A New Loom Gives Me Life

It isn’t what I expected from this year. I have been painting and experimenting with different form of my creative expression for the last year or two, but I didn’t expect to fall head over heels for weaving.


When I was growing up in Wisconsin, my Grandmother owned a needlework and yarn store. She was a very talented knitter and I could have learned a lot from her about fiber arts. My Mom loved needlepoint, and I dabbled in cross stitch, but it just didn’t stick for me.

My parents eventually bought the store from her and I spent time hanging out there, but I don’t remember a huge desire to make things with the threads and yarns they stocked. I loved the colors and the textures of the various yarns, but I never did anything with that. Instead I found a passion for metal-smithing and jewelry design in middle school, and that’s where my creative energy was focused for a while.

My love of fibers did grow throughout the years. As I got older I began to have an affinity for hand knit and hand-woven goods. I was a sucker for beautiful scarves and sweaters. I have several special pieces that I have purchased while traveling that I hope to have forever.

I can’t remember exactly how old I was when I first saw my Grandmothers large floor loom gathering dust in her basement, but I instantly thought it was the most intriguing thing I’d ever seen. I had never seen her use it, and I was still young enough that she wasn’t going to let me try it out. She handed me a small little table loom to play around on. It was fun, but it was disappointing compared to what I imagined that beast of a loom in the basement could do with all its moving parts. My interest in the small loom waned in a day or two, but for some reason I never forgot about that huge floor loom.

 Unfortunately, my Grandmother and I were never that close as I got older and she died suffering from dementia and other health ailments when I was studying abroad at 26 years old. I remember asking my Dad about the loom, and he had gifted it to a family friend who would put it to good use. That was that. 

Soon after, I moved to California to be with my now husband, James. It was there that I rediscovered my love of metal and fire by taking a weekend jewelry class. I had ended up studying art history at university instead of studio art as I had planned. I had no professional jewelry training other than the periodic classes I would take at Precious Metal Arts in Santa Monica. I kitted out a home studio and played – that turned into spending ten years in the industry. Working in many facets of the jewelry world and selling my creations the whole time.

My love of creating with my hands, and never-ending bucket of ideas has served me well, and I’m happiest when I’m making. Over the last few years I have been feeling a pull. A pull to do something more, something other than metal-smithing to create. I have need something freer, something bigger (like literally bigger in size).

 I have allowed myself to experiment. I have tried marbling, weaving wall hangings, abstract painting, making mobiles. I’ve allowed my brain to play around with the what ifs. I really enjoyed working with natural fiber when I took a class with Maryanne Moodie, but her style of wall hangings wasn’t resonating with me.

I bought some books (always in trouble in a book store) on weaving, fiber arts and yarn. One of the books I bought was about Saori weaving. I had never heard of it before, but the premise seemed right up my alley. Freestyle weaving, favoring creativity and expression over precision and pattern following.

Maybe. Maybe I should try this. Yes, let’s try it now. Why wait I thought. It had been a rough few months, a couple years if I’m honest, but when I sat down at that Saori loom for the first time and started weaving it was pure joy. I thought, this might be what I’ve been looking for.

 Building cloth, playing with color and proportions, not thinking but just doing felt so good. I’ve taken a few classes with Laura at Saori Studio LA, and she’s like this angel who’s introduced me to something life altering. I know it sounds dramatic, but that is how it has felt. I knew I needed to be able to weave like this at any hour of the day, so I took the plunge and invested in my very own Saori loom.

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My new friend…

Here she is. In less than a week, I have already spent over 40 hours seated in front of this beautiful loom.

I’ve had her for just over a week. It was special ordered for me from Japan where they are made. She is my new best friend, and I’ve already spent over 40 hours hanging out with her this week.

I’ll be the first to say I don’t know where this is going. I don’t know how weaving is going to fit into my life going forward. This unexpected gift is bringing massive joy to my life, and I’ll have more of that please.

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A beautiful view.

Peaceful repetition. Moments. Fabric growing.

The End of an Era

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Yesterday, the movers came. They wrapped and packed. They lifted and carried. I watched as they carefully loaded my studio equipment into the truck, not knowing how long it will be until I get to unwrap the boxes and sit at my workbench again.

Just after sunset they drove away with most of our belongings. Strangely, I felt this sense of ease and calm descend. They were removing all the things that we’ve been moving and shuffling around for the last couple years. I didn’t have to worry about these things for the time being. Glorious.

As I felt this sense of relief I realized it was because almost everything we owned was now in one place. I didn’t have to feel scattered any more. We had a new plan in place, and it was moving forward.

See, three years ago we remodeled our house and started renting it. We moved from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara for what we thought was a permanent change. It didn’t work out that way.

Nine months later we bought a 40’ fifth wheel and a giant pickup to haul it around and we moved into an RV. Now some of our belongings were in our RV, some stored in Santa Barbara, most of our furniture in our rental house, and some boxes at my Mom’s.

We were spread out all over the place and for the next year and a half we bounced around from location to location in between work demands. While many people said we were living the dream, it just didn’t feel that way. Unexpectedly, I ended up feeling a little lost without a central home base..

