I'm back from the woods of Northern Ontario, where the Weavers and Spinners of Ontario North held this year's conference. Attendees of WASOON, some from Southern Ontario, drove as many as twelve hours to get to Kapuskasing, the conference location. (For me, the trip took eighteen hours and three plane rides both ways!) The conference was a decided success based on the enthusiastic comments of all who were there. The theme was "Go Green," and the fashion show included innovative garments made of recycled materials of all kinds.
So, here are just some of the answers I gave to the question: Why Weave?".
1. Weaving keeps you young. Consider the examples of Nancy Osborne, a weaver in the southern United States who was actively weaving in the late 1880s at age 106 (see photo below) and our own Amy Preckshot, prolific weaver of zoo animals at age 96 (see her latest project, a stuffed bear, in the May/June 2010 issue of Handwoven).
2. Weaving gives you a reason to have a "studio," which, once you have one, gives you a reason to acquire lots of beautiful yarns and tools and books.
3. Weaving keeps glorious colors in front of your eyes and lovely textures in your hands.
4. Weaving sharpens your brain with the effort required to figure out drafting and the many types of calculations you have to learn how to make (see Mary Meigs Atwater's first "blueprint" weaving "handout" from the 1920s).
5. Weaving is good physical exercise (lots of bending, squatting, reaching to pick up dropped shuttles, tie up treadles, retrieve yarn, even when you aren't actually weaving).
6. Weaving gives you something wonderful to pass on to the next generation (see seventeen-year-old Becca Olsen with her original drawloom weaving).
8. Weaving brings you into close relationships with terrific people (other weavers!) at conferences like WASSOON.
I hope I see all of you at Convergence in Albuquerque!