Saturday, May 25, 2013

Today's (?) Weaving Trend

I've blogged about guild challenges before; I know many weaving guilds (and perhaps spinning and knitting guilds as well) do these.  Another great activity you can do if you're a member of a group is a focused study group.  I'm certainly getting a lot of mileage out of the color study group that is a spin-off group of my guild.

Here is an excerpt from an old weaving bulletin of the 1950s. The periodical was called "Loom Music" and was published by two Canadian women, Mary Sandin of Edmonton and Ethel Henderson of Winnipeg.

Today's Weaving Trend - Experimentation

One of the most rewarding ways of weaving, in terms of time spent, is a directed, concerted effort by a small group of enthusiastic weavers. In such an experimental effort, weavers of little experience work on an equal basis with those of greater knowledge. Why? One reason is, surely, that in being expected to experiment widely without reference to accepted rulings, the junior craftsman is free from the penalty of being told she is "wrong". In experimentation, nothing is wrong, unless it is deficient in utilitarian qualities. In this way, new designs are brought to attention.
We have noticed, by long observation, that a great many weavers consider themselves unavailable for these experimental sessions for several reasons:
1. "I don't know enough" -- to counter which, see opening paragraph.
2. "I don't want to tie up my loom"-- we say, a small experimental loom becomes almost a "must" for a serious student. They can be homemade with string heddles for a very small sum, and are easily stored.
3. "I haven't the time this coming month". Most people can make time -- it's thinking about it that's the deterrent. Once begun, the fascination grows.
Let us say, then, that it is the duty of each weaver to spare one period per year for non-objective weaving, so far as a finished article is concerned.

The language may seem quaint and outdated today, but I think the sentiment still applies.  Consider it, is it the duty of each weaver?  If not, there still must be a benefit, both to yourself as a weaver and to the growth of today's weaving community.  To some extent you could participate in such a study on line, but there's so much more to be gained if you can actually get together, see each other's work and discuss "in real life".  Do you belong to a weaving, spinning, knitting or other craft guild?  Have you participated in a small-group study?  If not, is there a study group that you might start?  Have you participated in an online study group, and was it as rewarding as a real live group?  Leave a comment here about your experiences or ideas.

You can read archived copies of "Loom Music" at the Digital Archive, along with other out-of-print weaving literature.

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