Friday, August 31, 2007

Music, Meditation, and Weaving

Amount woven yesterday: 7.5"
Amount woven to date: 1 yard+8.5"

Dorothy asked the following question in her comment on my recent post about temples.

"When the weaving requires so much patience, do you listen to music / radio to help time pass? Or is your time at the loom a time for meditation?"

No, I do not listen to music to pass the time. I have learned that if I have music on, I will "come to consciousness" after an hour or so of weaving only to realize that I haven't heard one bit of the music. So I just do not bother with it. Besides, with the possible exception of waiting in lines or at doctor's offices, I'd prefer to slow down time rather than to pass it.

Nor is my time at the loom a time for meditation, at least meditation in the sense that I think most people would think about it. After each throw of the shuttle, I put that shuttle down and pick up a new one. Though I have an order here, I still have to be aware of what I am doing so that I do not make a mistake and pick up the wrong shuttle. I have floating selvedges and these need my attention with each shot. With each shot I need to pay attention to the shafts to make sure I am pressing the right treadles. And with each shot I have to check both mirrors for any possible warp floaters. I also have to be aware of the firmness of my beat. I move the temple after 16-24 weft shots. At the end of a repeat I mark it with sewing thread in the weft. I scan the weaving to spot errors. With all this going on, there is no room left for meditation!

This description makes me sound quite frantic when I weave. At the beginning of a weaving project I am a bit frantic. But once I get going and feel secure, I become very calm--alert and calm. I also find myself counting each shot---1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8. That is how many shots I throw before I click my knitting counter. After five of those, I shift the colors and keep going. But the counting has an interesting side effect. It keeps me alert, focussed, and calm. Perhaps that is part of being meditative.

Sometimes when I am driving I find myself counting. I'm not really counting any objects. I am just saying the numbers. Perhaps counting is a kind of weaver's mantra?


Leigh said...

It seems that your weaving is your meditation. If I were weaving With as many shuttles as you are, I'd be afraid of getting distracted!

Dorothy said...

Hi Peg, that's such a beautifully written description of how you work that you had me there at you side for a moment!

A problem I need to solve, that I realise you must a means of managing, is what to do with the shuttles I put down when using more than one. Where do you rest yours? I find them in the way if I balance them on the cloth, and if I put them on the breast beam all to often they get knocked on the floor.