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Featured Artist: Claudia Segal of Weavolution and Weave On Studio

by The SpinArtiste on August 11, 2011

Publisher’s Notes: As many of you know, I came to making and using hand spun fibers through knitting. My explorations into the world of weaving and its possibilities for using heavily textured yarns could be entitled, “How I Spent My Summer Vacation”.  And, it has been a worthy endeavor.

In the recent giveaway on this site of Lydia Gessele’s wonderful hand-combed Cormo, the question was asked, “What do you want to learn next?” Amongst the many thought-provoking responses were many comments about learning to weave.  So, apparently, I was not alone in being “weaving-curious”.  In a happy coincidence, at the same time, I met Claudia Segal — first online, then in person — and learned about her terrific site, Weavolution.  If you haven’t checked out Weavolution yet or become a member, I hope you will enjoy getting to know more about the site and the inspiring co-founder and fiber artist behind it, Claudia Segal.

Spin Artiste (SA):  Hi Claudia!  Let’s start out by talking about Weavolution — Tell us what it is and what people can find there.

Claudia Segal (CS):  Weavolution.com is the online international handweaving community where you can connect with others who share your passion for the craft.  What you will find there is a vibrant, active community where you can chat in various forums, share you projects and insights and gain inspiration as you browse projects and posted comments from others around the world.

SA:  What makes Weavolution different that other social networking sites?

CS:  It is specifically for weaving with spinning and dyeing being active topics as well.

SA:   What your roles and responsibilities are for the site?

CS:   I am the Managing Partner and co-founder.  I make certain the site is running well and the day-to-day housekeeping is taken care of.  I answer email questions, help people reset their passwords, find their user name, coordinate three teams of volunteer support staff and maintain the daily bookkeeping.

SA:  Tell us more about a day in the life of managing the site.

CS:  It’s busy and it’s sometimes very rewarding. I start out early making certain the site is up and functional and go from there until about 10pm Eastern time. I combine working on Weavolution with caring for the friends I share my life with and my own business Weave On Studio. I answer close to 200 emails, talk with our Cyber-Fiber teachers, plan classes, chat with advertisers, talk to guild Presidents, etc.

SA:   How was the idea for Weavolution born?

CS:  I was tired of being unable to post links and pictures in the weaving bulletin boards that had become my weaving partners. I was frustrated and annoyed and decided to do something about it. I contacted a weaver acquaintance who introduced me to Tien Chiu who was equally as frustrated. My friend, David, came up with the name, and we were off and planning a social network. The goal was to have everything we wanted for hand weaving in one place.

SA:   Tell us more about what one can find on the site and what experience the site delivers.

CS:  Weavolution is unlike many social networks because you can read all the content in the forums and look at all the projects, drafts, yarns and looms without joining. Once you make the decision to join, you can post your projects and drafts, keep track of your stash and looms and converse with friends from around the world. I have become close with several of Weavolution’s regulars.  We met on Weavolution and the friendship came with us off the site as well as on.

SA:   Where should the “weaving curious” folks start out on Weavolution?

CS:  Click on the Groups and Forums in the black bar at the top of every page. Check out the projects, browse everything you can before you join. Then, once you join you have 10 times more content available. You can join Groups that are specific to your weaving, spinning and dyeing interests. You can sign up for classes and learn to weave. If you already weave, you can take a Shadow weave class or sign up for Alice Schlein’s Network Drafting. I can’t wait to take the Sheep to Shawl with Traci Bray. Four months from fleece to weaving yourself a shawl. How cool is that?

SA:  It is very cool and I’m so tempted to sign up!  The education component of the site is really exciting…What are your future plans and goals for Weavolution?

CS:  We are working on a project with our developers to improve several of the input forms such as the project form. We are also looking into new tools for our users. Our main development goal is to improve and increase usability and functionality. We are also planning improvements to the classes page.

SA:  It’s great that your focus is on improving your content rather than just trying to grow the site for the sake of growth.  That shows a strong commitment to your community!

Let’s talk about you as a fiber artist — What do you focus on?

CS:  Weaving and spinning have been my passion for the past 8 years. I still knit but my hands hurt when I do too much knitting, but not when I weave or spin.

SA:  What has been your journey as a fiber artist?

CS:  I learned to crochet when I was 7 and knit at 8. I have knit almost everything, cables, lace, ganseys, hats, scarves, you name it. I still have several afghans I made over 30 years ago. Once I learned to weave and spin, it was pure love. It was like coming home to what I needed all along.

SA:   What inspires you?

CS:  Nature, life, people, anything.

SA:  What is your studio like?

CS:  Organized chaos. I keep it neat but I am always forgetting exactly where I have put things. It’s also evolving as I am as a fiber artist.

SA:  What equipment do you prefer?

CS:  My Glimakra Standard, my Schacht Cricket and my Bosworth drop spindle. I share a spinning wheel with my friend, Janet, but she enjoys it. I use it sometimes but drop spindles speak to me.

SA:   I know you teach also. Tell us about what you specialize in and the classes you are teaching.

CS:  I teach weaving on rigid heddle looms and spinning. I love weaving and my teaching is also my way of learning. As a social worker, I enjoy small classes and focus on learning to warp the loom. Past students have proven to me that once you can warp a rigid heddle loom, you can warp and weave on any loom.

SA:  OK, one last question.   Tell us something about yourself we might be surprised to know.

CS:  I had a 25 year career as a social worker for the local county Child Welfare Services. My specialty is working with families and children with severe disabilities. My oldest son, Matt, was a preemie and diagnosed with cerebral palsy at a young age. He is an active adult, living in his own place with 2 roommates and 24/7 staff and he has a part time job with Giant Food, a local large food chain. Matt has taught me a lot and helped me become a lifelong advocate for people with disabilities. I worked on a Senate committee to write one of the first national laws to provide services to children with disabilities from birth to age 18. I was a parent representative and I loved the work.

SA:  Thanks so much, Claudia, for sharing your inspiring words.  Weavolution is a tremendous resource that I know I will be using and I hope many Spin Artiste readers do the same.  I’m working on my calendar for the Sheep to Shawl class starting on August 27th.  Anyone want to join in on the fun with me?

Until next time, I bid you much fibery goodness, Arlene

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