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Sunday, January 19, 2014

Connecticut Weavers Guild

Being semi-unemployed this winter, which means I have no part time or temporary jobs this year, I am being a potter... making pottery, casting little critters and weaving for this coming years fairs, so I actually had time to look into my own states' weaving guild. I joined the Minneapolis weavers guild last year because I am out there so much. I decided to look up my own states guild last week.  I was pleased to see they had a meeting, just last Saturday in Glastonbury and I was welcomed to come over and display my looms, my weaving book and some mini pottery.

What a nice group of weavers!  I felt very welcome. I met some folks I had met at fiber festivals in the past in New England, and met some new weavers too.  The guest speakers talked about their large looms and used weaving terminology that I was glad to learn and adapt to my own weaving experience. I was given a small floor loom last year by a friend, and my sister has a barn size loom and weaves, but weaving is fairly new to me. Large looms and patterns that is.

I weave on a small tape loom. I weave small bands of cloth for ties and decoration. I am self taught, so I had to learn terminology and get advice from established weavers along the way and then come to my own definitions and style.  

Reggie Delarm, tape loom weaving

I was  well received by the members.  I sold some of my looms and books and quite a few mini pots, always a favorite.  I learned a lot. And I had fun.

Our first speaker talked about saving the ends of the warp, conservation of material. I can understand that. With a tape loom there is small waste of warp because the warp is short and the loom is just a narrow rigid heddle. You loose about 6 inches to a foot when you get up near the tie knot.  But with a larger loom there is a waste of thread between the heddles and the back beams and with a wider weave, that can amount to a lot of wasted warp.

We had a lovely, unexpected by me, lunch, show and tell, which was a fun way to see other peoples work, ideas and finds. Then another speaker, a master weaver, talked about the fact we will never fully learn everything about our trade... in her case weaving and in mine, pottery and the tape loom.
Reggie Delarm, treadle potters wheel

Geofrey Chaucer wrote the Canterbury Tales in the 1300s, and was quoted:
"The lyf so short, the craft so longe to lerne."

My sweetie, Roger the bowl turner, quotes this often. We who do historic trades and for that matter any craft or art, will always be learning more. No matter how good we get over the years, there will be always new things to learn and the longer we live, the more we practice, the more diligent we are, the more we will learn and accomplish, but live is so short and we will never have enough time to learn it all.

Which is a good thing. We take down our guard, we humbly admit that there is more to learn about our trade, we joyfully look forward to learning more from others and trial and error, experimenting with new equipment, methods and materials and trying new things.

I came home from the meeting wanting to get out that floor loom, try out the tapestry loom, get down my inkle from the attic and mostly to make some new projects with my simple tape looms.

Here are some of my fellow Tradesmen and Women.... working their trades for years so "longe to lerne".
Roger Abrahamson, Bowl Turner
Cindie Etienne, Felter
Bob Etienne, Flax 
John Holzwart, Brooms

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