Done!

Back in October of 2018, I was talking to my husband about the mythical weave shed that I imagined for myself. I may have been talking about it for the past several years, to the point where the myth was taking a very definite shape in my mind. In October, we both started talking about it as if it were a real thing, and it was just that simple – one of us said “we could actually do it, you know” and the plan started to take shape.

So, Berwick Weaving Company now has an actual building to itself, and I could not be happier. Have you ever made something happen, from dream-to-actuality, and at the end of it realize that you have literally made your dream come true?

I have, and it’s terrific.

The road to the studio, from when we hired someone to when it was finished, was surprisingly short. We got quotes in October/November, and they started the building process in January. Working through a wet and windy wintertime, the studio emerged in about 4 months. They were quiet, respectful, and responsive. I am happy with our builder, Bentley Built Homes. It may be the first weave studio they’ve built, but it may not be their last.

Before, and after.

It wasn’t always entirely smooth, but putting it all in perspective the process was remarkably freer of angst and stress than I had expected. The building is so quiet, and such a difference from the old weave room that looked out over a busy street! It’s warm, sturdy, and peaceful. It’s tucked in underneath my favorite old maple tree, and looks remarkably like it’s been there for ages already (though I do need to do some landscaping).

It took about a week to move everything in and organize it all – organization was always my biggest worry, because weaving comes with a lot of gear. But I’ve been in the studio, working, for about 3 or 4 days now, and I really couldn’t be happier. The efficiency one gets from knowing where everything is in a space, from everything having a place, is valuable.

The studio is not a retail space; it’s really just a more private and efficient space for me to work. I do plan on setting up a studio tour maybe, and as always if people want to visit they can message me through Berwick Weaving Co.’s facebook page or email me and set something up. I am “open by chance” – no set hours.

For those of you interested in that storage I keep talking about:

These shelves are terrific. Taking advantage of the 10 foot high ceilings, the shelf is eight feet high, and eight feet wide. Twelve inch deep shelves, so I don’t lose anything behind something else. I was shocked at the amount of fibre I actually had – in the old weave room everything was compressed, or boxed, so I had no real idea until I took it all out there and started sorting! I love it, and every time I look at it, I am inspired. I find it so useful to have it all out, and in view.

Some weavers keep their fibre stored in plastic boxes, or tubs. I just can’t do it. This will require more dusting than if I’d chosen to do that, but it’s worth it.

On the other side of the room, I chose to repurpose shelves I’d had made for my in-house weave room. I’m very happy I did – I love the look of them, and the cubbies will prove useful.

I’ve managed to fit all the looms in, save one small rigid heddle loom I decided to keep in the house. It’s a convenient size to use in front of the tv, or in the sitting room.

I found a place for my beloved mangle, and put a good sized table in as a workspace, or for (future, planned) teaching space.

I love this space, and am over the moon with it. I look forward to many happy hours in there. Thanks for taking this journey with me.

The art of seeing

Some days, I walk into the workroom and pause. I look around, and I see the tools that I use for weaving, the glorious fibres and colours, the objects that are both functional and beautiful, and I am grateful.

Other days, I take it all for granted – I forget that this workroom (though small and cluttered) is a haven. I forget that all of this work has stretched my abilities, that practice and time invested have made me able to create things that are beautiful, complex, comforting.

Today, I saw it all, and was glad. The studio build continues, and some days have more dump trucks and equipment in the driveway than I ever thought there’d be, but here in my little workroom is a lifetime of colour, texture, and fibre.

The sun is out today, but the sky looks threatening. It’s cold, and the wind is whistling around the house. Later today, in my snug workroom, I’ll start planning my next weave and the next after that.

It’s a good life.

Studio build update:

It’s starting to shape itself into a studio-sized form. Since we moved here in 2003, there was a garden shed, just in front of the new construction site. When it was removed, we realized just how much of a difference it made – they took down the fence, too, and all of a sudden we remembered the size and shape of the yard that was hidden behind that little shed, and bisected by picket fence.

A giant hole. Footings and foundation walls framed and poured.

I’ve begun to think about the inside of that studio too, trying to figure out where all of the stuff will go. It’s not a horrible task to have, and I’ve enjoyed having to think about my practice this way – where do I like the light while I weave? How to arrange fibre (type, colour, type and colour, size?), what makes more sense – a table or a long counter?

Arts & crafts project – a scale drawing with construction paper to-scale looms etc.

The other day I told someone that “I am a weaver”. Then I giggled.

I wrote this post on my blog after I started weaving in earnest. If you can bear to wade through it, you’ll see how much and why I love this craft.

Box761

This past summer Mr. 761 and I went to Ireland for two weeks. It was everything you would imagine a two-week trek in a beautiful country with the person you love can be – relaxing and gorgeous and interesting and memorable. We both can trace family back to Ireland, and while I cannot claim an eerie feeling of “I’ve-been-here-before” because of this familial link, I can say that I felt very comfortable there, and could go back in a moment and stay for a long number of moments quite happily.

malinbeg Malinbeg sheep

There was something about the west that I loved very much; the south-and-west too. Counties Cork and Kerry. Clare and Donegal… oh, Donegal. I loved it there.

I took too many pictures to count – enough to tire even the fondest family members and facebook friends. I kept trying to capture moments in time, because I was so moved.

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