Pam Howard – Resident Weaver and Keeper of Looms
In 1967, my mother gave me my first loom, a rigid heddle. A home economics teacher who had learned to weave in school, she instructed me on my small loom. I was only 13 years old and knew then I wanted to be a weaver. I wove on that rigid heddle loom for years.
It was not until the 1980s that I got my first used floor loom. I lived near Atlanta so I could participate in meetings and workshops at the local guild. After learning to weave, I decided I needed to spin and, of course, I needed to have a spinner’s flock of sheep. There is something special about raising the sheep to get the wool, then spin it into a yarn that I could weave with. I worked a full-time job and raised a daughter during this time, but never did I stop my weaving and spinning. They kept me sane! My husband, daughter, and I moved to Brasstown, North Carolina, in 1999. Spinning, weaving and dyeing for 15 years helped me to get my current “dream” job.
Today I am the Resident Weaver at the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC. I have held that position for 16 years. As the resident weaver, I am the keeper of 28 looms, a wonderful fiber library, loads of weaving tools, and a room full of yarn. I also teach weaving and dyeing, as well as find weaving instructors to teach at the school.
When I first took on the position of resident weaver, I realized my job was going to be tough. Many of the looms were worn out, had missing parts, and were not suitable for heavy student use. Soon I had to move out the old and find something that would withstand constant use. As I see it, the Folk School’s weaving program needs two types of looms: heavy rug looms and what I call fabric looms. When I first arrived at the Folk School, they had plenty of heavy rug looms. But, we were in need of more fabric looms. This answers the question of what my favorite Schacht products are. They are the Baby Wolf and the Mighty Wolf Looms. These looms are smaller, portable, and the students love to weave on them! They are great for beginners and can hold their own with respect to constant use.
Over the years, we have increased our number of Schacht looms to five Baby Wolfs, two Mighty Wolfs, and a Wolf Pup. My goal is to buy five more 8-Harness Baby Wolfs for the studio. Of course, at home I have lots of Schacht products: an 8-Harness Baby Wolf, Pup, Cricket, Flip, and my favorite, a double treadle Matchless spinning wheel.