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Weaving the Arcane

Updated: Jan 17

Hello dear friends! Happy New Years from sunny Antigua Guatemala! For us here at Loom Tree we have started off the year with a season of changes and renewal! Expect many new designs and fabrics in 2024! However, this month I’d like to start off talking about something immutable; something that has never changed since the inception of our store: our arcane weaving process. Please, don’t think I use the word “arcane” to sound clever. I sincerely consider the weaving techniques we have collected, and employ in our work, to be so ancient and special that they are truly arcane in nature. In fact, even as I attempt to describe these techniques with words I fall short. Yet, in the spirit of a fresh start for the year, let me share with you how we begin our weavings, and the arcane qualities of the loom.

Like all artists, a weaver must always prepare his palette. In our case each skein of yarn is opened up and put into a type of winder. With a rotating movement the weaver respinns the yarn into many small cones that are strung up within the loom itself. Like the strings of a harp the long lines of thread are neatly laid out for use. The weaver does it with a cross movement using his fingers from top to bottom, as if playing this harp.

Now that the thread is warped and reeled, it is ready to go into the “aviaduras.” An “aviadura” is a type of harness used in looms that consist of a group of shafts or leashes that perform the primary function of weaving a textile. To me the aviadura is the tool through which the arcane elements of the process are really seen. With an expertise that can only be inherited through generations, the weaver runs his hands across the shafts, each thread dancing between them and falling exactly into place, bringing to life the shapes, patterns, and drawings of the fabric. Each aviatura is formed by 4 rows of thread, one in front of the other. Furthermore, each of the four rows in the middle has a ring through which the thousands of threads pass through; one by one being incorporated into the drawing. The loom and weaver move in rhythmic unison, engaged in some kind of hypnotic dance.

Finally, when the music stops, it is time for  the "requinte" or refinement. This consists of tightening the threads and tying them to a wooden bobbin to begin to give shape to the fabric. Within the shuttle another small cone of thread is used by the weaver between the stretched threads, creating the weft of the fabric and finalizing the drawing. The weaver that started with a simple string of yarn is left with a marvelous masterpiece!

As always, thank you for reading!




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