I was very privileged to be invited to Mater Dei Catholic School to spend a couple of mornings weaving with two young classes and introduce them to the art of weaving. After showing them the loom and how we use it, all the children had a turn at the loom weaving their own small piece.
I always get a buzz from seeing how different children approach the loom. Some leap into the unknown with gusto and whip up some amazing weave before they’ve even thought about the process. Others are more cautious, they want to know the ins and outs of this new piece of equipment they’ve been given permission to use. While others still, they are just excited by the prospect of making something all their own, with the colours and textures of their choosing and in a way that they probably have never done before.
I saw all these reactions while weaving with these bright young children last week. Each child made a woven wall hanging with the wool they chose from the rainbow of colours available. Some children went for texture, big and chunky with lots of colours through the one strand, while others chose the simpler colours and finer yarns, picking ones that blended well together.
While the children were weaving, without realising it they were learning all about the textiles around them, from the tea towels in the kitchen to the sheets on their beds, the clothes they were wearing and, as one child told me, even the rug on their lounge room floor. There’s a rhythm to weaving, with the left right pedalling and throwing the shuttle back and forth, and it’s wonderful to see how quickly the children pick this rhythm up, even when their first few rows are a confusion of hands and feet, with those few rows, they find their own rhythm and before they know it they’ve made themselves their very own piece of cloth.
Thank you Alison and Penny for allowing me into your classes, and thank you Katie and Sarah for your help. You are now both experts on weaving without ever having woven! Your help really did make it all run so smoothly.