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School Life: Summer session
This week's lesson: Weaving with Jo-Marie Karst
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4. Pop and ping the warp. Pull on a group of threads to pop it. Run finger across a group of threads to ping. This separates the threads if they’re clinging to each other. Then wind.
As far as hobbies go, weaving is a complicated one. It involves mathematical calculations, a whole new language of terms and a lot of patience.

But for Jo-Marie Karst, who has been weaving for about 10 years, the process is relaxing.

“When you actually get to the weaving it’s just very restful and meditative, and it’s soothing to me,” she said.

But weaving requires a lot more than just weaving threads together. It begins with planning, calculating and measuring before the weaver can dress the loom and actually begin weaving.

“Some weavers like to plan the project and do the design work, and other weavers like to actually weave,” Karst said. “I like both parts but for different reasons. The design work you just get to use your creative mind and you get to choose the colors and do your planning.”

Weaving is something that requires a lot of learning and practice, and Karst didn’t begin it until after she went back to college at age 50.

“My husband said we believe in supporting each other and fulfilling our dreams,” Karst said. “He wanted to own a house, he wanted to be married, and he wanted to have a new bass boat, a fishing boat. So that was his five-year goal and in five years he achieved those.”

When he wanted a big screen TV, Karst said she decided it was her turn — and she wanted a bachelor’s degree. She quit her job as a secretary at the Fernbank Museum of Natural History in Atlanta and began going to North Georgia College & State University almost full time.

It was her color theory class that made the biggest impression.

“It changed the way I saw everything,” Karst said. “I mean, it was like the sky lit up, the trees lit up, everything, it was like it got colorized.”

After two years she took that interest in art and declared an art marketing major. She chose to concentrate on textiles because she admired that teacher the most.

“Every class I took with (Tommye Scanlin) I learned so much,” she said. “She was demanding, but she was really just a good teacher.”

After graduating, she began working as an advertising representative with the Handweavers Guild of America in Duluth, but she eventually went back to school to get a teacher certification and even a master’s degree. Since then she has been teaching occasional weaving courses at Callanwolde Arts Center in Atlanta, North Georgia College and Brenau University in Gainesville as part of its Alexander Caldwell exhibit.

This summer she will be teaching weaving courses at North Georgia College as part of the Appalachian Community Studies Certificate Program.
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