Veteran artisan Suzie Liles had already been a reputable figure in the fiber arts community for nearly 20 years—teaching, chairing conferences, and being active in several design and weaving guilds—when in March 2008 she and a partner decided to open Eugene Textile Center. An MFA in Fibers from the University of Oregon, Suzie channels her training, experience, and passion for all things woolly into making the center a craftsperson's paradise of name-brand supplies and instructional workshops in various forms of textile conjuring. Local hobbyists and professional fiber artists alike are able to rent spinning wheels and other equipment on a weekly or monthly basis. Suzie also welcomes visitors to weaving and surface-design studios, which are equipped with looms and a dye kitchen.
The acrobatic arm of the River Road Park and Recreation District, Gymnastics Northwest offers classes and parties for tumblers aged 18 months to 16 years. Reflex beams, rings, a pommel horse, and an in-ground trampoline await first timers and astronauts-in-training for weekly classes and events. Open-gym sessions run on Fridays for acrobats up to age 8, and Action Nights see junior jumpers aged 6–12 bound on the spring floor and feed the vaulting horse every third Saturday of the month.
On Saturday, May 5, and Sunday, May 6, a sea of vendors and spa technicians transform the Lane Events Center into an escape for women of all ages. The Just for Women Expo's two days of sensory indulgence and shopping benefit visitors twice over, as 50% of ticket-sale profits are donated to organizations dedicated to women's health. This year, comedienne, stress-management expert, and author Leigh Anne Jasheway sets the expo's tone with a keynote speech and by filtering the audience's laughter through auto-tune, which then harmonizes with a number of personal-enrichment seminars. Winetasting and fashion shows punctuate hours of bargain hunting, and raffle tickets given to each guest offer a chance to win a Girlfriends Getaway for four.
Girls Night Out caps Saturday's events with four hours of catered spa pampering and revelry for those 21 and older. Gentlemen servers swing past makeover stations carrying trays of hors d'oeuvres, and 15-minute massages and bites from a chocolate buffet revive guests after belly-dance lessons. Guests to this event also take home goodies and enjoy two free drinks apiece to toast their superior toasting skills.
Owned and operated by glass artists and collaborators Alejandro Hernandez and Ciara Cuddihy, Studio West houses a gallery of fine paintings and glasswork attached to a full glassblowing studio. The cream walls and bright lights of the gallery give way to the industrial metal and stony tile of the workshop, where artisans can be seen retrieving white-hot gobs of glass from the furnaces. These mounds of molten potential are regularly rolled and shaped into handmade trinkets and vases, which can be immediately smashed and melted, completing their life cycle. Visitors can experience the process for themselves during workshops, where they receive hands-on training from the glassworkers in how to bend the superheated silica to their will.
Among the forests and hills of the Willamette Valley, Highway 58 Golf Range fills with the staccato pops of launching golf balls as golfers there practice every aspect of the game. Guests tee their range balls up year-round on either natural-grass tees or covered mats, sending the balls soaring toward Mount Pisgah in the distance. A short-game area allows for focused practice of near-green finesse, complete with a putting green, a chipping area, and a bunker where golfers perfect saves and practice guessing how many grains of sand are in a jar to win it.
In 2011, Brandon Richardson became a Class A PGA Instructor and a nominee for the Oregon Chapter PGA Teacher of the Year award. These prestigious accolades did not come easily; they were the culmination of more than two decades of teaching and professional play that included stints on the Nationwide Tour. As Golf with Freedom’s founder and director of coaching, Brandon's coaching style allows golfers to grow and develop as a golfer within an environment free of judgment or evaluation, creating a sense of calm toward misbehaving 9-irons. His programs—which range from private coaching classes to small-group and women-only workshops—aim to increase one's ability to self-coach by making swing adjustments on the fly or subbing in a stunt double for help with a particularly difficult lie.