As I reflected on Martin Luther King Junior this Monday, I was reminded of the first reason why I became a weaver. There are many stories I could tell about why I chose this craft. The one I choose to share with you today, is about how struck I was, and still am, that the tradition of weaving is an inclusive history.
As an undergraduate student of art history, I took classes in many different periods and cultures. But I was always most interested in learning about the textiles. Whether I was studying the intricate tapestries of the Middle Ages, the bold and bright Kente cloth of the Ashanti kingdom, the geometric Navajo rugs, or the silk Kesi weaving of China, I couldn't help but feel connected to this art. This all came together for me my senior year when I took a class in Women's art history. My love of textiles really began to make sense that semester.
Within one month of graduating from college, I took my first weaving class at Penland School of Crafts. I quickly became inspired by the various textures of the fibers, the creaks and shutters and bangs of the loom, and the meditative quality of the action of weaving. When I was home again, I immediately purchased a simple four harness floor loom and found a studio space. I was in love. Even though my practice no longer includes a floor loom, I still think about the haunting and rhythmic sounds of that loom.
Today as I look back on my weaving journey, I remember my first desire to be connected to all of the weavers who came before me. It blows me away when I think about how rich the history of weaving is. It is an honor to be apart of this tradition and I'm so thankful for all of the other weavers currently practicing techniques from all over the world.