What I'm Loving About Weaving

Section of a long purely playful piece.

Section of a long purely playful piece.

RECORDING MOMENTS THRU WEAVING

Perhaps one of the oldest human crafts, weaving has found its way into my heart. Tapestry and floor loom weaving have become my way of expressing thoughts and recording moments. Wool, cotton and beyond hold a sense of accessibility and familiarity.

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Unfettered Expression

Never ending exploration and play… just what the doctor ordered.

Having been a jeweler for over 10 years, several years ago, painting brought a freedom of movement and expression to my art practice. When I finally dove into the world of fiber and weaving, I found a marriage of these elements. The detailed work of a metalsmith mixed with the excitement of color and design of painting bring life to these woven expressions of time, place and material. These three practices influence each other, and I wouldn’t be who I am without each one.

 

A NEW FREEDOM

Playing with color, proportion and constructing something from nothing has always been fascinating to me. This new medium is allowing my ideas to expand, and I am visualizing pieces faster than my hands can work.

Hand weaving has been in the back of my mind for years, and it found me when the time was right.

The community is warm and welcoming. The more the merrier. So much to experiment with, but for the moment plain weave and all the design possibilities is enough to hold my interest. Let’s see where this goes.

 

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Warping the Loom

Sole concentration… no room for distraction. A meditative and satisfying process.

This is where the precision and forethought that goes into handcrafting jewelry has come in handy. The calculations and planning make the time-consuming process of warping the loom so rewarding. It’s like paying homage to this ancient craft before you get to the fun freeing part of creation.

 

WATCHING THE FABRIC GROW

This is where the magic lies. Whether it’s throwing the shuttle back and forth on my floor loom, or hand weaving on one of my tapestry looms, this is when the picture grows. The perfect imperfections showcase the human hand as the color type of fiber creates the mood and story of the piece.

EXPLORING MATERIALS

When I came across this beautiful fine silk blended with stainless steel I fell in love. It was the most interesting material to play with for someone who has worked with metals before. It surprised me how much I loved the delicacy of this fine fiber. I have always had a strong interest in the balance of positive and negative space. This fiber gave me this great way to explore this in weaving.

 THE FUTURE

I have so many plans for working with woven fabric. As we are traveling at the moment, not all of these projects can be fully realized right away. That is giving me time to practice, explore and learn more about my new passion. I look forward to realizing some of my dream pieces and sharing them with you. Below are a few pieces I loved working on.

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.