Sunday, March 7, 2010

Goodbye Loom

Last project on dobby loom

Yesterday we said goodbye to the beautiful dobby loom that took center stage in our front room. The first step in disassembling the loom was to cut off the yardage that was on the loom. I laid out the damask block section on the table and am relieved to see that it is long enough to go edge to edge. I hope after washing it will still cover. Now the front room is empty, encouraging us to bring the sofa from the second floor office downstairs to be more useful.

Thank you to everyone who sent me comments on my last blog post, many of them came in direct emails to me. They all were thoughtful and encouraging. I have been rereading Jack Kornfield's wonderful book, A Path with Heart, and, honestly, I want to underline every sentence. It is reminding me that each of us has to forge our own way, authentic to ourselves. As soon as I wrote the last post, I knew that I had already come to some decisions--like focusing on weaving work for an exhibition, and not letting other things interfere with that commitment. I will have to finalize the first work soon, since the Vermont Weavers Guild is coming to see my studio on Saturday.

If you are on Weavetech (a yahoo group) or the Complex Weavers Jacquard Study Group, you already know that Garth Fletcher, the developer of JacqCAD Master, a software specifically for jacquard design, has announced that the program is now available as shareware. He explains it all on the website. When I taught in universities, this was one of the programs I used, and I had created and saved hundreds, maybe thousands, of weave structures in that program. When I left academia I no longer had access to any of that information--and it is one of the reasons I was interested in developing Photoshop for jacquard (see The Woven Pixel for those results). With my impeccable sense of timing, about a month ago I cleaned up the two computers that had all my JacqCAD files on them and threw those files into the trash! Oh well. I probably won't go back to that program, since I am quite satisfied with my method of designing and weaving using Photoshop, but it is an excellent program and Garth has offered a gift to everyone in the field.

I want to mention the Osloom project again. I like the spirit of this project. It is an attempt to open up new technologies in weaving to a larger group of people. I also want to say that I suspect that as that project unfolds, they are going to discover that the high cost of the current hand jacquards is due to the expense of manufacturing parts that are specified to the tiniest fractions of variation--and anything less than that will cause problems with the loom. Vibeke Vestby began her investigations that led to the TC1 with the same spirit of innovation and sharing that Margarita Benitez has for the Osloom. The expense of the loom has not increased because of greed but because of the value of the dollar versus the Norwegian krone. Despite the headaches of manufacturing, Vestby and her company have continued to improve the loom, and continue to offer the best customer support possible. As I return to my TC1 this week, I know for certain that I will be sending silent blessings off to Vestby, in gratitude for all she has done for me and other weavers. In that spirit, I wish Benitez support for her project, and hope you will donate to her kickstarter project. If enough of us donate $25, it can add up to the sum she needs.


  1. Just a note to say that I really enjoy this blog and will come back to read the archives. Thanks for joining the Slow Cloth group on Facebook - I'm glad for the connection.

  2. i'm still in awe by the elegant simplicity of the pixel weaving method.
    and thank you for the osloom link. i've become a sponsor and advocate.

  3. Beautiful damask runner,and now enjoying your work work on the TC-1. Enjoy your blog!