Learning to SOAR: Deborah Behm's experiences as a SOAR scholar

SOAR scholars are asked to submit a report sharing their experiences as recipients and the impact the opportunity has had on their lives. Debroah Behm of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, tells us about SOAR 2012 in Lake Tahoe, California.

Since its inception, SOAR has been on my bucket list.  I could not imagine a more pleasant experience than the opportunity to learn and work with like-minded fibre enthusiasts.  I promised myself that, one day, I would attend.

Time flies and circumstances lead you down other paths.  I attended local conferences over the years, but the SOAR experience eluded me.  That changed when it occurred to me that time was really flying and, if I wanted to get to SOAR, now was the time to make that happen.  With the help of good friends, I applied for a scholarship and, much to my amazement, I received one.  I was off to Tahoe.

Granlibakken Resort is beautiful, a very good place to be when you're snowed in (and we were).  There were fibre aficionados everywhere, from all over the world, from all walks of life, with different levels of expertise, but we came together in our passion for fibre and the many possibilities of working with string.  I was thrilled to meet people I had only read about in Spin-Off magazine and stunned at the talents apparent around me.  Everyone was helpful and kind-the world is better when fibre people are around.

My interest lies in teaching, so I chose to take classes and workshops from people known for their teaching expertise, as well as from people with diverse spinning experiences.  I was not disappointed: Amy Tyler's "Spin/Knit Nexus," demonstrated that accuracy and control in spinning does not have to be painful.  One of the class exercises was to duplicate a yarn Amy had dyed and spun for us with roving she had dyed.  I discovered that I could actually do this and that the process was great fun.

I learned from Michael Cook just how much I enjoyed playing with worms and how simple the process of reeling silk and making mawata can be.  I observed Maggie Casey as she calmly convinced skeptical spinners that spindles are wonderful tools.  Jeannine Glaves is a kindred spirit-Jeannine just "goes for it," a concept that is dear to my heart.  Jacey Boggs has the best process I've ever seen for transitioning spinners from short forward draw to long draw.   The opportunity to observe and learn from each of these instructors improved my spinning and my teaching methods.

What opportunities did SOAR provide me when I returned home?  As a result of the scholarship as well as being named the Evitt Scholar for 2012, I was hired for a ten week residency at a local school to teach tapestry weaving to eighteen students, ages six to eleven.  Earlier this year, the Master Spinner Programme at Olds College in Olds, Alberta, Canada, was re-organized and positions on the instructors' roster were opened to those who have received their fibre training outside of the Master Spinner Programme.  I applied for a position and was hired.  In late June this year, I taught the Beginning Spinners' Course at Fibre Week, in addition to teaching yoga and meditation classes (my other passion) at the College and spent two days sitting in on the Level 1 and Level 2 classes to help me to transition into teaching the levels.  More about the experience here and here.

I never imagined the doors which the SOAR Scholarship opened for me.  What initially had been a way to finance my "bucket list wish" to get to a conference became the gateway to a world of new teaching experiences and opportunities.  I thank Amy Clarke Moore and the rest of the Interweave Team for making SOAR so memorable, to everyone who assisted me in getting to SOAR, to my teachers and to all the wonderful people I met there.  


Deborah Behm

June, 2013    




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