Weaving Sequence

This short sequence shows the basic setup for weaving an organic knotted and twisted plain weave firescreen fabric.  The loom is custom built for the purpose, and uses a thirteen foot long warp stretching frame that moves through a series of four harnesses that are operated from one side of the loom.  This arrangement allows for weaving fabric that is never actually rolled up, like in a traditional hand loom.  For this fabric, all the warp wires are steel, and the weft wires are chosen from an assortment of about ten types rolled on the large spools pictured below.  Weaving is done as on a hand loom by creating a shed with the harnesses and feeding the desired weft wire through.  I use a stick (not shown) to slide the wire through.  The bent end of the weft wire hooks onto the far selvedge warp wire, so the shuttle stick can be retracted.  Weaving continues as in typical hand loom work by switching sheds with the harness set up, and beating the weft with the beater bar.  The photos also show the warp manifold, which uses adjustable “tuning” pegs to individually control each warp wire’s tension.  This is required since the warps don’t stretch appreciably, and depending on the type of weave, some need adjustment to make up for uneven length changes from the bends caused by the wefts.  Wefts are different gauges of copper and steel wire, variously altered by hammering, twisting, bending, and flattening.

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