The other day someone referred to me as being a 'traditional' weaver. That description took me aback because for so many years of my career 'traditional' weavers refused me acceptance into the tribe based on my equipment choices and focus on efficiency.
I was, after all, using a loom with dobby and fly shuttle and according to them, I could no longer call my textiles hand woven.
It was the same when I added the computer interface, and again when I added air assist to the loom.
So to be called 'traditional'? I had to think about that for a while.
Eventually I realized that the word traditional, like most words, is open to interpretation by the person who is using it.
On the one hand, my approach to weaving is to make cloth that will serve it's function well. I aim for consistent beat, tidy selvedges and a density that is appropriate for that cloth's purpose.
On the other hand, I prefer to design my own drafts, not dip into the 'traditional' well - unless I do something 'different' like the overshot designs I turned into 4 block 16 shaft twill. Not the traditional approach, and one that is made easy for me because of my non-traditional equipment.
I'm not adverse to free form design done 'well', it just isn't my personal approach to design. I do prefer loom controlled patterning because it is faster. I prefer finer, thinner threads because I like to make cloth that is finer...because thinner cloth will often perform it's intended function 'better' imho. Using finer threads allows me to have longer floats to create different designs. Having more shafts gives me more options for patterning, too, as in the heart design above. Woven in 2/16 or 2/20 cotton at 32 or 36 ends per inch, those 5 end floats are not a problem where they might be more of a problem at 8 ends per inch.
And so on.
So, yes, I am a 'traditional' weaver if the definition is that I want to make cloth that serves it's purpose well. I don't expect 'perfection' from anyone, not my students nor myself. But I do expect that people will at least try to make cloth that has structural integrity.
But in the end? That's just my opinion, just my approach. Everyone is entitled to their own approach, their own definition. And when that definition doesn't match mine? Well, that's my problem, not theirs.