I started carving and whittling longer pieces of wood, smoothing the surface of the bark till it was slippery bone. I ordered yarn, linen and the brightest coloured wools I could find, and began weaving larger pieces on second and third, fourth looms. A kind of comfort that others had found in stockpiled loo roll, in my state of bereftness, cut off from access my studio or home, I instead stockpiled woollen rug yarn. The walls and cones of piles of bright colours, orange, turquoise, lime, lilac, Prussian blue. It cushioned me from the grief I was encountering around me, friends and family, the collective losses, and also the trauma of not being able to even have access to my own clothes or tools. I carved my own tools, and before I ordered shuttles, I walked miles to Finsbury park totalling 2hours there and back, to pick up weaving shuttles to use.
And before then, I cut them out of cardboard, wrapping yarn around my homemade makeshift shuttles.
Anything can be a shuttle, a pencil, and piece of bamboo, a stick, a cut out piece of cardboard. It’s only a vessel for yarn.
Anything can be a loom, if you have the threads to tension and fixed to a point, your body, my body, a tree, a hook, a door handle, the space between a chair. Your hands can pick out the weaving sheds, or as I did, you can tie a spare stick to be used as a heddle. I would weave with my three rulers, and whittled shed stick, as pick up sticks and marvel at the contraption I had a fashioned and cobbled together. Somehow amazed it managed to weave at all, managing to lift and drop threads. Slow repetitive work, endurance like. Concentrating on each line of wool. Each pick of colour. The gradual effort to build a piece of cloth. Each line felt like an achievement. Something miraculous yet mundane.
Towards the end of the long three months, before I was able to move nearer to my studio, I developed a rigid heddle loom that could be used for others to access weaving with less tools, to share innovative low tech ways to craft cloth. Breaking down the barriers to a craft that seems shrouded in expensive equipment and tools. We have all we need at our disposal. This sharing of knowledge, of how to create out of what we have around us, is all that we need to equip ourselves with.