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.
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.
A beautiful view.
Peaceful repetition. Moments. Fabric growing.