February 1st will be here in only three weeks! That day, all of our 2023 classes will be open for registration and the class descriptions, along with complete information, will be available on our website. The site will be in “maintenance mode” soon, but available again for registration on February 1. Featured on the cover of the 2023 brochure are some of the many colorful splint-woven baskets made by Jeanette Biederman. Thank you, Jeanette, for all the beautiful baskets and equally beautiful friendships you’ve made with us and your students over the past 32 years! Many of our instructors are returning in 2023 and we welcome two new teachers this year, Joyce Gitter and John Rezachek. Both Joyce and John […]
From the start, it was Mary Sue Fenner. Her interest in Sievers Looms and weaving became the spark that further motivated Walter Schutz to move forward with his plans for Sievers School. Now 45 years later, with 44 of those years teaching 52 classes to hundreds of students here, Mary Sue has retired from teaching at Sievers. This is how Mary Sue’s and Walter’s correspondence began. Walter wrote, “It took no time for us to get together and immediately, Mary Sue was up here. Sitting in the middle of the mess as the building was being rebuilt, we set up the outline of the first year’s classes. Mary Sue knew other possible teachers and from this list we began the […]
Holiday greetings to you, Scandinavian style! This year we’re sharing some Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Icelandic and Finnish touches, anchored by our Washington Island Stavkirke, modeled after a 12th century stavekirk in Borgund, Norway. Christmas, Christmas glorious Christmas Shine over white forests The crowns of heaven with sparkling lights Glistening bows in each of gods houses A hymn sung time and time again Eternal longing for light and peace… Shine over white forests From the Swedish, “Jul, jul, strålande jul“ The idea of building a stavkirke on Washington Island was formulated in the early 1980’s by the pastor and members of Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church. Years of planning, fundraising, obtaining materials and initial work followed and the actual foundation of the […]
Every so often we revisit Walter Schutz’s book, It Was Fun Being Young, with remembrances of his boyhood in Milwaukee in the early 1900’s. We recently came across a letter written to Walter in 1990 from a Sievers student and mom of three “modern” kids about their experience going back in time through the stories he told in the book. Excerpts from both are presented in this post. Walter wrote, “Looking back, it seems that life was more organized and ran on a very tight, narrow schedule. Certain operations were performed on certain days, such as washing on Monday, ironing on Tuesday. Saturdays were no exception. Certain duties had to be done on that day only and were carried out […]
After our last class ended on October 22, we began to look forward to the postscript of our season! An event coordinated by Jo Campbell-Amsler and Lee Zieke Lee, Willow Connections 2022, brought together a group of willow basketmakers and enthusiasts for three days of willow harvesting, basketmaking and sharing. Over 20 people from all parts of the country gathered in the Walter Studio and Tomson Hall (the barn) for “all things willow”. It was a delight to see Sievers alumni and to meet many new willow friends during the (too short) retreat. As always, at the end of the season of classes, we have numbers to share. Our class registrations totaled 380, the highest since 2013. Over 78% of […]
It was a beautiful fall and we’re grateful it lasted a good, long month. Consider this an ode to the fall colors and scenes on Washington Island. Nature’s first green is gold, Her hardest hue to hold. Her early leaf’s a flower; But only so an hour. So dawn goes down to day, Nothing gold can stay. –Robert Frost Our hearts hold on to the beauty of those colorful fall days until they come again!
Two weaving classes, Simply Scandinavian with Connie Westbrook and Rag Rug Weaving with Deb Sharpee, wrapped up our 44th season of classes with many yards of warp! We can think of no better way to finish classes than to have a studio full of weavers working at Sievers looms, the foundation of Sievers School. Connie’s beautiful Scandinavian-inspired handwovens provided lots of possibilities for students’ class projects, focused on clean lines and simple designs. The class wasn’t only about weaving, it also included a tour of the Washington Island Stavkirke and a daily afternoon “Fika” break with treats. Last year we shared Connie’s delicious chocolate cake recipe, which made another appearance this year. We may try to obtain Tuesday’s special Swedish […]
When the calendar turns to October, we know it won’t be long before we see our Sievers knitting friends. For them and for our dear knitting instructors, Sandy De Master and Mary Germain, knitting is always at the ready, but it’s even more so when meeting for the Creative Knitting Retreat and the Open Knitting Studio. Yes, it’s a time for knitting, but also a time for everyone to gather together. Some of those knitting friendships were made almost 20 years ago and each year there are always new friends to meet. Both studios are filled with fantastic knitting projects in all stages. What a delight to see a combination of ideas transformed, projects started, completed, blocked and/or worn! Fair […]