A fond relationship with my llama companions has been the impetus to revive an old dream and take up weaving at last. Relatively new to the craft, I enjoy exploring patterns and the interplay of colors to produce hand-woven home décor and personal accessories. If I had a handbasket large enough to carry all of my creations, it would be full of table runners, placemats, rugs, and pillows; it would hold scarves, shawls, and bags. I am discovering my own style in wall art which I embellish with materials from the garden and upcycled jewelry finds. Many items incorporate wool from my own llamas.
From Desire to Reality
Forty years ago, my graduate student budget had no line item for entertainment. Cruising the Hudson River Valley and the New Jersey Highlands on the back of a motorcycle was affordable recreation, and favorite destinations were craft shows or artisan demonstrations at historic sites. Invariably my eye was drawn to the textiles, and I determined that someday I would learn to weave.
Fast forward to Winona in the Aughts. Newly arrived from the suburbs, I set foot on a farm for the first time in my life and immediately fell in love with the big-eyed llamas who lived there. In the blink of an eye, I was helping a local llama breeder with 4-H and learning not only about llamas and alpacas, but about all kinds of fiber arts. Before long, I was welcomed as an eager newbie into the community of Upper Midwest llama owners.
Several weaving workshops later, I spend much of my time winding warps, sleying reeds, threading heddles, and clacking away on one of the four-harness floor looms in my home studio. Handbasket Creations offers textiles woven from sheep’s wool, llama, alpaca, silk, bamboo, and cotton blends. I have especially enjoyed working with clients to create custom scarves and runners. I still introduce 4-H members to fiber arts, so the inventory includes a few items produced by felting or woven on frame looms.
I am privileged to share my small bluffside acreage with a handful of llamas who annually offer up several pounds of fleece. To my eye, even a small llama herd is a living invitation to create.