In Praise of Weaving Teachers, Part 1

Teacher of the Year, Joyce Robards

Teacher of the Year, Joyce Robards

Weaving teachers are amazing. I don’t know that I say it enough, but it really is true! I remember fairly well my first weaving class and learning how to warp a loom for the first time. It was a lot to take in, but my teacher was right there, ready to answer questions or to help me fix any mistakes. Good weaving teachers are absolute weaving heroes. They take something that can be absolutely terrifying to a new weaver (warping and cutting cloth off the loom come to mind) and put you at ease. They teach us new techniques and better ways to weave. They explain weave structures to us in ways that let us understand how they work and then they give us the tools to design. It’s astounding.

This is why Handwoven is proud to give out the Handwoven Weaving Teacher of the Year award, sponsored by Halcyon Yarn. This year we were especially happy to give out the award to two different teachers and to feature profiles on them in both the January/February and March/April issue. The first teacher I spoke two and profiled was Joyce Robards who teaches mostly through the Weavers Guild of Rochester in New York.

Joyce started out as a middle school art teacher who did what she could to incorporate weaving into her curriculum, although back then it was using frame looms made from picture frames and nails. Lucky for both Joyce and her students (and for those of us today), she was given a sabbatical to study textiles and to hopefully build an elective program for her students and get a Master’s in Education at the School of the American Craftsmen at the Rochester Institute of Technology. There she was able to transfer many of her previous credits in education and focus on fiber—I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks this sounds like an absolute dream come true!

While corresponding with Joyce about her teaching and her weaving I understood completely why so many of her students nominated her for Teacher of the Year. She was so full of enthusiasm for teaching, for her students, and for learning—it was downright infectious! I’m so glad to be able to honor Joyce this year, and you can read more about her in our January/February issue. (And stay tuned for next Wednesday’s newsletter to learn more about our second weaving teacher of the year.)

Part of the reason Handwoven has been able to put out such great content year after year for so long (we’re entering year 37) has been because of excellent weaving teachers who keep the craft alive and who keep their students excited and engaged.

Thank you and Happy Weaving,




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