Back to the Renaissance: A Day of Learning

Back to the Renaissance: A Day of Learning

On the weekend I had the pleasure of joining the group, Renaissance Women, to learn a new craft to me, but one that has been mastered for years!

We spent the afternoon in Leola’s Studio at Whippletree Junction learning how to dry felt, wet felt, paint and paper weave, and how to weave a rag rug! Now I have to say, I’ve had time to reflect, and if I was to do the dry weave project again, I would approach it so differently. You should have seen some of the incredible creations of the others.

And if you ever thought wet weaving to create those felt balls was easy… well, can I just say, patience is a must in order to succeed! I have a more sophisticated respect for the art behind their creation now that I’ve given it a try.

Here’s my little wet weave ball…

Tell me you can see a red heart, not just a blob! And I thought I’d get 3 balls done. Who was I kidding?

The really cool thing Leola did was have each of us weave a section of the same rag rug as we tried our hand at working the loom. I love that this rug is symbolic of a group of women working together to learn crafts from the past in an effort to keep the art of them alive! I was very grateful to be a part of this, and that the DIYer in me was fed with learning something creative and old, but new 🙂

At the end of the day all our names were thrown into a draw for one lucky winner to receive this very rug! And the crazy thing I still can’t believe is somehow my name was pulled out of the hat! Not a rabbit, but my name!

I was blown away, super excited, and a little in shock.

Isn’t it hard to believe this rug was created by the hands of over a dozen women? 13 sets of creative hands working on one project. I love how cheerful it is, the colours and variations, the solo chevron stretching toward the middle… I think it speaks to the sharing, caring, cooperative nature of the group.

The rug had to be cut off the loom, and most of the ends still have to be knotted and trimmed. Leola patiently showed me how to knot off the ends, and now finishing the rest is up to me!

Leola's Studio - Cowichan Valley

A special thank you to Leola for her patience and guidance while never losing her wit! To Heather, founding member of Duncan’s Renaissance Women for inviting me in, and to each woman in the group for making me feel welcome.

For a collection of photos from the afternoon, you will find an album on Renaissance Women’s FB page. You can even ‘Like’ the page if you like! 😉

Thanks for stopping by!

Photographs by Sheila Zeller

16 thoughts on “Back to the Renaissance: A Day of Learning”

  • Sheila,

    I don’t care what anyone says, it’s a heart. Given the complexity of the task, the resulting heart ball is exceptional.

    Pleasure sharing my table with you. See you at the next one!


    • The afternoon was so full of positive energy, and I know I’ll never look at felting the same way again! If I ever try it again, I now have a much better idea of what to expect, and how I would approach a new piece…

  • What an adorable little heart ball! I will admit….I love felted anything, and I’ve always wanted to learn how to make a rag rug (will I, hmm that is another question, lol), but there’s something so homey I love about them…sounds like such a fun experience Sheila:) Awesome!!

  • I am so happy about the “renaissance” idea and sad at the same time. Am I so old that these things are called renaissance? The rug is in beautiful colours and the felting is so powerful. What is the size of your wonderful rug? I had a little hand loom as a child to make little runners and things; weaving is in our family
    It is so great that some of the old???? crafts are still surviving , thanks to a few great woman!

    • Oh my, no! It’s not that you are so old – are you kidding me? It’s that women like you are a treasure to women like me, because we need to learn from those who do ‘it’ best! Yes, you are one of those who do ‘it’ best…

  • That is such a cool experience. I love that you made it along with a group of other ladies and now you own it. Every time you look at that rug you’ll remember the experience of being part of that group. How truly cool is that???

    • It was such a great afternoon, and so nice to meet a new group of people. You would’ve loved it, and I bet you would’ve mastered the projects at hand without even shifting gears 🙂

  • I remember making 3 little wishing rocks when I tried my hand at felting with the needle. I love them but just don’t have time to do it all the time. I love my rocks though. As for that rug you won, I just love that it was lovingly made. Gosh, I wouldn’t want to step on it!!!!!

    • Tracey, that’s so cool! I love that you still have your little wishing rocks. I hear you on the time factor – we were warned that patience was required, and right away I wondered how that was going to work out for me 😉 As for stepping on the rug, I confess, I’ve got it laying across the back of my couch. I’m not sure it will hit the floor, and I’ve actually been wondering about turning it into a wall hanging instead. We’ll see…

  • Wow Sheila! I love that! The rug is absolutely charming and beautiful. I’m going to check out the group. Maybe I could come up and play next time! Such a great idea, and I KNOW how hard felting is too! I thought I’d just whip up some pom pom garland last year at xmas. Hah! not. Whipped out the band aids instead. Thanks for sharing!

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