Monday, February 25, 2013

if you want it, you can build it yourself

diana has participated in several sessions of weaving classes with verena borton at the davis art center over the past few years.  she's learned to use two-harness, four-harness, and eight-harness table looms.  she's also used inkle looms, getting to warp them herself.  she's made bookmarks, belts, pillows, scarves, and all manner and size of blankets/rugs/table coverings.

she loves weaving.  it's concentration-intensive, requiring attention to the parts of the loom, visualizing where the threads needs to go, patience in pulling with just-enough-but-not-too-much tension, trust that the emerging pattern will turn out as expected, or even if not, it will turn out with a sense of beauty.

it can sometimes be anxiety-provoking, especially with fumbling fingers or equipment that breaks down.  but mostly, after things are warped correctly and the process has begun, diana finds herself in an almost-meditative state, finding calm in the gentle, steady movement of her shuttle.  she gets into csikszentmihalyi's flow.  she loves the feel of the threads

she's wrapped up her last class with mrs. borton, who has been a wonderful teacher and guide to diana.  diana appreciated the chance to make her own decisions and ask for help when she gets stuck.  she loved how mrs. borton plays soft classical music during the class.  she learned more about herself and how she relates to others (there were similarly-aged children in the classes, and occasionally adults).  she could enjoy both the process and the product of her efforts.

i think we would both like having a loom of our own.  that desire runs in our family; steve's mother, diana's namesake, had multiple looms and wove beautiful creations that we still use every day in our home.  oh, the times they could have had together, that girl and that woman, if the elder had not passed before the younger's birth.  but i see and feel the connection, and that's enough for me.

it should not have come as a surprise to me when diana announced that she was making her own loom.  admittedly, i dismissed the idea in my own head when she first mentioned it. i thought, "that won't work, but i'm not going to burst her bubble by saying so. she's proven herself often enough to have warranted my belief in her."  but outwardly, i simply wished her luck and waited to see what would happen.  she makes lots of things.

trial and error.  an emotional roller coaster of frustration, joy, fear, hope, anger, and finally, pride.

she started the base with the simple hand loom mrs. borton had made for each student in their very first class.  heavy cardboard and wooden dowels.

add cardboard, tape, straws, rubber bands, and experienced knowledge of levers/pulleys/working parts from weaving and LEGO engineering and scientific study and she made...a loom.


i learn a lot from my daughter.  that fact releases me from a lot of concerns i used to have about homeschooling her.  i homeschool with her.  in fact, i can just say we learn together, because that is what we do.  we build what works for us; we build it ourselves.

update: i was excited that my post was worth noting on lori pickert's project based homeschooling facebook page, and then on her blog.   


  1. That's fantastic, Dawn. Isn't it wonderful when they prove us wrong? So impressive that something made from cardboard, straws and clips can create a fabric so beautiful.

  2. The final quote on this post is perfect