Having a hobby or activity outside of work can be relaxing. For Wilkes-Barre Driver License Center's Melissa Guziewicz, the art of hand spinning is a hobby worth the time.
Hand spinning is an art form that requires great coordination and patience, as spinners twist together fiber threads to create yarn. The yarn is then used to make various items such as clothing or blankets, among others.
"I got started spinning by finding education wherever I could find it," Guziewicz said. "I recently took a class where I was able to sharpen my skills and learn some new ones, such as how to spin cotton."
Guziewicz has only been spinning for about a year and a half but has been interested in spinning for around 30 years. She finds it fascinating to immerse herself in an artform that has been practiced for thousands of years.
Wool is Guziewicz's usual thread of choice, though she also likes to use alpaca fiber in her projects. She usually shops local for materials, utilizing Pennsylvania farms when possible.
"I greatly enjoy working with The Livestock Conservancy's 'Shave Em to Save Em' program which encourages shepherds to raise rare and endangered heritage breeds of sheep here in America," said Guziewicz. "Not only do I help preserve these essential breeds, but I get a chance to experience all the variations wool has to offer."
Recently, Guziewicz has been working with The Lands at Hillside Farms, a local non-profit farm that has sheep and alpacas. The farm sheared their animals but could not find any takers for the fleece. Guziewicz offered to take the materials and is planning on spinning them into yarn that she will donate back to the farm.
As she continues to grow her spinning skills, Guziewicz hopes to expand into yarn dyeing, weaving and experimenting with different art yarns.
Guziewicz began her Driver and Vehicle Services career in 2019 as one of the first Real ID Greeters in the Commonwealth. She was intrigued by the possibility of shaping what the position could be.
"Although the position is difficult, I enjoy being a greeter," Guziewicz said. "I think my position helps shape the customer experience."
Helping customers feel heard and valued, encouraging nervous knowledge testers and celebrating with brand new drivers are some of her favorite parts of the Greeter position.
Guziewicz says that being welcoming and friendly makes the customers' experiences better and makes transactions easier for the other Driver License Center staff.