13 March 2017

What is Weaving?

Weaving is acknowledged as one of the oldest surviving crafts in the world. The tradition of weaving traces back to Neolithic times – approximately 12 000 years ago. It is one of the primary methods of textile production and it involves interlinking a set of vertical threads with a set of of horizontal threads. The set of vertical threads are known as warp, and the set of horizontal threads are known as the weft.

Twenty to thirty thousand years ago, man developed the first string by twisting together plant fibres. Preparing thin bundles of plant material, stretching them out whilst twisting them together produced a fine string or thread. Later on, natural fibres followed the same process, and spinning was born. The ability to produce string or thread/yarn was the starting point for the development of weaving, spinning and sewing, producing cloth or fabric.

Weaving is a work of the mind. To prepare to make placemats or fabric to be sewn into clothing or any other product, the weaver must determine the amount of yarn required. There’s thinking to be done: about the finished length, shrinkage, plus tying all the threads onto the loom. 

Then, it is necessary to calculate the exact number of threads that will create the foundation of the piece (the warp), that will be woven (the weft). Laying out threads on the warping board is a repetitive, rhythmic process. Over, under, around and back. Over, under, around and back. 

Weaving is a work of mindfulness, of taking time to give attention to the details that will contribute to the woven piece’s unity. Careful, patient attention is summoned to place each single thread through the many heddles (analogous to the eye of a needle), in a specific sequence. There can be hundreds of threads that go into creating the design. 

Steve Brun Horst elaborates even more. He said: “We are each a thread in the tapestry of our human family. Each thread is a possibility, chosen by the design of divine imagination. At times, old choices, old threads, wear out. We see the past while we live in the present, we can replace old threads…with new ones, new ideas, new concepts…”

This is what Dedani is about… bringing life to exotic fibres and threads creating a new unique fabric and concept. Diversity of fibres and yarns create a wonderful new fabric, and we need to understand all the threads are equal in value, no matter their texture and colour. Threads hold us together.