Explore Fiber is a collaborative website showcasing and exploring fiber as a fine art material.
Do you remember what it was like the first time you saw woven cloth magically appear before your very eyes? Experienced weavers can get so immersed in multi-shaft looms and complex weave structures that the simple joy of weaving for the first time is all but forgotten.
I got to introduce six Costume Design studentsto weaving on what I call the“baby loom” (a 15 inch rigid heddle Cricket). Graduate students in a Textiles Class, they chomped at the bit to get away from theory and into the fray. In one afternoon we romped through the history of the rigid heddle loom (going back hundreds of years in this country alone) and got them designing their own cloth from a range of yarn I had brought with me. In just three short hours they each came up with a design, warped their looms and were weaving! All were fascinated to be engaged in this very ancient craft and to take their design ideas from concept to material in short order.
I came back two weeks later to pick up the loaner looms and see their completed work, which was pretty impressive for a first time project. The students were already talking about how this little bit of experience was fueling their ideas for future costume design, as well as increasing their appreciation of fabric.
A couple of the students were eager to continue weaving and obtain their own looms, and at least two new weavers were born. Which makes it all worthwhile, doesn’t it?