In the summer of 2019, I was lucky enough to get an internship at Schacht Spindle Company, which allowed me to warp and weave on a majority of the Schacht looms. This experience allowed me to learn and grow as a weaver, and I could not be happier about my summer job.
I was born and raised in Fort Collins, CO, and was always drawn to all forms of making. This interest continued to develop throughout my childhood and into my teenage years.
However, it was not until I started my undergrad studies at Colorado State University that I discovered weaving. I was planning to study sculpture and create pieces from wood. Once I finished the introductory courses in art, I signed up for classes in sculpture and fibers in the same semester. Fibers sounded interesting—that was about all I knew about it. Throughout the class, I absolutely fell in love with all types of textile arts; I was spending hours upon hours in the studio weaving, dyeing, embroidering, and screen printing. At that point, I knew there was no way I could give up my love of fibers, so I went to the advising office and changed my major. That was just the beginning. I continued on in my fibers coursework and then got the summer internship here at Schacht.
This summer has been a life-changing experience. I wove for 40 hours a week, which improved my technical skill. But beyond that, I have learned and grown greatly as a weaver, understanding the artistic process from start to finish.
Each of the looms I prepared for the 50th Anniversary, for photography, as well as for people to see and try all the looms. Before I even touched a loom, I looked through Schacht’s collection of pattern books and marked designs that seemed interesting. Once I’d gone through all the books, I’d marked about 50 pages, so I narrowed down by deciding which patterns would best showcase features each of Schacht’s looms. It was then time to head to the yarn shop, where I developed potential color palettes for each weaving.
With all my yarn in hand, I could start to sample for each project in turn. Throughout the summer, I have learned the value of sampling: it allows for experimentation without committing a great deal of yarn or time. Sampling also let me play with the patterns. I could take a photo in a book as inspiration, but then I could shift it to get closer to my vision. I learned how changing different elements could affect the final look. A different treadling, a new color of warp yarn, a thicker or thinner weft could completely change the weaving. Sometimes I sampled a number of different warps for each weaving before I was satisfied with pattern, yarn, and color palette.
Then I warped the loom again for the final project.
With each weaving, I got to experiment with something new. For instance, I wove piqué for the first time, using a double back beam. This textural weave taught me a lot about working in three dimensions and how texture affects my interaction with a piece. Weaving is a very tactile form of making, and in my opinion, adding a third dimension allows for development of that quality.
In addition to weaving on the larger floor looms, I also got to experiment with some of the smaller looms, such as the Cricket, Easel Weaver, Zoom Loom, and Schacht’s inkle loom. These projects expanded my knowledge of weaving on small looms.
While I am sad that my internship is over, I have learned tremendously from it and cannot wait to continue my journey in the field. I’ll continue studying fibers in my junior year. After I finish my BFA, I hope to share my love of fiber and other forms of making with others. I want to teach in some form, but we will see where this journey takes me. No matter where I go, though, I will always remember my internship at Schacht fondly.