What do you love about weaving?

BMcLaughlin profile at loom

I love that the process of hand weaving is simultaneously meditative and laborious.

It is an art, and a science.
There is at once a million design possibilities, and many decisive constraints.

I love the systems, methodology, and order of weaving.
I love how closely weaving makes you pay attention and see.
I love rhythm of it. And the color interactions and textures of the various yarns and materials.

I have been a weaver for over 20 years. As a textile design student at Philadelphia University in the 1990s, I concentrated on woven construction. Over the years, I have created 3-dimensional art, jacquard woven fabric, scarves, table runners, swatches for mill production, and small artisanal weavings. I weave on a 10 harness Macomber loom, but also have some homemade frame looms that I’ve used with my kids.

What do you love about weaving?

One thought on “What do you love about weaving?

  1. Yesterday, I struggled with pick and pick. Today, it’s a half circle. I pulled it all out. It’s isn’t that I’m a perfectionist; I’m stubborn. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it has to be passable, passable from my perspective. Weaving asks that I accept my own limits, while setting my own standards.
    I’m not a natural weaver. Nor was I a natural pilot. Unlike my father, I couldn’t fly by the seat of my pants. Most pilots can solo after 20 or so hours of instruction. Not me. I won’t even tell you how many hours it took me to do my first solo touch and goes. Flying requires math, a good sense of where one is in space, and good reflexes. I have none of those.
    Which makes weaving, whether floor loom or tapestry lap loom, more than a bit of a challenge for me. My idea of adding is 1 + 1 = 11. Color sense? Design? Both incorporated into two dimensional space? Patience? If I had any, I wouldn’t know where to find it.
    Yet weaving requires, no, demands, those qualities, and more. I find the words of Adam Gopnik in a New Yorker speaking to me: “Accomplishment, the feeling of absorption in the flow, of mastery for its own sake, of knowing how to do this thing, is what keeps us all doing what we do, if we like what we do at all.” (29 January 2018)
    I weave to learn, to challenge myself, to attempt to master that which I’ve never done. I weave to keep my brain engaged, my hands moving, my fingers feeling the wonders of the yarn. I weave for the path and the reveal, for the process and the end. I weave in the immersion of the moment. To paraphrase Gopnik, I weave for the joys and sorrows of accomplishment, to know how to do this thing we call weaving.

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