Molly Elkind’s “Weave a Minime” Workshop at Convergence

This summer was so packed with writing and weaving and family activities that important days seem distant, as other experiences layered on top. My experience at the Handweavers Guild of American Convergence Conference in Knoxville, Tennessee, began with a workshop with Molly Elkind. Molly used the small, quickly-woven tapestries of Sheila Hicks as a jumping-off point for her day-long workshop, “Weave a Minime.” We used these woven “sketches” as inspiration for a day of improvisatory play at our looms.

She showed a slide of a wonderful free-form, wiggly, slit-filled minime, inspiring in its exploratory freedom. That’s what I’ll emulate, I thought, and after a year of following my cartoons carefully to weave four tapestries in bold, clear colors, I’ll stay neutral in my palette. I love the big slits of the Hicks piece. I love the irregularity of the weaving.

One of Sheila Hicks’ small weavings, taken from the internet. It may not be the one that Molly showed.

That was a good plan. I started out with some long slits. But my inclination to weave square won out. My love of geometry and pattern prevented irregular edges.

And sparkly yarn seemed tempting. And pink. They joined my pile of yarn, and my original intent to remain neutral disappeared.

It was a joy to experiment with techniques and types of yarn. I liked the effect of weaving over-one, under-one, and then using the same yarn to weave over-two, under-two, as in the center gray square below.

I loved the effect of weaving lines of soumak on a flat weave.

I planned to make the piece rectangular, but with the seminar I was teaching, and another workshop, coming up, I decided that square was good enough.

The result made me happy, but I doubted it needed to be framed. I sewed a lining to the back, and it now lies on my desk as a reminder of a fun day, a luxurious few hours of testing techniques and playing with color and texture.

Drawing by my granddaughter Coralie LaFleur

There were quite a few students in the class, which made it fun to see the variety of experiments. Molly Elkind is an excellent instructor; she spent the day answering questions and showing techniques. With Covid concerns at the conference, everyone was masked, which I found frustrating. I really hope we don’t find ourselves in the same position in future conferences, as it detracted–in my opinion–from getting to know the other students who were sharing the day together.

If you have a chance to take this workshop from Molly Elkind–or any of her others, really–snap it up!