A New Work in Progress and a Cheapo Weaving Bench Solution

It’s been months since I’ve had a tapestry going on my loom.  I cut the last piece off at the end of April, and spent May preparing it to enter into Oregon College of Art and Craft’s alumni show.  During June I spent all but four days house-sitting for the cutest dog and kitty in the world, which was fun but also really exhausting.  I figured all of this time away from my studio would mean I would be eager to return to my loom with a head full of genius ideas.  Instead I’ve been feeling undecided, uncommitted, and very unsure about the designs I’ve drawn out.  It almost seems like the more time I spend away from weaving, the less likely I am to pick up the bobbins and just do what I love.  I could wait for a better idea to come to me, but honestly I just want to be weaving.

In the past I’ve imagined my designs in their completed form, and I would only edit certain elements to accommodate the size of my loom.  Over the past couple of weeks I’ve done a half dozen watercolours to try to figure out just what the heck I’m doing.  They’re now scattered across the floor along with several cartoon renditions that I’ve had a hard time committing to as well.  It also doesn’t help that I’m outgrowing my loom.

Watercolours are my favorite medium to sketch out an idea

Watercolours are my favorite medium to sketch out an idea.

I’ve loved this simple image of a forest reflected in still water, with a bright light rising above the treetops.  I’ve painted this image for years, and always in blue, and now I want to try “painting” it with yarn.

The hem is woven… almost ready!

So I’m committing to this design.  If I hate how it’s coming out or think of something better I can always cut it off the loom…


…but I don’t think I’m going to hate it, I actually think it’s going to come out better than I expected.  It usually happens that way.  Tapestry weaving has a way of developing into it’s own thing, despite all of the planning in the world.  It takes on a life of it’s own, with an energy that is alive and also sacred and ancient, an art form that has been practiced for centuries.  There’s an element of surprise in how the finished piece turns out, something I could never imagine while I was developing the design.  I don’t think I would enjoy this medium as much if results were predictable and controllable.  I enjoy the challenge of trying to create exactly what I see in my head, but I also maintain a sense of humility and acceptance for how the finished piece will look.  Hey, isn’t this, like, a metaphor for life?  I hope that even once I’m an old weaver woman I’ll still be surprised by how my tapestries turn out.

And on a side note, I found this little wooden “bench” at work that they use for merchandising.  I sat on it and realized it would make the most perfect little weaving bench for my loom!  Weaving benches usually cost around $200, give or take depending on style and the wood used.  I don’t have that kind of money for something I’m going to put my butt on, and especially to go along with a student loom that I will have to retire soon for a larger model.  So this little bench is actually a night stand from Ikea, and it cost only $17!  It also makes a great side storage table for yarns and such if you work on the floor a lot like I do.


Stay tuned for more updates on this newest weaving.  I’m going to try to post more work in progress photos.  Promise!




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