A Salish Loom

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Let me tell you a little story about my Salish Loom.

Not so long ago, in vancouver I lived in a housing co-operative where I met a woman named Cheryl. As it turns out, Cheryl once did a lot of the things that I do now. She spun her own yarn with a gigantic treadle spinner, she wove, she was into alternative education for children, art, photography and other hippy stuff. Then she got older, and divorced her partner, her kids moved out and now she lives alone. (We might actually be very alike)

Cheryl and I had a love hate relationship, however. Sometimes, we got along swimmingly. Mostly when she was reminiscing about her past in the laundry room. Other times…. we hated each other… mostly when I was accidentally setting off the fire alarm in the building or doing too many loads of laundry at once. She thought I needed to grow up and take responsibility; I thought she needed to chill out. I always figured that I reminded her of herself at my age, which caused her to be distainfully regretful that she ever decided to grow up OR that she feared I would one day grow up to be her. Either way, I thought she was an unhappy old…

Anyway, at a certain point, closer to my leaving the co-op, she invited me up to her apartment saying that she would like to give me her Salish Loom. I was suspicious. That, and I didn’t know much about weaving at this point. I had told her about Betsy though, which made me think that she was trying to make nice. So, upstairs I went.

She showed me around her artsy, little one bedroom. She had lots of pottery (some that she had made when she was a hippy), and knew a whole lot about it, and art… and photos. It was lovely. We talked about birth and childrearing… and wasbands and husbands. And then she busted out these giant… poles, which were apparently the end pieces of a Salish Loom.

Wowza.

She talked to me like I knew what she was saying, while I stared at them – giant hunks of two-by-four bolted together with these giant corroded nuts and bolts. Then she showed me a blanket she made on it… or at least a photo of it, which gave me hope. It all seemed so abstract. Then she brought out the spinning wheel that interfaces with a treadle sewing machine and told me how she made the yarn. And then our visit was over.

So I took these poles and giant flyer and put them in the backroom, vowing that one day I would figure out how to reconstruct this loom and make a blanket too.

And today, I did it…. well, not the blanket part, but I found some wood and made what I think might be a rude imitation of a Salish Loom.

Salish Loom Pieces

Salish Loom

Yarn and blanket to come.

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