Shortly before I retired after a twenty year career as a judge, I learned to weave. A neighbor with a floor loom who knew of my interest encouraged me to take a class and gifted me with her Schacht shuttle when she moved away from San Antonio. It was an effective nudge. As my retirement date neared, I enrolled in a beginning weaving class in the Fiber Arts Department at Southwest School of Art. There my experience with Schacht looms was launched as new students at SSA begin their instruction on Schacht Wolf Pups, all generously donated by members of the San Antonio weaving community. Instruction from great teachers and the opportunity to work on solid equipment produced an eager learner. I was smitten. I must have shared my excitement for my new-found craft with a great many people at work because I received a floor loom – a Schacht 4-shaft Baby Wolf – from the local bar association as a retirement gift. I doubt few retiring judges have received a gift as welcome as mine! I continue to take classes and spend time with experienced weavers.
I’ve “graduated” up to the Schacht 8-shaft Mighty Wolf loom at school. Painted tencel warps become one-of-a-kind scarves. Unpredictable color choices in 8/2 cotton dance across twill blocks to become not-so-simple dish towels. Nearly all my projects seem to fly out of my hands as gifts for others. My retirement has been largely defined by my entry into the weaving world. Just as the members of the San Antonio weaving community donated quality looms to the beginning SSA classes, they generously welcomed this late-bloomer into their weaving circle. They eagerly share their tips for weaving success, as well as words of encouragement when projects go awry. The shared enthusiasm of my weaving community – and my reliable looms – have made my entry into retirement, and the weaving world, a story of experienced gratitude.