I am driven to create. There is something inside me that doesn’t rest until it comes out, and the best way to bring it out is to put it into a design that is pleasing, not only to the eye but in form and color and shape and texture and presence. This is something I must do. I no longer have a choice. I have learned to listen to this thing, and that to deny it is to deny something bigger than me.
I have also learned to surround myself with people who can mentor me in this process. People who have already learned to listen to this driving force within themselves, who can live as an example for me, who can help me in the process of letting this thing out in a way that respects it, respects the medium, and respects the creator.
I can’t choose whether to create, only how to do it. I have always loved textiles, learning to sew at an early age, and, in fact, made all my own clothes by the time I was in High School. I have dabbled a little in drawing and painting, but I love fibers and learning how they are made, differences in them that make them drape or hang differently, their textures, and even their smells.
I was inspired to become a weaver when I first saw the tapestries hung in the worship space at Grace United Methodist Church in Lincoln, Nebraska. These Chancel Hangings, designed by David W. Seyler and woven by Helen McCown, have such a variety of color, texture, and symbolism, that one can’t help but be drawn in by them as if opening one’s eyes and mind to a new but familiar reality.
Many years after being impressed by those tapestries, it occurred to me that if I were to learn to weave in this lifetime, it was time to begin, as it might take me awhile to master this art. I started the journey by taking a beginning weaving class through the Hand Weavers Guild of Lincoln, thus beginning a relationship that has benefited me immeasurably. I am blessed to not only have come upon instructors (both formal and informal) but also through the inspiration and stimulation of their thoughts, designs, techniques, and their works. I continue to bloom under the influence of the weavers in this group.
For me, the process of designing a piece is by far the most fulfilling aspect of being a weaver. I spend long hours turning ideas over in my head in many different ways before arriving at the best way to combine color, weave structure, and fiber. In fact, often I am sitting at the loom weaving a piece (which can, undoubtedly, be a rather boring process of to and fro) while planning the next piece in my head. But sometimes I am rather suddenly struck by something that is inescapable; it just has to be woven. At those times I can not finish one project fast enough, to be ready to start on the next.