One journalist's musings about the beautiful, bizarre world in which we live
Last week, I took a weaving course at the Museo Textil de Oaxaca.
Day after day, I sat on a little stool with a back strap loom wrapped around my waist. I weaved from the bottom to the top of the this work on the right.
During the first few days, my hands were unsure. Unsteady. Pulling strings improperly. Each string in the first design –the green “greco” pattern at the bottom of the piece – was tightened to a different tautness, and the triangular motif is not even.
Although I was interested in my work, my mind often wandered. I thought about my life, my work, my friends and family – all the usual things a person tends to mull over when the brain is given solitude.
I moved the machete in between the two sets of strings to separate them.
“What am I doing here, leaving my family in Barrie, my grandparents behind in Brampton after all they have done for me?”
Push the bobbin through. Set another thread into place.
“How will working for this shoddy little newspaper help my career, really? I’m editor, but I’m giving up my most important values as a journalist. I’m selling advertisements, allowing the almighty dollar to get in the way of what I’m writing.”
Flip the machete out. Replace it above the shed rod. Pull the heddle rod – Pull up the other set of strings. Machete through again. Needle in the blue estrellas.
“Yo puedo hablar mas español que antes, pero it still isn’t great. Am I doing the best I can?”
Bobbin weaves white again. Lift out the machete once more. Uno-Dos the shed and heddle rods. Separate the strings.
* * *
As I weave, a story appears to flow with my thoughts.
I chose the greco pattern because it symbolizes life. Like the one I kind-of have.
I chose little estrellas, stars, at first to connect my work it the loftier dreams, kind of like that oh-so-cheesy line, “Aim for the moon. Even if you miss you’ll land among the stars.”
I decided upon the next more complicated greco pattern in the middle as a symbol of more complicated life as I feel mine has become. Red hot. Yellow fire.
Next, bigger estrellas. Bigger dreams. Bigger and better things can come with riskier endeavors, though the chance for failure is greater and the failure can leave one lower than they started. Indeed, a harder pattern left more room for mistake, but everything turned out well.
The ending stripe. Well, honestly, I rushed. I wanted to make another simple greco, to show that everything always comes back down to the basics – the simple things, no matter what I do.
Instead, I had too little time to finish it properly. This, realistically, sounds more similar to the story of my life than the one I had planned. Deadlines always approach too quickly. The people I love live everywhere around the world, and I can’t be in more than one place at once. Often, that which I want to do is sacrificed for what I think I should do.
By the end of my weaving class, I was thinking about how long it takes to become an expert at weaving and how I would never be one when it came to strings and things.
I know I can’t tell a proper story through a piece of fabric (did you REALLY see what I meant when you looked at the first picture?).
But I hope I can still tell a proper story with words. With time, I hope to become an expert word-weaver.