Heather Winslow came up with the idea for the class after working with Linn Sorge, one of the original class participants who had been taking weaving classes with Heather at Fine Line since 1994. Linn has been blind since birth. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in music, a master’s degree in special education and has taught Braille music and classes in adaptive technology at the Hadley School for the Blind in Chicago. Heather recognized Linn’s skills and determination to learn a new artistic process and the idea for the summer class was born. Heather developed her own approach to teaching the class. She was aided this year by other weaving faculty and Fine Line volunteer weavers, who worked with the students as they learn to prep their looms, repair any mistakes, and finish off their work. This one-on-one collaboration has made the Fine Line class unique in the country and has allowed the students to develop a deep sense of pride and accomplishment in their work. Over the years, students have created shawls, table runners, kitchen towels, scarves, and other woven items. Students who attended the 2022 class in July were encouraged to design their own projects, like scarves and runners.
The majority of the students in the weeklong class are totally blind, and others have varying degrees of vision loss. Handouts and patterns are provided in braille, MS word files and large print as needed. Students are able to measure their yarn and set up their looms in the Winslow Weaving Studio in the Barn and weave independently.
Linn feels that the summer class format is ideal, and it is a great way for the students to achieve success and independence. Linn credits Fine Line with making the class possible: “This is the only place where I have never experienced prejudice. As people get to know us, they bridge the gap of acceptance and working toward understanding…it is a special gift to be in a place where we are people first, and our visual impairment or blindness comes second.”