Wednesday, June 22, 2016

tapestry: practicing being present

Weavers sometimes refer to the meditative bliss of weaving.  Particularly if you are weaving cloth on a multi-harness loom, the rhythm of treadling and throwing the shuttle back and forth can be mesmerizing and relaxing.  (That is, as long as you manage to keep track of where you are in your pattern!  Having to unpick several rows of weaving kind of ruins the mood.)

Tapestry weaving though, for me at least, has few periods of relatively automatic weaving.  In fact, if I find myself just blissfully weaving along on my tapestry loom, the chances are good I've stopped paying attention to the lines and shapes I'm actually creating.  Every pass, every choice about which warp to turn on, counts.

Even on something as straightforward and relatively low-stakes as the tapestry diary, I find that the task of weaving a single leaf--which I will be doing every day for the duration of Ordinary Time, through late November--demands my utmost attention.  Where is the tip of the leaf?  Where will the central vein go?  How exactly can I create the steep vertical curve I want?  Which values and shades of green will look best right here?  Lately, as you can see in the photo above, I've been inking the warp with dots to outline the leaf I have in mind.

When I chose to follow the colors of the church liturgical year in my diary, I had hoped it would be a spiritual practice of sorts.  I didn't anticipate the constant, humbling realization that yet again, I need to pay constant attention to what is actually happening, right now, in front of my eyes.  To practice being here, now.  A meditative practice indeed.

Molly Elkind, Tapestry Diary 6-22-16
Does you find your own artistic practice teaching you not just about art technique, but about life? Please feel free to share in the comments below.


  1. This is so lovely, Molly. The practice, the theme, the product.