Anne Field died on May 29th.
I am very sad.
Anne was a fabulous weaver and a precise spinner. She was the author of 6 books with one on the way next spring. The Ashford Book of Spinning, my first introduction to her spinning instruction, and was a book that I would recommend to all of my spinning students when I began teaching. Spinning Wool: Beyond the Basics was more than an inspiration to me when I was a new spinner and when I had progressed to being a more technical spinner.
Anne showed me the beauty of the breeds and how different they are from each other. I became interested (and maybe a little obsessed) with the differences and how those differences could and would affect the yarns I was spinning. She talked in mathematical terms about how to decide how much twist to put into different yarns. She taught me to look at the wool to see how it might work best.
This was the beginning of my in depth education. she, along with Mabel Ross, helped me to look at the technical side of things and to begin to understand what was happening rather than just spinning blindly like I had as a new spinner. I was no longer satisfied with just accepting the yarn that came out when I did my regular thing.
I learned how to use my whorls smartly and how to move my hands and what it actually meant to count treadles and when I wanted to and when it wasn’t necessary.
Anne was my jumping off point to experimenting and breaking the rules she had set for me.
I was in awe of her.
In April of 2011 I was lucky enough to host her for a workshop about spinning to the crimp at my shop. Though this way of spinning isn’t attractive to everyone I was in my glory and thrilled to be in the same room with this woman who had inspired me for so many years without even knowing it. She was even willing to sleep at my house and I felt a little silly for being so excited about it.
She came even though just 2 months earlier there had been an earthquake near her home in New Zealand and it had destroyed her studio. All of the materials for every class she was teaching while in the US for 6 weeks were in that building. All of the warps she had wound for her weaving classes needed to be wound again for the trip. She lost her looms and yarns. She also lost a a spinning wheel, I think. There was no complaining. Just matter of fact and she would deal with it all when she got home.
Anne got sick when she was here and we had a trip to the hospital. The next day she was back to teaching and strong as ever. I was so amazed and impressed with her professionalism and care for the good of the class.
She had plenty of health struggles over the last few years and still managed to write another book of weaving that will be out next spring.
Anne will be missed in the fiber world.
I will continue to value her work and hold onto and refer to those writings that inspired me for all of these years.