Making room…

Last Wednesday night, my daughter came flying into my studio screaming in a typical 17 year old manner, “Mom, I need a cushion for the chair by tomorrow night!”  Ah, those words, “I need “x” by (insert date that is impossible to comply with)”.  Every mother loves to hear them… NOT!

Let me back up a bit.  Brianna is a junior at Boonton High School.  Among her usual Honors Physics and Elemental Functions of Calculus classes, she chose an elective of Cabinet and Machine Woods.  You know, woodshop.  She took the intro course last year, and adored it.  So this year, she happily signed up for the more advanced woodshop class, and we have been getting texts since last October, with updates on the progress of her advanced woodshop project, a reproduction Stickley chair.  Over the spring break, I helped her upholster the seat, which fit nicely into the chair, or so she texted. I hadn’t actually seen the chair.

Fast forward, Boonton High School has a Showcase of Excellence every spring, usually right before the vote on the school budget, to show what the students have been doing all year.  There are musical performances, and art displays, along with classroom projects in all subjects.  And the advanced woodshop projects were going to be displayed outside the auditorium.  The Showcase of Excellence was last Thursday night.  So Brianna and I set to work making a cushion for her chair, which I had never seen, when she came home from school on Thursday based on instructions she photographed on her cell phone.  (see previous post on this subject!)

Off she went to school for jazz band rehearsal for the evening performance, she plays trombone, and we would arrive later to the Showcase in time for the performance.  We got to the auditorium and were stunned to come across this…

Obviously there was a crowd gathered around, including the superintendent who was a shocked as we were that a high school student made this chair.  And of course I get the bad mommy of the year award for having the next thought, “Where the hell heck are we going to put this thing?”  We have a moderate size house, with lots of stuff in it, we have lived in it for 28 years.  You can imagine.  I’m doing a rough calculation and I’m thinking, uh-oh…

Later that evening, after enjoying all the attention my daughter received for her truly outstanding project, we loaded it into the back of the wagon (actually the principal and vice principal jumped in to help there) and we made our way home.  My husband had left earlier to attend a board meeting, and that left Brianna and me to figure this out.  Her original intent was to put it in her room.  We moved the chair from there, to the guest room, and then moved the chair in the guest room to the basement where my son will return to when he comes back from Artillery Training in May.  We carried the Stickley chair around the side of the house, through the gates, up the back deck, up the back staircase to the balcony, through my bedroom, and tried to wedge it between all of the door frames in our path.  Can I say that this is one huge chair?  We managed to manipulate it carefully, around each of the doorframes, except the last one, the doorway to her room, at the end of the long hall at the opposite end of the house.  We tried, we really did, but there wasn’t a chance in the world that it would fit.  So I stuck it in the guest room, because I didn’t know where else to put it.  That took out any remaining space in the guest room, but the chair is so spectacular and I rarely have any guests, that no one is complaining.

Which brings me to the real reason for this post…

I don’t know what I was smoking when I agreed last month to buy another loom.  I won’t go into the details, let’s just say it was one of those cosmic coincidences that fell in my lap, the sister loom to my other four Tools of the Trade looms, a 36″ 8 shaft double back beam loom that said in no uncertain terms, it needed to come home with me.  So last Friday, my husband and I got in our pick up, and drove the 6 hours down to a small town on the Potomac, west of Washington DC.

It was threatening rain all afternoon, but we crossed our fingers.  My husband was able to wheel the loom across the grass to the truck, and hoist it up into the truck.  I stood and took pictures…  🙂  Did I mention I love my husband?  We had removed anything we could easily remove from the loom to help reduce the weight, but these particular looms are really really heavy.  That’s why I like them. Claudia Segal sold me the loom, it has a little bit of history, apparently I am the fourth owner, and I feel like the loom has found its final home…  Claudia is one of the partners on Weavolution, you can check out the online weaving community by clicking on the link to the right of this post.  As we closed the back tailgate of the truck, it started to rain!  Timing…

Anyone who has ever seen my studio knows, there isn’t anywhere to put another large loom.  Does that every stop any of us from more stash/equipment acquisitions?  I spent a lot of time over the last month figuring out just where this puppy would go, and last week when I returned from California, I shifted things as best I could, hoping to make enough floor space for the new addition.  I was mildly successful.

