At the Maine Fiber Frolic this year, while roaming around the various vendor booths, I overheard a woman explaining to a potential customer the principles behind Zati: The Art of Weaving a Life, by Susan Barrett Merrill, and the accompanying Journey Loom. This caught my attention for a reason, I think. The principles the woman was discussing, possibly the author herself?, I’m not sure, resonated with me as they were along the same lines as what I have been trying to pull together for myself. When I wrote about building my own Summer Retreat, I was trying to summarize the feelings I was having for the last several months about wanting to explore art as therapy or as meditation.
I was able to borrow a copy of this book through our library in Madison through the inter-library loan. The folks at the library are great. It only took two or three days for the book to arrive.
This project really could not have come at a better time. I am working through some issues today that have been all thought consuming. This is the first serious issue that I am able to apply my new approach understanding or working through via fiber arts. I tried to read through the book last night, but my focus was not really as sharp as it would normally be. I think I did absorb a bit of it though. Once I have a better understanding of it, I will write about it more.
Of course I think it would be great to buy one of the looms that is available to go with this book, and there is a web site set up for this, but that is not really feasible for me. The book does encourage the making of your own looms as well. The process is the process, no matter what you are weaving on. It even recommends wrapping yarn around a notebook if there is no other equipment available, and to do what you need to do to start weaving.
Today I gathered up some materials to make one of my own. While I have used the design in the book, I have modified it a bit (I added a stand) and have no intention of either making looms to sell, or of selling the weavings that I make. I am more interested in what happens during the creating process. The outcome or the appearance of the woven item is not really that important to me. Yes, I would be happy if they looked nice too, but that is secondary.
I did not use all of the hardware here, as I had a couple of ideas in mind when I was thinking about making this loom. The wood came from the Carrabassett Thrift (i.e, dump) and was just hanging around waiting for me to realize why I brought it home. Thank you Great Spirit of the Dump! I did most of this work myself, but Ug was instrumental in the sawing of the wood. I’m sure he would like proper credit.
This is my loom with the stand attached:
I think I used lots of extra screws (but those wing nutty things are so much fun!) and there are a few holes that were drilled by mistake, but I don’t really care.
In my back yard, I have an awning set up. I consider this the outdoor studio. The weather has been so nice since it stopped raining, and while I want to continue with my projects, I don’t want to be stuck inside. So I work out here. I can bring my spinning wheel out here, I can knit out here, and today I brought the new loom out too. You can barely see Henry the bunny there in his outdoor pen. I like to bring him out if I’m going to be out. The awning keeps the sun off both of us. To the front of me is part of the garden, but to the left is the end of the house and beyond is the river. I really like this spot to work in.
Judging by the state of the garden and the lawn my time would have been more usefully spent in mowing and weeding and planting, but I really felt it more important to address my inner issue today and to work through it. I made the right choice. My head is still full, but I was able to focus on these thoughts and turn them into something.
I know weavers use bobbin kind of things, I don’t know any weaver terminology, sorry, but I had cardboard available. I am calling these fiber-flys. They look like colorful woolly butterflys to me.
It took me a long time to get the warp strings onto the loom, but that was a good hour spent in reflection as well.
I was surprised to see what is appearing on the loom. I really am not planning anything, but just adding what seems right. It is hard to see in this picture, but that is bark with moss on it. I like the layers that are building.
I am really excited to learn what is being offered in this book. It is written for experienced weavers and newbies too.
I find it really interesting that when you need some guidance or assistance, if you keep your mind open to what is zooming past you, you will find what you are looking for. Otherwise, why was I at that booth at the fair just in time to hear all of this described?
PS: I was so excited to notice this afternoon that my garlic has scapes on it!! Hooty hoot!