"An intricate, delicate, or fanciful ornamentation."
(The Free Dictionary)

"Whoever loves and understands a garden will find contentment."
          --Chinese Proverb

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Saturday, May 3, 2008

Congatulations, it's a...

bouncing baby…no, not girl, not boy…it’s a LOOM! I am not sure what color balloon I am supposed to hang on my mailbox announcing the happy arrival of something that is 36 inches wide, weighs 155 pounds, and is made of metal and wood. Yet here he - or she, sits in the middle of my family room floor begging for attention like any new family member. Not-so-little Leclerc, model name Nilus to be specific, is a handsome “child” made of kiln-dried, Canadian hard maple and sporting four-harnesses. Built in the 1980s, he is hardly a newborn, and he has a few signs of wear. His bench is a little wobbly and the seat is scratched. (I can identify with his condition!) This is his third home. However, overall, he is a sturdy piece of equipment that should be with us for a long time as long as he is given a moderate amount of good care. I intend to do my best to be a good parent.

This was an “unplanned pregnancy” of sorts. I had no intention of buying a loom at this point in my life as I was focusing on other craft projects. Yet, when I received an email from a friend who knew someone selling a loom due to a move to a smaller home, I was immediately intrigued. The price was right. How could I NOT look at it since I had wanted to learn to weave for over fifteen years? Having taken a weaving class many years ago whetted my appetite for making my own textiles, but being newly married I was not able to afford a loom at the time. Instead of a loom, I satisfied my fiber fetish by working in a fabric store and buying way too much fabric, much to my dear husband’s chagrin.

A few days later, a friend and I took a trip to see “Nilus,” who looked rather forlorn in the loft above the barn where he was stored. I brought a friend who weaves so she could give me her opinion about the loom. While she and the loom’s owner reviewed the different parts of the machinery with me, mentioning terms that were somewhat familiar but long lost in distant memory, I nodded in approval. As the warm, late afternoon sunlight streamed in over Nilus’ dusty, caramel-colored frame, I realized that seeing the loom was just a formality; I had secretly come with the intention of bringing it home with me. I even had a check in my pocket. Within a few minutes I heard a voice that sounded surprisingly like mine saying, “Yes, I’ll take it. When can I come to get it?” After a week of waiting, we had a loom at our doorstep. I feel a new craft addiction coming on.

The excitement of birthing a new creative outlet, like any new romance, offers a high that is hard to match. I am drawn to the flush of new artistic love. Although I am a very consistent marriage partner, I am a fickle lover when it comes to my craft supplies. Any handsome piece of fabric or shiny new bead cap can turn my head. I’ll leave my familiar boxes upon boxes of remnants and findings in an instant for the smooth, seductive feel of a fresh roll of chenille, or the mesmerizing sparkle of new glass beads. While constructing a pair of earrings with my trusty pliers, I’ll turn away from my work for a moment only to spy the corner of deep red, paisley brocade peeking out from within a pile of future projects under my sewing machine cabinet. “I would make a stunning bag if only you’d take me out,” this handsome textile beckons with a come-hither look. I am hooked and I start dreaming of sewing rather than wrapping wire.

Like any parent, I won’t commit to having a favorite amongst my crafting “children,” but the newest members always tend to get more attention. I know that once I start learning to weave and start spending more time with the loom, my old tools will feel like ignored older siblings after the birth of the latest child. But they can rest assured that, after awhile, I’ll come back to them, refreshed and revitalized by my latest creative adventure, and ready to love them, through the joys and frustrations, for all the unique qualities that they bring to my crafting family and to my life.