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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Tape Loom Weaving.... My book is finally in print!

It all began about 20 years ago, when I found this board with holes in it... in the attic of my families old house.

I kinda knew what it was, but had no intention of using it... yet.

I started as a costumed demonstrator at my local Goshen Fair about 15 years ago. I demonstrated pottery, and from there I found I liked the life of crowds of people every day asking me questions and I found it was rather fun.

I was soon hired by Storrowton Village for the Big E.  I like being around history people. We are a simple, back to basics group. We love sharing our crafts and our experiences and our way of life.

I remembered the board in my attic and a few years ago, I made a replica. I painted mine blue with milk based paint and added a painting of a couple from the old days and gave them the names of my great grandparents from Brooklyn NY, George and Elizabeth Jeppe.

After I figured it out, I started making striped bands. I was by that time, demonstrating at Mercer Museum In Pennsylvania and met a lovely woman weaving on tape looms there who gave me advice and showed me her beautiful weavings.

Eleanor Bittle
Eleanor Bittle is an expert on these old looms.

I started bringing my loom to more and more demonstrations and fairs.
At Alifia in Florida
I went to Florida to the Alifia group of reenactors in winter one year. I met many lovely folks using inkle looms. Inkle looms are a modern (1920s) version of the same style of loom.  They are based on the looms that Carl Larson painted in Sweden. All these looms were created to make simple narrow bands of cloth. The Scandinavians, Germans, Russians, Africans... everyone needed these bands for ties and decorations.

liverwurst sandwiches
Then I met Roger. He is of Norwegian descent. I just had to learn how to weave the fancier bands. There was no books on how to. The classes I found in Massachusetts and Minnesota did not coincide with my shedule. So I had to figure it out myself.  The set up is a little different than inkle looms. Lots of folks know how to set up the string heddles on them, but I couldn't find help on the rigid heddle of the tape loom.

When it finally clicked in my head, I had to write this book. I want others to enjoy this simple way of weaving bright bands. I take one on the plane in my suitcase, I weave in the truck on vacations. I have a million things I want to make, banjo straps, legging ties, head bands, hat bands, arm bracelets.... and so many patterns I want to try. I want others to get excited about this too. I want museums to show guests how to use the looms they have in their exhibits. I want people to talk about them again!

I did some drawings.

I charted patterns.
I made samples and took photographs.

And I finished the book.
Check it out.
Thanks to all who helped!

1 comment:

mallardhen said...

Just reading your blog makes me believe somehow we must be long lost sisters (lol). I too inkle weave, have been a potter for about 45 years, and want a tape loom so much I can taste it. I am also an artist (retired art teacher)and somewhere in there a hippy and was front & center at the original Woodstock.

Although I think you are way younger then me my coming across your web page was meant to be. Thrilled to have found your blog and hope to become friends.