In to the Hands of the Next Generation
Last Friday I left Maine early in the morning to head out to Rochester, NY for the weekend. It's not a trip unfamiliar to me because my third son, Peter, is an engineering student at RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology), but I wasn't visiting Peter. In fact, I could not visit Peter this trip because he is on co-op semester working for a company in North Carolina right now and through the summer. No, I was visiting the RIT Hooks & Needles Club to teach them rug hooking. Saturday at lunch time I was greeted at the local Macaroni Grill by Mirjam, Felix, Elizabeth, Theresa, and Cathryne, the executive board of the club. We had a wonderful Italian lunch and got to know a little bit about one another. One thing that was completely clear was that these young women, from different parts of the country (even the world), studying different college majors, and with a variety of interests were all avid fiber artists. Between them they knit, crochet, cross stitch, needle felt, and engage in other creative pursuits. They talked about their oversized yarn stashes (some things are universal) and about what fiber art meant to them in their lives. By the time lunch was over, I knew I was going to have an interesting and good day with them. They had reserved a great classroom space for us on campus and they helped me set up the room. It was Accepted Students Day at RIT, so there were a lot of visitors on campus, and some of the students we were expecting for hooking had gotten commandeered to serve as volunteers for the day. As a result, our class size was smaller than anticipated, but I did not mind. The mission of getting rug hooking in to the hands of the next generation is worth the trip, whether there are five students or twenty five students. I felt that having these young women create their own designs would accomplish two things. One, it would give them a chance to learn how to get a pattern on linen, on the grain, correctly. Two, it would guarantee that their patterns were things that they could relate to and be excited about. Their design efforts did not disappoint.
- Elizabeth Miller