Weaving is accessible, it is useful, it shifts us into handmind, and it is a great metaphor.
With these simple frame looms, incredible weaving can be done. There's not a huge learning curve to get started, and that makes it a great point of entry into fiber art.
The pieces made on these small looms are great for visible mending, bookmarks, patches to sew onto backpacks, the perfect size to add a pocket to shirt... there's so much we can do with these small pieces of fabric we create!
The repetition inherent to weaving shifts us into what Ursula K. Le Guin calls "handmind."
She writes, "Nothing we do is better than the work of handmind. When mind uses itself without the hands it runs the circle and may go too fast; even speech using the voice only may go too fast. The hand that shapes the mind into clay or written word slows thought to the gait of things and lets it be subject to accident and time."
And, when we're weaving, we can reflect on the metaphorical imagery it calls to mind. How are we choosing to weave ourselves into community? Who are we in community? Who am I with you? Who are we together?
The original loom design comes from Toni Buckby's Interlace Project. With a grant from the Indianapolis Neighborhood Resource Center, I was empowered to buy a laser that allows me to produce these looms at a very low cost.
I'll be deploying the looms within the Creative Placemaking events the grant originally funded, and I will be offering a slightly altered version of that experience elsewhere, including Spades Park Library here on Indianapolis' near eastside.
This grant funded event will invite neighbors into community space so they can experience weaving firsthand and reflect on what it means to be in community together.
They will enter to find a substantial weaving installation that features large frame looms, upcycled materials and traditional fibers (yarn). We will also have loom kits to send home with each participant along with materials they can experiment with and resources to help them along (Stitch and String Lab for Kids. We will also have strips of upcycled fabric that will be written on by participants and neighbors ahead of and at the event.
We will make together, and some participants will continue to work with the strips of fabric to create a long wall hanging that will remain onsite as an artifact of the experience and a provocation for further consideration of what it means to be in relationship with neighbors.
I'll be offering a series of free weaving events at the Spades Park Branch of the Indianapolis Public Library. You can find out more and register for Weaving Community with Darren Chittick - A Year of Exploring Weaving at Spades Park Library at indypl.org!
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