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Weaving is a work of the mind. To prepare to make placemats or fabric to be sewn into clothing, the weaver has to determine the amount of yardage of yarn or cotton thread required. There’s thinking to be done: about the finished length, plus room for shrinkage, plus tying all the threads onto the loom.
Then, it is necessary to calculate the exact number of threads that will create the foundation of the piece (the warp), that will be woven (the weft). Laying out threads on the warping board is a repetitive, rhythmic process. Over, under, around and back. Over, under, around and back.
Weaving teaches forethought. I wonder how often I think ahead in life to consider the consequences of my actions or of my words. How often do I give the time deserved to experiences or relationships?
Weaving is a work of mindfulness, of taking time to give attention to the details that will contribute to the woven piece’s unity. Careful, patient attention is summoned in order to place each single thread through the many heddles (analogous to the eye of a needle), in a specific sequence. There can be hundreds of threads that go into creating the design.
There is no rushing in weaving. Weaving settles the weaver into the moment, and slows the weaver down. In “dressing” or preparing the loom for the actual act of weaving, it seems as if a transformation is taking place. The weaver must be obedient to the steps of preparation and the intricacies of the mechanisms of the loom. Through the weaver’s careful attention and obedience, the loom begins to work the weaver, rather than the weaver working the loom.
As the loom is “dressed,” a harmony is established between what the weaver expects to create and what the loom, itself, is capable of. As I come to appreciate the beauty of the instrument, the more I am able to appreciate the dynamic energy that is born from the relationship between the loom and the weaver.
Passing the shuttle (the long wooden tool that carries the weft threads) across the warp threads is a pleasurable movement. In – glide – out. In – glide – out. A repetitious steady climb of one thread laid on the top of another in a cadence that centers the soul. Not all mantras have words. The mantra of the weaver is a nameless, wordless synchrony of mind, body, and spirit that is discovered, but not sought.