Sunday, May 5, 2013

My grandmother's writing

My grandmother was a weaver. She wove tapestry. She got a BFA in fiber when she was 60 years old. When she could no longer use her tools, they were passed on to me. Much of my studio has been in storage for a year and a half and I have finally found time to unpack those boxes this week. I found a lot of my grandmother in there.

This box contains the heddles that fit on the 48 inch Macomber loom. There are 10 shafts on this loom, each of which has a hefty number of heddles. (Maybe some day I'll get the other 6 shafts just so I can weave some 16 shaft lace. I know a few of you are groaning right now at my tendency to multiply projects.)
But I really have to ask if she ever needed THIS many heddles.
Here is a beautiful hand-carved tapestry fork which has been emblazoned with MEZOFF. I suppose I should be grateful a student won't take it home accidentally (and that my name is also Mezoff), but it sure would be prettier without the label.
I especially love this peanut can which holds the hooks for the tie-up on the Macomber looms. And this may also explain my spelling difficulties. These problems are genetic, right? I am pretty sure the correct word is LOSE... all caps of course.
And a typed label stuck to a small piece of weaving she (or perhaps my grandfather) did. It may have been a gift for me at some point and the label was a courtesy.

And my favorite leash sticks. I am pretty sure anyway that they are called LEASH sticks, not LEASE sticks (the L got cut off in the photo). Although after awhile I'm not so sure about words anymore. Once I've used them wrong enough times, it is pretty hard to rewire my brain to the correct spelling/grammar/useage.
And her books did not escape either. Here is a Harriett Tidball monograph. Most books look something like this. It is of course ironic that she consistently wrote "valuable" or "do not loan" on books that she felt were valuable. But I suppose in some ways that makes them more valuable to me as a remembrance of my grandmother. She is still very much alive and kicking, but no longer weaves. So I weave for her on the days I don't have the mojo to weave for myself.
Thanks for being a weaver Grandma!
And Happy Cinco de Mayo from the sunny southwest. (The tapestry class is going great in case you were wondering.)


  1. Rebecca,
    They indeed are called Lease sticks. It seems as though they should be leash sticks, but the name stuck with me because I kept thinking there must be a misspelling, but lease it is. I tried to find origin but the only thing I found was that in old times landowners kept track of their lands using "lease sticks" showing who had the rights to lease the land. Who knows, maybe someone used theirs as their only nice stick for use on their loom?

    1. Thanks for the clarification Susan. Who knew that my grandmother's spelling was actually right. I'm glad to know and hope I can remember in the future to save myself future embarrassment.