It’s always fun to stay with friends.  It’s even more fun to meet up with like-minded individuals from all over the country who get together for a learning experience.   This week some of the UK Complex Weavers met up at Handweavers’ Studio for a study day with Marg Coe.  It was a full-on day of brain work, dealing with computers that didn’t want to behave (as usual!), shopping opportunities (always way too tempting), and catching up with each other.  Marg was patient, fun and very giving.  I came away with sudden flashes of inspiration of how to achieve things I’d been mulling over, and with insights of a different way of working with Photoshop. 

Earlier this autumn, you may remember I posted about a trip to Devon for Alice Schlein’s workshop.  The two workshops may well have been on the same subject – using Photoshop for designing – but the two approaches were different.  Both had lots of useful content, and it is really interesting for me to see how results can be obtained via two different directions. 

One of the great delights for us all is that it was a rare opportunity for us Complex Weavers members in the UK to get together!  We all live so widely spread, and we have such different areas of interest, that it usually just isn’t feasible to get together.  12 of us, out of 27, were able to meet up, sometimes for the first time!  People came from Scotland, Holland, the south coast, east and west of the country and of course, the middle!  All united in wanting to learn. 

In case you don’t know about Complex Weavers, let me tell you a little about the organisation.  Catering for all weavers who have a desire to delve deeper and learn more, CW is an international body, based in the US, that has over 800 members worldwide.  There are a huge variety of study groups, which members are encouraged to belong to.  Each study group has its own requirements, with maybe a minimum of an e-newsletter article from each participant per year, and some have physical fabric sample exchanges.  There are varying numbers of people in each group.  The dues vary from group to group.  You don’t have to have a multitude of shafts, although quite a few of us work with more than 8.  It varies from study group to study group.  Every quarter, each member receives a Journal which has general articles, CW news and also featuring one or more of the study groups. 

Every 2 years, Complex Weavers hosts a seminar series for its members, with the next one to be held in Washington DC in September 2012.  The seminars are limited to around 150 – 175 participants and the atmosphere is amazing!  CW is like a wonderful weaving family!  The seminars are all delivered by members, and there are usually around 5 or 6 seminars all going on at the same time!  It’s a wonderful opportunity to find out what’s really at the cutting edge!  There are social events as well, and even the business meeting AGM is fun!!  When registration opens, it’s like a feeding frenzy!!  The last time all the places were filled within 2 days!!  So keep an eagle eye open for the registration opening if you want to ensure you get a place!

Some people think that Complex Weavers isn’t for them, and for some, that’s true – it’s not for you if you prefer to follow recipes, for example.  But if you have a curiousity about weaving, or a desire to learn more about history, or how to weave tied weaves, or an interest in jacquard, or kumihimo, or old manuscripts, maybe exploring double cloth, or garment construction from your weaving, there is a group to suit you.  You don’t have to belong to a study group, but it’s one of the big benefits of the organisation.  The wealth of experience and sharing is awesome!  But no-one need feel inadequate!  Encouragement is the name of the game, and enthusiasm is the password! 

I have no hesitation in stating that Complex Weavers has been the best thing for my weaving development!  I joined in 2002 and was made to feel welcome immediately.  My first CW Seminars was in 2006, and I felt enveloped by this wonderfully warm, sharing, caring community.  I will always do my utmost to attend CW Seminars because of its amazing camaraderie, the sheer amount of knowledge, generosity of spirit, and engagement of everyone, united in a tremendous love of weaving and respect for each other’s knowledge. 

If you are interested in finding out more about Complex Weavers, do visit the website or click here for joining info.