Wednesday, October 8, 2014
Once you're all tied on it's time to start weaving. The process of weaving involves throwing the shuttle back and forth and beating the weft into place. It requires tightening of the warp threads and stamina. You "tromp" a treadle to lift the shed in a pattern. In the process the weft threads go under some threads and over other threads and once beat into place create a solid cloth with durability and beauty.
There are so many places to go with the weaving analogy, but today I'm going to focus on beating and tightening because that's where I am...maybe tomorrow I'll dig a little deeper.
The process of "beating" the weft sounds so violent, but it really isn't. You don't beat hard because if you do you'll end up with a really tight fabric that won't be good for much--maybe a rug, but that's debatable. You can actually "beat" really softly and create light diaphanous fabric...something that has more air to it than heft. I like to do this with scarves. I challenge myself to beat softly and evenly and see if I can do it...create beauty and structure.
I'm trying to do that with my life right now. I'm beating all the pieces into place...not violently but in order to create structure. I'm not beating hard as that would mean there would be places that wouldn't look right, that would feel uncomfortable and wouldn't function properly in the finished me. So, I'm being gentle but even and working on getting something that has structure and boundaries and beauty in the end.
And tightening the warp...well...without a tight warp your end woven fabric would look shabby at best and may not work at all if it's truly awful. The warp has to be retensioned every several beats early in a project. This takes out the looseness that inevitably happens when you're winding on and creates a fabric that is even throughout the entire length. It's important to keep retensioning even when you feel like you've over tightened already. You don't want to go crazy and break the warp threads, but if you pay attention, the fabric will tell you what's tight enough and you'll get a fabric that is even throughout and truly wonderful.
In my life I liken this retensioning the warp to holding myself responsible. For all things--taking care of myself, being vulnerable, learning this process of being healthy (mentally and physically), going easy on myself (not tightening too much and breaking my threads!), but also trying to maintain some structure underneath that will look good throughout the whole length of me--staying true to myself in other words.
The warp threads of our life are the ones that we have throughout the whole part of being us. They're the ones that make up our core values and if we take care of them, keep them lined up, properly tensioned and carefully tended, we'll create a fabric that will be recognizable throughout despite different weft threads we weave in. And the beauty that is us is truly unique because of it.