For me, this time has been a slowing down, a time of accepting that what I'm creating is not going to be perfect and a chance to develop a daily practice.
As it was a new skill I was learning, in a foreign language no less, I decided early on that I was going to keep the weaving pretty simple, leaving the more ambitious or experimental project to the weeks of embroidery. I think this was a good move. It made me less precious about the work. I didn't worry too much when my first attempt had a section of uneven weaving. It's something that I probably could have prevented if my teacher and I spoke the same language, but instead I learned from my mistake and my second attempt is much more consistent.
|Wonky first attempt.|
I'm not even particularly concerned about whether I remember how to warp the loom or finish off the piece. YouTube has so many tutorials to set me straight and I will be taking a semester of weaving at some point, so I'll be able to do a refresher then.
Eufracina, our teacher, specialises in a type of backstrap loom weaving that involves a supplementary weft. This means adding in additional threads in each row to create your pattern. It's taken us a little time to get our heads around this – a time-consuming process with patterns not created on a square grid, but rather on a brick grid, as pictured.
On the Sunday we went to visit Eufracina's house where we learnt to warp the looms ourselves. I was really keen to weave something using the coyuchi cotton, but we weren't able to get our hands on some in time (thankfully I have now secured about 450g, so that will certainly be coming home with me). Instead I chose to use the natural cotton again and some brighter colours for the pattern. I've also kept to simple geometrics and tried out a series of stripes. I think, for me, the bigger issue has been keeping the weave consistent, so I wanted to keep everything else fairly simple. Plus I'm always a fan of stripes!
I'm certainly more conscious now, looking at the types of woven fabrics I'm seeing (in stores, markets and the textile museum), of how the weave might have been created and the huge amount of work that goes into each piece.
|Backstrap loom weaving by the Navarro Gomez family.|