My husband, the chef/cook in this house, usually gets all the press on this blog. Mostly because he gardens, he cooks, he cooks what he gardens, he hits the Farmer’s Market regularly and then has more great ingredients to cook up and serve to me, his adoring fan. It makes for great words and pictures. I usually cook when he is too sick or if I find a recipe I really want to try but he isn’t so keen on, mostly I have other creative outlets.
My medium is often thread and yarn. For my masters degree I specialized in fiber. My graduate show in 1978 featured eight linen inlay tapestries. I don’t get to my loom like I used to, mainly because I dismantled it and put it in storage about 20 years ago, but it was my pride and joy. I purchased it in 1974 from an ad in the classifieds when we lived in Valparaiso, Indiana. It was a Studio four-harness, 60 inch floor art loom built by the Newcomb Loom Co. in Davenport, Iowa. I don’t remember what I paid for it back then, but at the time I was interested in getting information about threading and maintenance so I wrote a letter to the Newcomb Loom Company.
For $2.50 (plus 50 cents postage and handling), I got a Studio Instruction Book (if you wish to print a copy click here for a 26 page pdf which includes the booklet, an assembly page and info on warping) and a note, typed on a carbon invoice, that said if I sent them the number of my loom (found on the top of the front left post), they could help me in the future with parts and problems. I mailed them the number and in a week (no email back then) I received a reply that said, ” Your loom was made in December 1948 and sold for $75.00 new. A new one today (1974) is $250.00 with the price due to go up. It went to a Mrs. ( they gave me her real name!) of Chesterton, Indiana. We have no record of any other owners.”
There is no way you would get information like this today with all of our privacy rules. Maybe the date of manufacture but never the name of the original owner. I was thrilled to get this information. It made the loom special in so many ways, one being that I was born in 1949 so the loom was not much older than I was. I have used the loom many times, but full time jobs, raising a child, and the need for more room in my house made having and using a large loom, a luxury. Now that I am retired and my son is grown, I think the old loom might be resurrected one day soon. Maybe I’ll dust off my Ashford spinning wheel too.
For now, needles and hooks and sticks have been a good substitute for my loom. What have I been doing with them? Well I think I will save that for the next post since I didn’t know when I started this that it would be so loom oriented. Finding the old papers and instruction booklet was a fun trip down memory lane.