Fibers class: So many possibilities, so few looms

Across from the ceramics room in the art building is the weaving area. Here, the old art of weaving on a loom is continued on through years of OBU students. Assistant Professor of Art Julie Blackstone teaches weaving alongside both ceramics and painting. There are two fibers classes, Fibers 1 and Fibers 2. “Fibers 1 is an ‘on-loom’ weaving class,” says Julie. “Students weave on 4 harness looms working through complicated designs.” The class also offers some teaching about the historical background of weaving and the basic vocabulary. On the first project, students incorporate about eight different weaves. Following this, the students are allowed to choose a project, whether it be on wool, cotton, alpaca, angora, or mohair fibers. Students have made rugs, scarves, hats, table runners, throws, placemats and even jackets. In order to make these complicated designs, the students use a computer program called ProWeave. “It allows us design and play with colors to technically create the designs,” Julie says. “The program does the drawing work, and makes the process less tedious than doing it by hand.” The OBU looms themselves have a history. “We started off with a loom that was donated by someone, but no one here knew how to weave,” Julie says. “Mrs. Winter, a former art teacher, decided she would learn how to weave.” Now, the department has four looms.