Something very exciting is happening here in Shelburne, VT, of the fibery, weavy, yarny brand. On this rainy Memorial Day Monday, I’d love to share the news with you.
A couple of months ago, I received an email from the director of the Shelburne Craft School, a wonderful woman named Claire, letting me know that they were bringing weaving back to their programming. Oh my… she had me right there. It was an incredibly welcome email to receive for reasons big and small. In it, Claire explained some of what she was hoping to accomplish and asked if I would I like to talk. Truth be known, I would have jogged my pandemic-fatigued self to her right then and there, but I tempered that urge and like any mature grown up, set a date to meet in my studio nearby on a later date.
When we met, it was difficult for me to contain my enthusiasm. I listened to what Claire’s vision was and marveled at the fact that soon, Weaving and Fiber Art would be offerings at the Shelburne Craft School again. The school had a strong weaving program decades ago. I’m unclear as to why it was stopped. I’ve only heard whisperings about “the day the looms left”, or something like that. At any rate, as we spoke, I realized quickly that while I want to be a part of this most assuredly, I don’t have the weaving expertise to spearhead the vision coming to life. But, I thought of my weaving teacher, Lausanne Allen, who has more expertise in her pinky nail than I’ll ever hope to achieve in my lifetime. I let Claire know I’d be in touch with Lausanne we’d see what unfolds.
Well… receiving Lausanne’s response to my inquiry as to whether she could imagine taking on developing a weaving program at the craft school was probably the closest I’ve come to that feeling you get when you hurriedly open a letter from a someone you’ve missed terribly, or the results of some test… I sped read it and laughed out loud and read it again more slowly… not only was she interested, but she was thrilled out it, too! I’d forgotten this, but Lausanne reminded me that she learned how to weave at the Shelburne Craft School in the 80s and right out of the gate, she had so many ideas and questions and wonderings…
A lot has happened since Lausanne and Claire met. Spaces have been cleared, looms that the school still had from the fateful time the weaving program shut down have been resurrected and Lausanne and I have brought in a couple of our own. The walls have been adorned with Lausanne’s incredible work and other weavings we’ve collected over the years. There’s been cleaning, oiling, de-rusting and untangling. Lausanne has done many hours of research and learning and acquiring of needed items for the school. And me? I get to be Lausanne’s… I don’t know what to call myself… helper? Assistant? Grateful-To-Be-There-Apprentice? I can tell you this: I feel pinch-myself lucky to be a part of this new development in my town, and am thrilled that Claire has the vision she does to bring back such an important part of not just our town’s history, but in my view, an integral part of the story of human making.
If you are reading this with a particular interest in weaving and wonder when might things be lifting off ground at the school, I will be regularly updating you here. And of course, check out the Shelburne Craft School’s website to see all of their offerings. It’s a wonderful place to be, and soon the sounds of beaters beating, shuttles flying, bobbins spinning, and voices whispering to cloth will be filling the air and saturating the old wood of the historic building.