Hopie and I spent the past two weekends in Harrisville, New Hampshire, at what is best described as adult weaving camp. If you, too, were raised by a mother obsessed with PURITAN SKILL SETS you can imagine how thrilling this was for us (and how much we missed our two other sisters). Like anyone who grew up brainwashed by Tasha Tudor books I've had romantic notions of weaving, but I started researching floor looms in earnest when I was in grad school and exploring linen options for my paintings (I work on a heavy, tight weave linen from India).
So when my friend Charlotte casually asked if I like wanted to go to super-intense adult weaving workshop in New Hampshire with her at the mill her family's been running for five generations, I said DOES A DOLLY HAVE SPOTS.
Enter: Harrisville Designs.
Harrisville has been spinning virgin wool since 1794 and building looms for home weavers since the fiber art zeitgeist of 1970's; their history is just remarkable. The town is what Yankee dreams are made of.
Tom was our teacher; Tom is maybe in his early-sixties, has a grey ponytail, one dangly silver-and-turquoise earring, a steady yoga practice, and an encyclopedic knowledge of weaving and fiber.
Hopie and Charlotte and I took the Learning to Weave class; we worked on a four-harness loom with an unlimited supply of Harrisville's famous yarn (which you can now buy from them directly online). Class was eight hours a day, broken up by trips across the street for BLTs and almond cake at the adoooorable Harrisville General Store, where a group of locals played cribbage at the back corner table. My loom neighbor was a sass-dispensing 65-year-old former-Catholic-nun named Lorraine who baked us all quiche and asked God to help her every time she warped and swore in Polish when she missed her floating selvage. God I love Lorraine.
PEAK LIFE EXPERIENCE.
Now of course I'm searching Craigslist for used looms with visions of Joshua Tree plant-dying + weaving + block printing workshops dancing in my head DOT DOT DOT.