Workshop Snapshot: Learning to Weave!
Workshop Snapshots are stories and experiences shared by our guests! We first met Lisa when she and her family dropped in to visit our shop after dinner at a neighboring restaurant. Soon after, she attended her first creative workshop. We love hearing stories of creativity and inspiration! It reminds us why we love hosting workshops! Here's a glimpse at Lisa's workshop experience!
By: Lisa Hu Chen
The first time I walked into M.Lovewell, it wasn't the bright, gorgeous interior, or the friendly, adorable shopowners, or the unique, curated merchandise that initially struck me. As soon as I walked through the front door, my eyes immediately caught on to a beautiful piece of artwork that hung behind the cash register. It was a woven wall tapestry, hand loomed with chunky, textured wool, in the most simple, fresh and striking colors, and centered regally and alone on a bright white wall. It was stunning.
When I found out it was specially commissioned for their space and sadly not for sale, I knew I wanted to do the next best thing - I wanted to learn how to make one.
As luck would have it, a few weeks later my friends treated me to a loom weaving workshop with the talented Katie Wigglesworth for my birthday. It was a private class with 11 of my dear friends and we learned how to create our very own pieces - from assembling the loom, to setting up the warp thread, shuttling the weft thread, integrating colors, manipulating yarn, and visualizing then realizing our patterns. It was a lesson in creating, imagining, focusing, threading, shuttling, repeating. And it was unbelievably therapeutic.
Weaving is an art form that accommodates incredibly complex and sophisticated artistry but at the same time, it's easy to learn, very forgiving and surprisingly relaxing. My friends and I had a blast. There were those of us with lots of ideas and creative juices overflowing through our fingers to the loom, and there were those of us who were at first a little gun shy (that'd be me) and set on mastering the fundamentals but intimidated by the free flowing rule that you can create any kind of pattern you want. Like a monthly book club or weekly playgroup, we were surrounded by each other in an inviting and beautiful space, and we bonded over lively conversations, our love of creating, and our openness to learning something new and unfamiliar.
It wasn't until the workshop was over that I realized this amazing art form could easily extend beyond those of us who were there. A few of my friends told me the next day that, not only were they motivated to continue looming and finishing their pieces, but that their own children took a keen interest in helping out. It was easy enough for my friends to teach; so much so that their kids eventually overtook the loom entirely and successfully completed the woven piece on their own.
I'm so thankful that M.Lovewell provides this space that allows anyone looking to learn a new craft or teach a life long passion the opportunity to do so. I've got a long way to go to be able to weave a similar piece as the one I fell in love with that fateful day I entered the shop. But now that I have the tools and the knowledge, I hope that with patience and practice, like anything else, I can loom that special piece that will fill my blank wall and have a great birthday story to tell along side it.
All Photos Courtesy of Lisa Hu Chen. You can find more of her photography on Instagram @lotusandnovember.