Monday, May 15, 2006

The Warp and Weft of Weavers

This is the way I see it.

The warp is time, and the weft, distance. There have been many, many weavers over the centuries, in probably every corner of the world, who wove cloth to make their own clothes, to use in their everyday lives, to present to royalty and holy men, and even to pay as taxes. Many wove to exchange the cloth with other essentials, like food perhaps, and many to fulfill their artistic aspirations; most were motivated by a combination of these and many other reasons.

Some raised (captured?) the flora and fauna which yielded the fiber, some did the same to dye, and some spun their own fiber. Nowadays some buy yarns from lands far away by typing in credit card numbers, and some yarns are even brewed in factories. Some have recorded their work, in bits of clay, pieces of paper, or over the Internet, some just put on another warp and move on. Some worked the entire process; some were taught, (or even born?), to do just one part.

Few were lucky to be highly esteemed, with accolades, gold pieces, or their names in books; some had their work categorized as an example 'from this era' or 'from that region'; most, however, went unnoticed.

And some were men, some were women.

When weavers weave, whether on a 32-shaft compudobby with a fly shuttle in a purpose-built studio, or on a backstrap loom in the shade under a tree, we are in the company of countless weavers across time, and distance. I will never know most of them, but I am among them, and that is a thrilling and privileged place to be.

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