Last weekend I officially opened my studio during the local village festival, ‘Koroisten kyläjuhlat’. In my open studio the visitors could try weaving on a traditional floor loom. I didn’t have any preconceived ideas on how it would go, because the surroundings were quite different to those in Kuusisto, where I held my summer workshops.
It turned out that a lot of people, especially kids, were interested in weaving. When they had their parents with them, it was much easier to approach the big loom and have the courage to say hello to me. The thing about floor looms is that they have not been designed for very short people (ie. children) or people with certain disabilities (you have to be able to use your arms and legs). However this was not a problem, as the children discovered that by working together with their parents, they were able to enjoy weaving. In practice this was done with the mother using the pedals and helping to throw the shuttle, which gave the child (who was too short to reach the pedals – very cute) the opportunity to just have fun with building the actual rug structure by moving the beam and choosing materials. I had trouble getting them to leave at the end of the day.
Clearly weaving could be used as a way for parents to spend some quality time with their children. The one negative thing I noticed was that many parents feel that they have to control the weaving process by insisting on making a rug that is actually ‘correct’ and usable. In other words it would have to have specific matching colours and straight edges. What’s with the perfectionism? It’s the child’s vision and it doesn’t matter if the edges are wonky. The end result is still functional, beautiful and unique, not to mention the importance of the experience.
I will definitely develop this concept further. The weekend’s end result was happy kids and one small rug made by many hands.