their muddy pacboots and set them on the newspaper behind the stove, hung up the wool jackets
that held the shapes of their shoulders, the bend of their arms...."
A weaver knows this idea of cloth that "holds the shape of their shoulders, the bend of their arms," and that the piece just cut off the loom, washed, dried, hemmed and trimmed is only partly finished. The rest of the finishing is done by the person who uses it, and time. How it is worn, walked on, which window it hangs in, which dog chews it, eventually shapes the textile, physically. But there is something else, which has to do with feeling. Some cloth holds our attention. If it was made with feeling, the weaver hopes by some small miracle, it expresses that. We experience the feeling when we hold some cloth close, until we pass it to someone else, who also keeps it. An antique quilt or rug or coverlet survives through generations. It comforts, protects, warms, carries, softens, beautifies, absorbs, cleans, sanctifies, our daily human lives. It shows us who we are, and where we have been. Look at the knees of Bill Pike's (beekeeper) jeans!
It seems to me that these uses, physical and emotional, become a part of textiles, and stay with them. Imaginative attachments, stories that can't be read, are tangible in the cloth. We feel them. We add layers of meaning to them. The weaver's cloth is so raw and new, and just the beginning of its story.
For the curious: Writers' workshop is now over. I didn't improve significantly, but I did get a chocolate prize for perfect attendance! Also, in yesterday's election I voted for only one candidate who did win. I'm saddest that Wisconsin had a chance to elect Mary Burke, who would have been the only woman Governor in the state's history, but instead over half of us chose the incumbent, which is the politest way I can refer to this result.