arts. Here she shares a bit about why she spins and what she hopes to share with other spinners. ~Kate.

Jeannine is famous for exploring unusual sources of fiber. Photo: Jeannine Glaves.

When a recent study showed that artists (yes, I believe that includes textile folks) were happier in their lives than non-artists, I knew our secret as spinners was out. I say the more spinners the merrier. Everyone is on a journey through life and at times, it can be challenging. I think spinning can be common ground, making the world a better place. I want to add a sense of humor, too. This day in age, for many, handspinning is a choice. I spin to lower my stress-level—it keeps my world safer—or when I need to clear my mind or problem solve. I also spin to make the exact yarn I need so when I use it, I can relate to my project better. I find added joy when I can tailor a tongue-in-cheek joke in a project. Some of my projects, like a basket woven with shredded money I spun then titled "My Nest Egg", or tea towels using paper yarn spun from used tea bags for the weft, bring a moment anticipation while I watch the viewers' faces light up when they find the joke and then I hear the laugh that follows. Anticipating this reaction lifts my spirits while creating the project. And yes, the towels are usable.

The goals for my Thursday class, Spinning from Jeannine's Grab Bag, are to teach some different techniques for spinning, and to encourage problem solving skills so that the students look at their surroundings and see new possibilities and solutions. Imagine this: fresh corn for dinner one night means there will be corn silk yarn spun and drying before the night is over—it is a lot stronger than milk weed fluff. I find my unusual yarns eventually tell me how they want to be used or they give me ideas for what to try next. The preparation of the materials and the physical act of spinning gets my mind moving from one idea to another or suggesting solutions. My mind doesn't stop working until I find an answer.

Children learn as they play-it's a skill that works for life. This class is about playing to learn and increasing your curiosity. "What if" can lead to many possibilities and a lot more fun. During my workshop, spinners play their way through new techniques and unusual "fibers", and ideas for what to try next evolve. Curiosity and creativity go hand in hand, as humor is added to the mix. 



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