Meet Instructor Janet Ames

Janet’s first class on Introductory Naalbinding was so successful, she’s returning to offer it again!  Janet pursued art in college, but after finding a lack of art teaching jobs ended up working with kids who didn’t fit a traditional school model.  She and her husband landed in Marine on St. Croix because of less expensive housing and a family connection, which turned out to be an ideal location to support their daughter as she became an accomplished adventurer, outdoors person and biologist.  

Why Naalbinding?I was always interested in things I could touch and make. I don’t even remember how I first became fascinated by Naalbinding, an ancient technique to create fabric which pre-dates crocheting and knitting. I found books on the technique and tried to teach myself using those descriptions and pictures, but eventually took a class at North House Folk School in Grand Marais, and now I’m ‘hooked!’   

Photo Credit: Janet Ames 

How is teaching adults different than teaching kids?The biggest difference is time – as a school teacher I got to know my students over a length of time and was able to develop a relationship with them, which was part of the reason I enjoyed teaching. Adult classes are typically over a much shorter period of time, so I have to more quickly understand my students background and expectations. I also find adults are often more focused on the end product, whereas kids are at the stage in life where they expect to learn processes or subjects that continue over several years. I think sometimes adults forget the joy that can be experienced by focusing on learning rather than racing to the end product.

What do you hope people take away from your classes? 
I want them to experience the joy of making something and the satisfaction of learning a new skill. I want them to experience the pure joy of creating something.

Photo Credit: Janet Ames 

I understand your daughter is an accomplished Naalbinder and even created Naalbinded socks using horse hair.  How did she end up living in the Northwest Territories of Canada?
I blame it all on Bill Simpson, a resident of Marine and long time teacher and ski coach. We took many canoe and camping trips with Bill, which my daughter loved. She worked on Isle Royale as a biologist, then lived along the Yukon river doing biology and living in a cabin with no heat or water. She has moved to the Northwest Territories, and the good news is she has a job, water and heat! 

You volunteer at the all-volunteer Marine Community Library.  Got any good books to recommend? 

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