We returned home from Maryland, very late last night.  My husband slid the loom out of the truck and we dragged it to the garage. Where it sat overnight.  This morning, I drove my husband to the airport at 6:30am to catch a plane to North Carolina.  I left him at the airport, came home, did the grocery shopping at 7:15, picked up the dog from the kennel, and made some homemade granola, had breakfast and went to the garage to stare at the loom.  I was alone in the house, except for the dog who wasn’t much help, my daughter was away at a Girl Scout camp for a staff weekend, and I really really wanted to get that loom out of the garage and into my studio.  Today.  Did I mention that patience for this sort of thing isn’t my strong point?

No one is more resourceful than a handweaver.  I got my trusty socket wrench, and a screw driver, and I headed to the garage to begin the process of dismantling an eight shaft loom that weighs probably 250 pounds.  I removed the front beam, the back beam assembly, the beater, and the treadle assembly.  All got carried to my studio.  I removed the eight bolts that connected the castle to the base, and then carried the base of the loom upstairs.  That left the castle.  With shafts removed, I could almost lift it. I probably will really pay for this tomorrow when I wake up, but I managed to hoist that castle over my shoulder and gently glide it up the two flights of stairs, and get it through the door of the studio, and into position on the base.  🙂  I did it!  All by myself…

Then came the task of putting the whole thing back together.  Bolt by bolt, I reassembled the loom, and by noon it was complete.  I could feel the energy coming from my other looms wondering who the new kid on the block was.  She fits right in with the rest of them, and I know they will all be good friends.  I had an extra 8 dent reed for the large loom, which Brianna cut down this afternoon when she came in from NY, squealing in delight at the new acquisition.  I also had an extra crank for the back beam, and I have lots of benches.  I’ll call Gowdey Reed company and order the additional 36″ reeds I will need for the long haul.

And I actually managed to spin some of the merino/silk roving I bought at CNCH last weekend, on my little drop spindle, in the truck while we made the 6 hour trek to Maryland on Friday.  There wasn’t a lot of room in the passenger seat, but I managed to spin a foot at a time, and I love the colors and the way the yarn will look plied.

Other than the fact that I am so exhausted I am not sure what day it is, it was an eventful couple of days, and the house easily absorbed two very large items, there always seems to be room for whatever we bring in.

I am keeping the photos small, to see if it helps the memory issues I’m having, so far I have not gotten the Fatal Error message while writing this post. Just click on the photos to see a larger version.  I know the memory problem isn’t corrected, but I’m hoping that some of you are able to read and comment on the posts, and have patience when the message comes up.  My tech guy is golfing in NC for the week.  He is allowed…

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April 19, 2010 8:03 am

Drat! Based on the size, I guess Brianna won’t be bringing her chair in for the next “show n tell” at the guild meeting. (And that quality of a chair deserves a handwoven cushion!)

Beautifully done, Brianna!

Gail Gondek
April 25, 2010 10:04 am

A stunning piece! I picture it in a Frank Llyod Wright home. Well done, Brianna!!

April 25, 2010 11:21 am

Wow! In case the math/science thing doesn’t work out there are always her talented hands and creativity. Beautiful work!

April 26, 2010 12:57 pm

Wow! Wow! and Wow again! Spectacular chair and a new loom, too. What a great mother – daughter combo! I have an 8 shaft Tools of the Trade loom that does not have a sectional beam or 2nd back beam so I’m just a little jealous. I’m hoping to get a bigger loom with a sectional back beam or double beam set up – maybe 48″ or a little bigger – will just have to wait a bit ’cause my husband and I just moved into the cutest 20 acre hobby farm that is asking for new fences so the… Read more »

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