I’m re-visiting the ancient (as in thousands of years old) craft of warp-weighted loom weaving in order to share some links to film made in the 1940s and 1950s in Norway. I’m sure many who are interested in weaving will be glad the films are still in existence. Last November I described the process in a post about Warp-weighted weaving and flax processing, Part 2 after attending a workshop in Wales. Since then one of our group, Roy Cameron of the Scottish Crannog Centre, emailed me with a link to this particular film (below).
I clicked on the link and was fascinated straight away. Two women were carrying out the process that we at the workshop, with our ‘Learner Driver’ plates on, were fumbling our way through – all fingers and thumbs. In remote parts of Norway it was a part of their everyday lives, so they could probably almost sleep-walk their way through it, judging by the ease with which they tied on the stones to weight the warp (all of a suitable weight), tied the leash threads, twined a thread to space the warps and started weaving. I know the film is speeded up, but you still get a sense of the seamlessness and rhythm of the work.
The date is 1947. Lovers of vintage clothes may like the quintessentially WWII (or thereafter) clothes of the two weavers. At the end of the film there are links to similar films, several of warp-weighted weaving held by the Norsk Folkmuseum. In one of the films, the same weaver seen in the film above walks along a beach, picking up stones one after the other, that would nicely weight the warps on her loom. Borne out of practice, she has an expert eye. I’m sure my attempts would be much slower!
Thank you Roy for sending the link. I know he has been working hard on building a loom which will feature in an exhibition about the weaving process. The centre is due to open in April, so if you fancy a trip to Perthshire in Scotland, here are some of the specific Special Events.
My attempts in this direction lately have got as far as laying down some more home-grown flax to dew ret on the ground, which I will process and hopefully will be weaving with, in time.
I will be weaving on a warp-weighted loom at an event, Archaeology of the Dark Ages at Bishops Wood Environmental Centre near Stourport in Worcestershire on 27th April. I will be also running a flax processing session and helping with a drop spindle spinning session. Do come along if you are within striking distance.