I’ve been spending quality time writing my rya book lately! Yeah! But I did an impulsive “just for fun” thing a couple of weeks ago. I ordered a nice paper map of the United States. My husband helped me out by cutting a cork board to fit it, and we mounted it on the wall of my office. I love it! Then I took all the folders from my “Rya Customers” file (Yes, real paper folders) and typed out the name and town of every person I’ve helped with rya supplies in the past year–maybe a little longer. Then I cut the name labels into thin strips and tacked each one up on the map. You guys are all over the place! (Apologies to my non-USA rya friends around the world…)
Why did I do that? Well, for fun. Girls just gotta have fun. But in a practical way this helps to keep me focused on who you are and where you are. There are some very helpful benefits provided by being able to SEE where you all live in this country as a whole:
- I don’t have to rely on my poor aching memory. (“What was that lady’s name from Tucson, AZ?”)
- In future years (after the book is done) I may travel to teach classes in off-loom rya rug making. It would be so helpful to be able to see at a glance how may of you living within a reasonable drive of where I might teach. Then I can let you know, and you can let your friends know.
- And a third fascinating idea I’ve been playing with in my head for about a week now. A man from San Francisco left a comment on the Youtube video page asking if there were any rya groups in his area that he might get together with to get back into making ryas with company. Hmm.
That last one really hit home with me. I can’t travel the world now to teach, but what if little pockets of rya knotting groups started here and there across the country? With the map, I could clearly see where you live near other rya rug makers. You could share techniques and teach each other. How would this work? It is still a little sketchy in my brain right now, but when we have a greater density of rya folks in specific areas, I could help by sending an email to let’s say 6-8 people within an hour drive of each other. I would say, “Hey, do any of you have a favorite free meeting place like a side room in your library, coffee shop, arts center, a church recreation room–any friendly public place where you could carry in your tote bag full of your projects. I would also ask you if it was OK to share your email address with who ever offered to coordinate a little get together.
If you say “Yes, give them my email address!” well, the rest is up to you all to work out the best day and time. Do you think this plan has merit? I think we need to wait a little longer for the density of rya artists to fill in on the map, but I think it could be doable within a year or two. Imagine groups of fascinating rya artists and beginners getting together once a month (or season) to help each other out and answer the many questions swirling in your heads.)
This could become a RyaMatch.com (don’t click on that–no such thing). Or it could be a Rya-bee. Think of the confidence a beginner would have to be surrounded by sharing rya folks…. Please share your ideas and comments below.