It’s taken me years and many iterations of my weaving life but now I’ve got to the stage of weaving being an expression of what my soul is trying to say and I’m not worried about speed or efficiency. It’s all about unlocking creativity through weave, for myself but also for others. The feeling of making a difference in someone’s life (which I’ve been told I have done for several people) is so uplifting and makes teaching so much richer. All my work now comes from self-expression and exploration and then putting that in ways that can inspire and help other people, through my writing and my teaching.
It’s also about now being at the stage of being able to be expressive through my weaving and to create things which production would not attempt, due to time, technical or financial constraints. But even as a new weaver, I had the urge to try things which I didn’t know how to do. I also didn’t know what I wasn’t supposed to be able to do so I broke all sorts of rules by chance which I continue to break but now with knowledge as to the potential results.
However, that is not to underestimate the wonderful feeling of creating something useful which could be bought much cheaper but which is made by your own hands, using your own brain, devoting your time, learning new things and making you proud of your achievements and which gives you delight every time you use or wear it. There is also the response you get from other people in appreciation of your work especially if it is given as a gift. These are immeasurable treasures and to be enjoyed and appreciated for the sense of satisfaction that it gives you in a job well done. They are also a stepping stone to trying something more progressive, difficult or challenging, if you are a person who likes to take another step deeper.
Weaving is such a fulfilling activity – good for the brain, good for the soul, good for mental wellbeing, and good for physical co-ordination whether on a table or a floor loom (especially if you have to get down to tie-up pedals!!!!). There are some things that are hard to express, but you know in your heart and soul when you are content and engaged in something that takes you outside of your own circular thought patterns and into a bigger world of imagination, practicality and aesthetics. Ideas pop in – “should I try this colour, what if I try this lifting plan, what would happen if….?” I can choose to follow those ideas and bring them into physical reality, or I can think on them some more and wait to see what else pops into my mind. Once a curious weaver, always a curious weaver, I think.
For me, weaving and music are two such pathways into what some have called the sublime – something beyond ourselves. I get a similar sense of achievement and fulfilment from learning the cello. Both are whole-brain activities, both stimulate practical techniques, choices, aesthetic decisions, and something else, something deeper, something that speaks to the ineffable soul.
Unlocking creativity through weaving is what I try to do every day, through my own artistic weaving, through learning something new, researching a topic that interests me – currently woven optical illusions are a fascinating area of study – and through finding ways of sharing that are engaging and inspiring to all levels of weaving ability, including trying new mediums such as online courses as well as face-to-face workshops and studio courses. Keeping alive to possibilities that others see but that I currently can’t, being open to new insights, being present in the moment of conception and creation, that is what weaving brings to me! A wonderful life indeed!
Images: Three photos from my current display at our local co-operative art gallery GAAMA in Maison Aunac, Moulin des Tours, Barbaste. Aerial images of terrain (jacquard), mini Growth Forms, mini Medusa. Photo credits: Colin Usher (www.colinusher.com)