Warping Their Looms and Rebuilding Their Lives

Handwoven Roving Reporters

Warp and weft have been used as metaphors for the structure of life. This example was clearly put into action in August of 2005 when fellow handweavers were among those in New Orleans who experienced the destruction of Hurricane Katrina. It was one of the deadliest natural disasters in our nation's history and resulted in extensive loss of life and property. After the storm, members of the New Orleans Weavers Guild joined together like the threads of a warp to supply one another with small simple tools, and they waited patiently for mail delivery to be restored so they could purchase yarn. Worried that the guild might not survive, the group pressed forward, met wherever they could, and kept their hands busy with inkle looms, hand spindles, and braid makers.


Over time, the guild held lots of handweaving play days and established a rigid heddle program that met quarterly for all-day meetings. Call it genius or serendipity, but this program helped rejuvenate the guild. NOWG enthusiastically followed up with Threads to Recovery, a Roc Day celebration shared with the Gulf Coast and Delta Guilds where workshops were held on rigid heddle weaving and silk felting. Members caught up with old friends, made new ones, and found opportunities to rebuild their stashes.


Thumbs up from NOWG's Debbie Bland
(Photo credit: Bev Medere)


As the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina passes, members of the New Orleans Weavers Guild are still replacing looms, wheels, stashes, and their homes, but NOWG  will not be weft behind!  Membership and enthusiasm have almost doubled since the storm. The extent of their optimism made it all the way to Whidbey Island near Seattle. NOWG  recently received a monetary gift from the Whidbey Weavers Guild to help rebuild their library or for other guild needs.


Currently these folks have serious concerns about the Gulf oil spill. Despite all they have endured, Martha Ward states, "survival feels so good especially with the oil out there."


Please join Handwoven in extending a "thumbs up" to the weavers of New Orleans for sharing their spirit and love of our craft and to the Whidbey Weavers Guild for coming to the aid of members of their extended weaving family. (And many thanks to New Orleans Roving Reporter Martha Ward for contributing to this post.)




To read more guild and weaving news, please visit the forums.

Post a Comment