I’m a rebel. A Rebel Weaver, that is. The Rebels are a group of craftspeople, young and old, newbies alongside pros, all united in the love of fibers and textiles. We got our name two winters ago when I was talking for the first time to Sarah at the Farmers’ Market, admiring her hand-spun, hand-dyed, hand-woven textiles on display in her booth.
“Do you ever go to the Guild meetings?”
“No, I don’t really.”
“Those meetings are kind of dull, aren’t they? It’s all business meeting stuff all the time, and not enough fun. I wish they’d do more show-and-tell and less business.”
“I agree. There ought to be another group for people who enjoy more hands-on stuff.”
“We should form a group like that. And we should call ourselves the Rebels, because we’d be rebelling against boring meetings!”
At that moment a voice spoke up from behind my shoulder in the crowd at the market. “Can I be a Rebel, too?” It was Susanne. The three of us agreed to meet in my living room the following month and invite all our fiber-friends and see what happened.
And awesomeness is what happened. More than a year later, the group still meets once a month in my living room, and the show-and-tell never stops. Someone will bring an exotic fiber to share; someone else will demonstrate a new technique, or answer questions from newbies. Everyone brings a spinning wheel, or drop spindles, or support spindles, or an antique fiber gizmo, and the fun never stops. By the time 4:00 rolls around people begin to reluctantly leave. “I wish this wasn’t just once a month,” they sigh each time we depart. “This group does such a lot for me.”
Our most ambitious project to date is what we call “The Challenge.” Inspired by Rebecca Burgess in California, we are each attempting to weave (or knit from handspun yarn) five garments each, and hold a public fashion show and demonstration in the fall. People are bringing in already-completed garments and modeling them for the others. It’s very ambitious, and very inspiring to see the things that the others are coming up with. That’s part of what makes the Rebels such a great experience: when you see what other people are doing, it gives you ideas of your own of how to take that idea and tweak it to suit your own aesthetics. The Rebels group is a cross-fertilization of ideas and expertise, and it’s such a lot of fun!
Last weekend’s meeting ended with me plucking a ripe clementine from the little potted citrus in my window, opening it up and giving everyone a section to savor. People were impressed by how much fresher the fruit tasted when compared with supermarket variety. Well, the Rebels feel the same way to me: fresher, and more alive, than any other fiber group I’ve ever been involved with.
The group has grown to approximately fourteen regulars with more than twenty on the permanent mailing list. If the group keeps growing we might need to relocate when I run out of chairs and elbow-room. When this eventually happens, I hope that the creative and loving vibe of the group travels with it.