Hi there! My name is Marsha Knox and I am an artist and a new resident of Moultrie. In my home town of St. Augustine, Fla., I was very active in my artistic endeavors.

The economy has hit most of us and I am no exception. Due to down-sizing in my former job, I became unemployed. An answer to this situation came when a friend of many years offered for me to come and share a home with her. During that discussion she let me know that Colquitt County had a very active Arts Center and that they might be in need of a weaving instructor. This looked like a great way for me to make my dreams of being involved heavily in the arts come to fruition.

I have indeed become an instructor and will be starting my classes/workshops on Sept. 7. I will be offering beginning classes in Adult Tapestry weaving, Adult Spindle yarn spinning and Adult Peyote Needle bead weaving. All of these classes will start with the very basics and will last for an hour and a half. All classes will cost $50 and most of the supplies will be provided.

Beginner tapestry weaving will be done on an 11 x 14 picture frame that the student brings with them to class. If the student is also taking my beginner spinning class they will be encouraged to use their own homespun yarns. We will be making a mug rug that could also double as a mouse pad for your computer. At the intermediate level, we will actually construct a loom for each student from my own blueprints. The intermediate class will be held for a longer period of time and more detailed weaving will be involved.

Beginner spin class will be done on a Navajo spindle or a drop spindle. After I have demonstrated each, we will determine which spindle the student wishes to build and then they will build their own, or they may use mine while in class.

Beginner bead weaving will be done with a needle and thread and we will be making a bangle bracelet out of “bead soup.” Bead soup is simply mixing all of the color of beads that you choose in one pile and randomly picking them up for stitching. Patterns will be established in the next class offered at the intermediate level. In the intermediate class we will also learn how to create a beaded toggle clasp for their chosen project.

Since I have no formal training and I am self-taught, I thought that I would give you some idea of my art adventure. About 12 years ago a friend of mine, a mentor and an artist in her own right, introduced me to counted cross-stitch. She later showed up at my house with a small Mirrix Bead Loom. On 9/11 another friend of mine, (also an artist and mentor) took me to a bead store in Jacksonville and introduced me to Peyote needle bead weaving. My first beaded piece was a “scale” American flag that was auctioned on e-bay and proceeds went to the victims.

Soon I decided to move from beads and small eye straining elements to the fiber arts weaving. There was no looking back at that point. Since I didn’t own a loom myself, I decided to build one. The Internet is a wonderful thing. I found blueprints and most of my knowledge to build one from there. I drove the guys at Home Depot crazy and went through lots of wood before I got the loom the way I wanted it.

Having never seen anyone weave I now needed books — very detailed weaving books. These proved very hard to locate in Beach Country. Again the Internet, libraries and used books stores saved me. My friends contributed greatly and they patiently answered my many questions and encouraged me all the way. They were constantly bringing me yarns, ribbon, lace, feathers and whatever else they could think of to push my boundaries and to encourage me. I was even given a pair of antique brass scissors and my first Navajo packing comb for my loom.

I was never one to draw within the lines, and I never followed a pattern. Soon I discovered I had a talent for design. I was kind of forced into this through lack of funds. You see, I never say to myself, “I think I will weave a flower" and then go buy the colors of yarn needed. I go into my room of supplies and pick a color, and then I think to myself this one will look nice with that one and it goes on from there. I just let the art happen. Now I needed to get a better way of representing my designs and took up drawing. I love doing graphite drawings. I started out trying to learn ‘Photo realism’ drawing and soon found that I much prefer to draw what is in my head screaming to get out.

Necessity is indeed the mother of invention. As it turns out, for the last twelve years or so every gift I have given to anyone has been homemade. I used to say that I had way too much time on my hands and needed a life. Turns out that this is a life, a way of life...and I hold it very dear. Please come and allow me share my experiences and knowledge with you at the Colquitt County Arts Center. I am very excited to see what we can produce together.

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