Fast-forward to now, we’ve sold our beloved house that we’ve lived in for the last twelve years. It was the first place where my husband and I lived together. It was also the first and only place I lived in in Los Angeles after moving here from Wisconsin. Casa Lopez (yes, we named our house) was the first house we remodeled together. In the end we had turned it in to something really special. We will miss it immensely.

Now we’ve got a few weeks of staying with my Mom, before we move into our RV for a few months. In the new year, we’ve got a big adventure coming up. I’ll share more about our move as things crystalize. For now it’s time to take a breather and move into the start of the holiday season with a little lightness.

Making Friends in Oregon

Preparing to live a location independent lifestyle means a LOT of preparation. Sometimes that’s in the form of researching RV’s, selling “stuff” we won’t take with us, focusing on selling our house and planning a timeline. Sometimes it means making new friends.

Last week I headed up to Oregon to the first ever Hello Sessions, a blogging conference for women who want to connect and support each other to help change the world in our own way.

I drove thru Oregon last summer as part of a six week road trip but I never made it to the Portland area so I was super excited to check out another area we might want to spend time in when we hit the road.

Portland did not disappoint, but more than that what surprised me was the unbelievable community of women that had gathered there.

I’ve been to small business, art and networking conferences before but this one was different. It felt like a three-day affair even though the Hello Sessions is a one-day affair. 

We just couldn’t stop hanging out with each other and introducing our new friends to our other new friends. We were connecting people with those that could mentor them, fill a business need they had or just share in their journey because they are on similar paths.

Some stayed on for a few days and on Saturday evening we headed out of Portland to McMinnville, OR for a special gathering and amazing dinner called  Love Where You Live organized by Maggie Batista of Eat Boutique and Chelsey Nichol of Type A Press with out of this world food by Let Um Eat.

It was so much more than I ever expected it might be. We were welcomed into a beautiful community that celebrates their small businesses, their friends and where they live. I will definitely be back to McMinnville!

I didn’t know that part of the preparing for this life changing adventure would mean making friends from all parts of the U.S. that I will definitely meet up with when we are in the area.

I expected to meet people along the way. I didn’t realize that once I started sharing our project of life on the road I would see the same level of enthusiasm back from those listening before we’ve even left.

This has shown me a few things.

It’s shown me that people will help lift each other up and cheer each other on when they feel a connection to you and what you’re putting out in the world. I’ve learned about so many others living this way that my new friends are willing to connect me with to share stories and get advice.

It’s shown me that different is good, and although not everyone will understand the choices we are making those that see the light in our eyes when we talk about it will not only understand but they will support us. Putting yourself out there and telling your story is the best starting point for any journey.

I want to thank Joy and Melissa the founders of the Hello Sessions for putting out a clear message about their conference. It helped them attract like-minded women who want to learn from, share with and support each other.

I look forward to visiting my new friends when we hit the road. I definitely see some collaboration in our future. 

All magical photos in this post courtesy of Linnea Paulina Photography.

The Lure of a Road Trip

What is it that is it about being on the open road, heading out for an adventure that is so sexy?

My husband and I are planning on a road trip for his next two-week hiatus from work. He works on the Jimmy Kimmel show and they always take a lot of time off in the summer. I love to get on outta So Cal in summer because it is way to freaking hot for me;)

I always get so excited for road trips! Last summer I drove all the way from Los Angeles to WI and back over the span of six weeks. It was just Sophie, my springer spaniel, and I the whole way. It was really an amazing trip, and I plan for it not to be the only time I do something like that.

We went through six states I had never seen before by choosing different routes each way. I got to experience the majesty of the Grand Tetons and the unbelievable quirky marvels of Yellowstone for the first time.

Being on the road alone I could sing at the top of my lungs to any music I chose. There was no one else setting the pace. I could stop whenever I wanted for a little break. I didn’t have to listen to any objections if I decided to linger in an area for a morning hike. There was also no guilt about subsisting on beef jerky, potato chips and iced tea all day. Well, maybe a little guilt from Sophie until I gave in and shared my jerky.

The point I’m making is I think being out on the road can throw you back into times gone by, before we all had so many responsibilities and making decisions could be totally based on a whim.

There are no should, there are no judging eyes, and you are free to witness nature in ways most of us don’t on a daily basis. It can give you time to think and wonder “What if?”

Open space and being outdoors has such a soul soothing effect on me I try to seek it out whenever I can. I chose to cook all my dinners while I was on the road, having brought along a tiny camping stove. It really allowed me to be in the moment and appreciate how fucking beautiful our world is, and how important it is to get out of your head and truly see new things for what they are.

The best things about road trips sometimes happen thru camaraderie. If you are lucky enough to have a partner or some great friends that love to explore as much as you treasure that, and take advantage of it. You can create some pretty special moments being on a minute-by-minute road trip with others.

 I am so fortunate to have James, who by nature of being a landscape photographer will jump at the chance to explore any time he can. With he and Soph by my side I’m set. I could never come home.

These are the things life should be about. Telling stories around a fire, hiking off into foreign hills, and sitting together in silence as you take in the grandeur of a breathtaking overlook, these moments are IT. Experiences like these remind us how the Earth was here so long before our blip on the timeline, and how connected we are to all of it if we take the time to see and respect our role.

So get out there, get out of your bubble and go travel my friends. Experience will enrich your lives so much.