Inspiring Embellishments

Purple cloth with embellishments  
Some of Anita's creative cloth   

You know that famous poem about what you might do when you are an old woman? Wearing purple, spitting on the sidewalk, etc.? The first time I encountered it was when Anita Mayer sent me the manuscript for her wonderful book, Clothing From the Hands That Weave, which Interweave published in 1984, with the poem as an epilogue. This was decades before the “red hat” society and all that. Anita was way ahead of her time.

The poem exemplifies the spirit that this woman has brought to her own work, and to the throngs she has inspired with workshops and keynote talks. It’s about being true to yourself, nurturing your own creativity, not caving in to conventional expectations, letting your individuality shine, loving your loom, honoring your hands. For Anita, that means proclaiming her identity as a weaver in the raiment she wears every day of the year.

Her book was a great success, and even after thirty years is in great demand on eBay. But it’s a pale reflection of Anita herself. Happily, we were able to capture her on video in her own splendid studio, showing her vivid approach to clothing design and embellishment. Wow, was I inspired! I, whose closet consists of black pants and black turtlenecks and a few subdued sweaters. Anita’s wardrobe is equally simple—a few very basic trousers and skirts and tops—but with a riot of dramatic, original, highly embellished over-garments. You would want to go live in her closet for a while!

  Anita Luvera Mayer
  Anita Luvera Mayer in her studio

In her video, Creative Cloth: Designing and Embellishing Handwoven Fabric, Anita shares design insights, life lessons, embellishment techniques, and maybe best of all, strategies for fitting all this creative effort into one’s busy life. Anita turns 80 this year, and has been weaving prolifically for the majority of those years. Just listening to and watching her is inspirational, but pretty soon your fingers will start to itch. You’ll see. 

 

Linda Ligon

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