When I had heard regular participants of the Poatina weavers’ retreat talk about their time there, they seemed to really enjoy both the time away to focus on weaving without life’s day to day distractions, and the companionship of other weavers. As a new weaver, I jumped at the chance to go for the first time this year and give myself the opportunity to experience some ‘Poatina magic’, choosing to attend from Wednesday afternoon to Sunday.
I’m very glad I did. The setting is lovely, other weavers were generous with their encouragement and advice to each other, and the range of skills demonstrated by the group impressive. Although it was not a training course, a few new weavers did need a hand and they received it from more experienced participants. I was able to connect with a number of Guild members who I’d never normally meet and it was delightful.
We were spread over three rooms in the community centre and most brought items for morning tea for when we just needed a break or went strolling to other rooms to see various projects. There was also a coffee shop nearby that opened from Friday to Sunday, so that was an additional space to relax.
The theme was “Texture, Touch and Technique”, although we were also able to go our own way if we wanted. Originally, I was going to do a plain weave sample to see how cotton would weave up. Thanks to Viv, who showed me some new techniques, it became a much more interesting piece; and thanks to the colours from Sue in the Yarn Store, it looks like a landscape with sea, sand, land and clouds, which will now grace the wall at home.
I was amazed at the variety of projects that participants had on their looms and enjoyed talking with them about their ideas and the challenges some of their pieces provided. Some challenges were intentional, others were unfortunate! Weaving certainly does enhance patience, persistence and attention to detail.
Towards the end of the retreat, there was a lovely “Show and Tell” which the community members of Poatina also came along to see. This included an “Exchange”, so if you had a small item you had previously completed, you could put this in a paper bag and submit it and pick out a bag in return at the “Show and Tell”. A great idea.
I would encourage any weavers who haven’t been to Poatina to think about going next year. There is another weekend planned for newish weavers in October. I can only encourage those of you who are new to weaving to attend.