by Tree Hugger
Weaving is a way to relieve stress.
|Weaving is therapy.
There is something about weaving that always has the power to soothe. The rhythm of the throw and catch of the shuttle, the clank and bang of the treadles, and the immediate gratification of seeing the cloth form before my eyes eases the tensions of the day.
Today I sit before the rug loom, the most simple and basic of my tools. The warp threads are coarse and sturdy, the weft material thick and colorful. While my other looms and other materials require a light touch and a gentle hand, the rug loom is a different type of therapy.
You have to beat a rug. The gentle squeeze of the weft threads into the fabric just won’t do. On days when the stresses of life have reached a fever pitch, there’s nothing like the rug loom.
Throw and catch – whomp! What do you mean you’ll be working late again tonight for the fourth night in a row? Throw and catch – whomp! You’re so sorry you’re cancelling my scheduled vacation day so that your girlfriend can have a spa day? Throw and catch – wham! You ran over WHAT with my car? Each stroke gives me a chance to work out my tensions physically, without doing damage to the subjects of my ire.
Each stroke of the beater against the rug relieves the pressure of daily life and slowly but surely, stroke by stroke, my good humor returns, my mind relaxes, and my rug takes shape.
Several of my rugs have presented the opportunity to reuse a well worn item and give it new life. An old blanket may become a warm island on a cold tile floor or a comfy spot for a loyal canine companion to catch a nap. One that is still in the planning stage will offer the opportunity to return a well loved pair of jeans that were little more than a threadbare rag as something new and useful.
While I have purchased fabric to weave a rug, I get much more satisfaction from using what others might consider to be just so much trash to make what will be treasured. Old t-shirts scoured from the shelves of the local thrift store or hoarded for years from concerts that are only memories, become multicolored works of art and heart.
Our cat became strangely attracted to the big grocery bag full of genuinely ugly neckties that I collected to make into a rug. He sought them out where ever they were hidden, even learning to open the closet doors so that he could lounge in the bag or spill the ties on the floor to make a cozy nest. Curiously, when the rug was completed, he didn’t appear to be interested in the finished product at all. Fortunately, his distain for the new incarnation has been a minority opinion!
Rag rugs are a way of linking the past to the future. Simple raw materials and the weaver's skill make tattered scraps and life's memories into treasured gifts and new possibilities.