March 4th, 2015

Weaving Community

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I love meeting the weavers who come into the store. Weaving is a somewhat solitary pursuit as many of our looms are large and not portable, so it’s great to talk to other weavers about what they are making and share our enthusiasm (and frustrations) with the craft. Although we often set up looms at fairs and schools to showcase weaving, I have yet to hear of a “Weave in Public” day similar to what knitters do. (Though I must admit I chuckled as I pictured weaving on my 36″ 8-shaft loom at the bus stop, library or park.)

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Nevertheless, we weavers are also social creatures and it’s wonderful to spend time with others who speak the language and share the passion for making cloth. Weaving guilds are a great resource and provide the opportunity to share, inspire and learn. I belong to two local guilds and love the way they enrich my weaving life. We have time to socialize and catch up with each other, show what we’ve been working on, and listen to speakers on a broad range of topics. Guilds often have study groups for those who want to immerse themselves in a particular structure and members learn much from each other. Check your area for guilds as a way to connect to other weavers, and do not worry if you are a beginner – we are more than happy to welcome new members and grow the weaving community.

Another place to gather with like-minded artisans is at the numerous weaving seminars and conferences that take place each year. These events provide the opportunity to take classes with nationally known teachers. Classes are a terrific way to not only learn new techniques and/or structures, but to observe other weavers at work on their looms. I always pick up some good tidbits by seeing how other folks throw the shuttle, wind a bobbin or sit at the loom. Even if you don’t take any classes, most of these affairs will have gallery shows filled with eye candy and inspiration. In my corner of the world we will have the New England Weavers Seminar this summer and I am looking forward to meeting up with fellow weavers and engaging in lively discussion.

For those who live remotely and far from guilds there are still ways to connect. There are several online communities such as Ravelry and Weavolution that have discussion groups, weave-alongs and more. They bring together people from all over the world who share the love of weaving and allow them to post pictures of their projects, pose questions, chat about ideas, techniques and sources for supplies, and make long-distance friendships. The trick with this platform is to avoid the rabbit hole of over-posting/reading while your loom sits lonely (ask me how I know).

Community is important to our craft. It keeps strong our connections to other weavers, refreshes the wellsprings of inspiration, and provides a bridge to pass generations of weaving knowledge into the future.

Leslie Ann
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