Saturday, May 1, 2010

Building a Loom


1971. Paragon in NYC was sold out of the red Kelty backback that was essential for my upcoming trip to Mexico. Panicked, my dear friend Marty agreed to take the train to Westchester with me so I could get one there. I moved to San Miguel de Allende to do graduate work in crafts, but dropped out when I realized it lacked any standards or rigor. By then I was living in a three-story building on a street that crept up one of the hills. It had a glass-walled room on the roof that opened to a patio. Rent was higher than my former NYC apartment, but the view was better. I decided to stay. And I decided to have a loom built--an eight shaft loom--which was four times the normal number of shafts available on any other loom in that town. Vaguely I remember traveling to Mexico City to purchase some parts (was it the heddles? the shafts? both?). How did I even find a carpenter to build the thing? And how did we communicate--my Spanish was very sparse at the time. I do remember the loom sitting outside on the patio, and how much I loved looking at it from my bedroom--the glass-walled room. I also wove on it too. I know I made some tapestries on it, and my memory says, just tapestry. So why 8 shafts when the norm for that town, two, would have been enough? Well, that is hindsight--of course at the time I wanted more so I could explore freely. At that time, 8 shafts meant total freedom to me.

I only had that loom about six months. Friends came through, I sold the loom to a potter, and we headed off to South America--or so I thought. My friends actually got to the tip of the continent, but I settled in Guatemala. We all have our own karma. The Osloom project, which is now fully funded, got me remembering that rooftop loom and the thrill of building it. 193 supporters will all share in that feeling of having built a loom when the first Osloom is done.

I have to chuckle when I think of the future--a two car garage--on one side someone is building a boat, on the other, someone is building an Osloom.

Spring Blooms

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