“My interests include weaving, reading, listening to and playing music, outdoor activities such as canoeing, going birding, collecting seashells, and swimming with dolphins. I also have designed a small-scale children’s book project which I do out of my home office.
“I began taking weaving classes about twenty-six years ago. I have had the joy of working with two excellent teachers at the Fine Line Creative Arts Center in St. Charles, IL. It is a wonderful place to learn new art forms to love. One’s teachers, classmates, and others at the center are all very supportive of each other as we gain success with new goals and skills. It was challenging to figure out ways to create complex braille weaving patterns and work out techniques so that I could do the entire weaving process independently–measuring the yarn, threading the loom, and finally having the joy of throwing shuttles and having my fingertips discover the complex patterns coming alive on the loom. At first I only worked with textures, keeping the color schemes simple. But my current teacher, Heather Winslow, has helped me to understand color theory and has encouraged me to work with a variety of colors. I tend to think of them as music—one color might be like a cheerful little melody in a major key, another might sound bold and strong. Add them together and you have a new piece of hand-woven artwork.
“I have begun learning how to do Kumihimo braiding–a complex braiding art form using 8 bobbins in various colors and braiding patterns. My teacher described each movement needed to complete the braiding sequence. I then brailled out the patterns. Once I learned the basic movements of bobbins to create various braids, I then added beads to the mix to create bracelets and necklaces.
“I have also helped to organize eleven 5-day summer weaving classes specifically designed with persons who are visually impaired or totally blind in mind. I create the patterns, braille and large print the handouts, and assist the weaving instructor. We had eight students in our eleventh summer class of 2019 at the weaving studio in St. Charles coming from WI, TN, MN, and IL.”