I have always wanted to weave and this desire took me all the way to the Andean mountains of Peru in 2013. While I did not exactly learn to weave there I certainly spent plenty of time with weavers and plant dyers to begin to pick up on the depth of their work and the deep cultural roots from which it is based.
In the winter of 2016 I finally began weaving, and the more I weave, the more I fall deeper under it's spell. As I continue to explore designs, colors, and experience the rhythm of weaving I am beginning to understand the mystical experience of the weaver, weaving together spirit and earth.
When I begin a new weaving first I look at all the colored threads, vibrating with colors dyed from the plants, all which we grew and tended with love, seeing which colors want to be chosen, who wants to be together. Then the warps threads lay side by side revealing the harmony of the collection of colors. Once it's set on the loom I begin to run the weft through, back and forth, then I watch the design begin to emerge, rivers, or lakes, or butterflies, surprising me each time with its magic, always more beautiful than I even imagined it could be. The perfection of all the pieces coming together right before my eyes, pure magic. And I understand this must be how the world was made.
As I weave I go into a meditative trance, an altered state of consciousness occurs. Visions and cosmic insights are revealed in the rhythm of the shuttle back and forth, as I beat each weft above the last. I feel connected to the plants, the fibers, people, the stories, stars. I hear stories from the plants as I weave. Each design sings it's owns story. The designs begin to take on deeper meanings as they are revealed to me with each passing row.
All these things I understood about weaving intellectually, in my head, as a concept always and an inspiration but now, now, I feel it in my bones, deep in my soul, the connection to my self, weaving my self whole again, this knowledge, understanding brings tears to my eyes, for the beauty of this knowing, finding this path, all being revealed with each pass of the thread. Feeling fibers glide through my fingers, colors that delight my soul that speak to me in their secret language, a language originating with the plants. I feel a connection with the original weavers, weaving spirit and earth. Weavers bringing this consciousness to their community thought their art.
Best of all, weaving is something I can do at home with my three year old daughter. As I weave I am able to hold space for her to play and explore with the knowing that I am there for her, all the while the rhythm of weaving grounding both of us. My weaving is an anchor for her while she plays, she knows I'm there for her and this allows her to feel free to explore her own play and creative work. And I get the joy of listening to her tell magnificent stories and create wonderfully imaginative play while I weave away. Sometimes, she'll stop and stare as I send the shuttle back and forth through the threads, mesmerized by its rhythm. Or she'll be lost in the trance of the warps threads being strung over the pegs as I prepare a new warp. The rhythm of weaving nourishes both of us. It grounds us in the natural rhythm of nature, of the cosmos, something much needed in the chaos of today's world. Sometimes she will say to me "mama, sit, and weave so I can play and do my work."
I sit and weave.