“Let the beauty we love be what we do.” Rumi
I wove! I wove I wove I wove! Have I mentioned how much I love weaving? Oh my Allah do I love weaving. And I’ve been feeling pretty silly for having a blog titled “Bri Weaves” when I’m not. I never again want to go so close to a year without! Oh I am so beyond screwed up mentally, physically, emotionally, and any other –ally’s there are. But I have one thing again. Kind of amazingly obvious now, that I’ve felt so sorely unfulfilled and frustrated lately because I have been doing none of the usual tasks that bring be joy. As Mrs. Post would say, I’ve stopped dancing. Stopped dancing while working in a dance studio that is! Ha! I’ve spun and knit, even drawn a bit here but there is nothing like weaving.
Weaving is this small act of just putting things in order, over and over again a bazillion times, almost like a subliminal act to get myself back in order. I love that I am such a part of each thread so many times. Each thread passes through my hands at least 4 times before I even begin weaving- first while winding the skein off into a ball, second by warping out, third when threading the reed, fourth when threading the heddles, then tying them off on the back beam, brushing them and winding them on, tying them onto the front beam, adjusting tension and naughty rebellious little threads, and, bismillah, commence weaving. Oh I can’t express the satisfaction that comes from just interlocking silly little threads. It’s something I can hold onto. And ever since I’ve been feeling far more at ease, suppose my hysterias been at least partially cured by weaving again.
I always have and always will love plain weave the most, I mean it’s the perfect metaphor-taking every individual and putting them together to form the strongest external bond. In patterns, some threads are weaker, some never even show much; it’s just a different kind of balance. By covering some, others shine a little brighter. Of course I prefer the most solid strength and rather leave it up to the fiber and material combinations to bring it beauty, hmm, think it has anything to do with my life? Ha. But because I am here and want to show the women all that these looms can do, I am rediscovering my love of pattern weaving.
I set up a small counter balance loom half with a simple straight draw and half threaded with mirrored straight draw. I didn’t think there’d be too much I could do with it, but enough to get them started, but wow! I forgot how many options there are in just the simplest tie up! I was soon drafting all kinds of patterns, I couldn’t draft by hand as quick as my head was forming them. Ah, it was like the excitement of sophomore year when I fell into and in love with weaving. Anyhow, the women have been working primarily on command orders on the big metal looms, and the younger members haven’t been coming, so I’ve really only taught one young woman so far. But she was super excited and is going to do pattern weaving on her loom once she weaves off what she has. And my relationship with the Co-op as a whole is getting slowly better, now that they see I am capable of doing something besides sitting there looking confused. Mm, and I’m smiling again.
So now with my little bit o worry as always. I struggle a lot in general, but particularly here in my site with the very obvious clash between old and new ways. The hardest part of my work- the balance between preserving old traditions and bringing the people into the modern world. When I dwell on this it’s just too big handle as it all seems so helpless with the state and pace of our world. But, I’m here and I’m small and I’m trying to work with it. The fact is they do have these amazing European looms so they may as well use them to their capacity. And all except the youngest weave on both the European looms and the wooden floor looms. The youngest are most interested in pattern weaving, and so long as they don’t start making more money, the elders are fine with that. The past two days I’ve been sitting in the foyer of the new building where five of the women are working on two metal looms, just enjoying watching as they work the loom like a harp. So that’s where I stand today, when my mood is calm and cool. Call me tomorrow and I could be in the pits again.