Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Impossible

double weave bumblebees

Apparently, according to the laws of aerodynamics, it's impossible that a bee can fly. And yet it does. There are times when ignorance is most decidedly bliss!

As it happens this is the very fabric that sparked the idea that I could become a professional weaver. Why? I don't really know where that thought came from, except that I had been having a weekly 'tutorial' on what was happening in the weaving room each Monday night when I went to spinning class.

Linda was taking both classes - immersing herself in spinning and weaving - and her excitement fairly bubbled over telling me what she'd done the Tuesday before in the loom room, showing me her fabrics, her plans for the next warp, excitedly conveying her love for what she was doing at the looms.

From September until the following March I got spoon-fed tidbits of information on how to weave.

And then, that fateful day in March, my boss called me over saying that she'd received new fabric samples and they were from Sweden. Since she knew I had an affinity for Sweden, she knew I'd want to see them right away.

There were two of them, but it was this one that drew my fingers. I picked it up, turned it over, pulled the two layers apart and thought to myself "I know how they've done this. I don't know the details, but I know that they have woven two layers of fabric at once, pulling the threads from the bottom layer to the top and pushing the threads of the top to the bottom, to make the bees."

And that tiny kernel of knowledge took root and grew until I found myself musing aloud to Doug that I wondered if a person could weave fabric and sell it and make some money.
Bless his heart he said "Go for it". I pointed out our tiny house had no where for a loom. So we decided to sell our tiny house (I was making very good money for a woman in 1975) and buy something bigger.
By August we were moving into our new home, September saw me resigning my job (once the mortgage had been secured) and I found myself - at last - sitting in front of a loom, shuttle in hand. Home.< /div>
When I quit my job, my boss presented me with this sample, which I've kept now for 35 years. A reminder that there are times when the impossible is possible.

There have been many times over the years when I have wondered to myself what on earth I thought I was doing when I chose to quit a rather lucrative job to become a career weaver. All the uncertainty, the lack of steady income, the risk of going to shows, never knowing if anything would sell let alone cover the costs (never mind make a profit). And yet when I look back I don't think I'd change very much.
Oh there are a few things I've done I'd rather not - 'seemed like a good idea at the time' sort of things. But essentially I have had a rich and rewarding, not to say challenging life. Weaving a life, as it were. I've been places I never thought I'd go, met fabulous people, done things that seemed - well - impossible.
And yet - and yet - the bee flies - as impossible as that is supposed to be.
Just finished Thunderkiller by Margaret Coel and started The Lifehouse Trilogy (I think) by Spider Robinson


Sharon Schulze said...

That is just an achingly excellent story.

My fateful moment came over a potholder that my mother bought from a local weaver. I still make those potholders but only when I'm at my father's house.

Sharon Schulze said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sharon said...

I love that story, and what I truly appreciate, is that you didn't just go for it to make money. You brought us all along with you in your journey. I've only been weaving about five years and from the start, I came across your words of sharing and encouragement. I hope you can get back to a form of what you love until you can get back to what you love soon.

amyfibre said...

so what was your before-weaving career? just curious....

Laura said...

Hi Amy,

I had a bunch of dead end jobs but right before I became a weaver I was an 'interior design consultant' - fancy word for custom drapery salesperson.

Surrounded by hundreds, if not thousands, of textiles every day. Seemed like a logical step to start making the fabric....... :^)

who managed to weave a bit of lace - may yet finish the bookmark