Once upon a time I lived among the Amish...
Ever since I can remember my dreams from my childhood, I used to dream of making fabric.
I believe this started when I saw my older sister (7-8 at the time, me 4-5) in Girl Scouts as a Brownie weaving on a backstrap loom, the troop leader said I was too young.
It was too many years later when I finally started on floor looms because in my mind, I could always see the possibilities and what if's.
So, back in 1990, I took a local weaving course but my style of learning did not match the instructor's style, and it was okay - she was still a wonderful person. I am a structure and rule person always, when learning a new skill - so I can push the boundaries after - with decent skills to match what I create. That's just how I work, but it's different for everyone.
So, I searched the back of Handwoven Magazines for places and found one - In Smicksburg, PA, for a week. Not realizing I was going to be living among the Amish in this tiny at the time 2 block community of non-Amish and hundreds of Amish. Some might say culture shock, for me - it was thrilling once I realized what I had literally driven into, the last 10 miles of winding roads with no-signs but trusting the hand-written instructions of go this many miles - turn. And I did.
Kathy was an outstanding instructor, who never used the word "No" which to me was utterly amazing to just hear her speak. I went in with a ton of unresolved issues and expectations due to previous experiences and walked away a changed person forever.
The whole experience of witnessing the daily culture among the Amish after class was over, driving around the countryside, seeing a "quieter" way to live, while hard, it was different and allowed much time for contemplation.
Upon returning, it took me a long time to assimilate into the culture I had known before, in fact I am not sure I ever have. It was a community where I could think, create, and explore unending "what-ifs" that I struggle with now when I am away from my studio for too long. I carry pounds and pounds of my sketchbooks and note journals wherever I go to try and capture those fleeting moments to bring my ideas to fruition later on, that one piece I take away from the experience and I am forever grateful for, my time among the Amish.
Part Two will be about the actual experience of being there - next week. Come join my community. I would love to have you be part of my life. Visit: www.riversedgefiberarts.com and sign up for the newsletter or create a full-blown account to be part of 2020's special offerings. Thank you. Carol & Soft Shoe Louie
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