Although I truly believe that giving at anytime is a good thing, I guess there are certain occasions that are more “giving oriented” than others. Birthdays, Valentines day, anniversaries, graduations, weddings, etc. This time of year the occasion, of course, is Christmas. I have to admit my gift giving load is very light compared to other folks – I only have one person to consider – my wife, Regina. Even though that may seem like a light load, believe me, it is a daunting responsibility.
I will apologize in advance for tooting my own horn, but this year my gift to Regina was sort of awesome. (Yes, she has already received it).
But first, some background.
For several years, Regina has been interested in doing tapestry weaving. She has taken classes from several different artists, both in their studio and on-line, and has done some very nice work. This past year, she applied to the American Tapestry Alliance to be accepted into their mentoring program. Not only was she accepted, but she was assigned to a mentor for whom she had already developed a deep admiration.
As she worked with this mentor, it became more and more apparent she would benefit from using a different type of loom for her work – a vertical rather than horizontal oriented loom. She searched and found the type of loom she wanted, only to discover they are no longer being built. Even the web-site that supposedly had some for sale, became a virtual dead-end.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I had contacted her mentor to request assistance in determining some gift I could give her that would make her tapestry work easier or more productive.
Then came the e-mail from her mentor, who asked, “Would you be interested in building a vertical loom for Regina? My partner Don has built several, and has the original plans for the exact loom in which she is interested.” WOULD I? YES! YES! YES!
Actually the original plans were in Canada, where they had been living, but they were in Mexico at the time. No problem. Don would send me drawings and measurements and instructions.
As you may know, I am a woodturner and am not real comfortable with “flat work”, but have some equipment in my shop that can be used for that type of woodwork. A wonderful by-product of this project was the necessary purchase of two additional power tools for my shop – a planer and a belt sander.
So, I went to the hardwood lumber yard to purchase some hard maple. This stuff is really hard, but necessarily so for such a project.
I planed, cut, sanded, finished and assembled according to Don’s drawings and instructions. Some of the steps were easy, some were a real challenge, but I love a good challenge. There were a bunch of questions and answers e-mailed back and forth. Some steps I had to work out at three o’clock in the morning as I lay awake in bed, but what the heck, it had to get done.
The result. A vertical floor loom for tapestry weaving. Thanks Don and Elaine. Merry Christmas, Regina.