One of the reasons I bought my “traveling loom” was to take workshops in the area. The criteria was that it would fit in my Mini. With the seats down, and the front seats all the way up, it wedges in just right. Which brings me to March 21 – 23, when I joined the Arizona Desert Weavers and Spinners Guild in an “Exploring Shadow Weave” workshop, taught by Jannie Taylor. For those of you who don’t know about shadow weave, it’s a really cool weaving structure and technique. Think of the capes woven by Galadriel for the Fellowship in the Peter Jackson Lord of the Rings movie. I have attempted shadow weave on my own, but with little success. Success is in the eyes of the beholder, for sure, and I certainly have a very complicated imagination as compared to what I could do on a four shaft loom. That said, I held my expectations close to the vest.
Not to worry. My sample pattern wasn’t so bad (except for a treadle tie-up mistake). There were eighteen looms in the class, so there were plenty of patterns, variations of patterns, and a wide assortment of looms to experiment on. Four, eight, twelve – even a computer-driven loom (that would be Janie’s, of course) – made for a fiber feast.
You learn a lot about a person when you work on their loom. It’s like writing code, or driving someone else’s car. It makes for an interesting read on how to treadle or follow the flow of their structure – and it even bleeds into how a shuttle was wound, and the type of shuttle the weaver uses.
The days alternated with making the rounds on all the looms (each with its own pattern and color way), and sitting in rapt attention while Janie shared her wisdom. Shadows in life are tricky – the trick is to learn how you get a perspective of where you are in relation to any object by reading its shadow. High noon produces point zero – no shadow. Symmetry or duplication is based on either creating a mirror image or just reproducing the initial pattern. Aha. So simple. Point or rounded transition. You get to decide! Or follow a published pattern. Either way, it opens a new world of perspective.