I love weaving and creating!
Chances are since you are here that you do too. So what can you do to make sure that you can continue to create long into the future?
Let’s start off by talking about why this is even an issue.
I want you to think about how you feel after a full day of making.
Not mentally, but physically.
How does your back feel from sitting at your loom or at a desk after weaving all day? How do your wrists feel after throwing your shuttle constantly or beating your weft?
Depending on the way that you create, these may or may not be an issue, but chances are you are not taking the proper care of your body while you are weaving (I know I don’t.)
This is because we were never taught to.
There are many things that we were never taught as artists and makers that I like to shine a light on here at Warped. Just because you did not learn it before, does not make it is not important. (I am looking at your fiber art history!)
On a side note – if you are interested in some fiber art history then check out these 2 posts:
I know that I try to remind my students to get up and move after sitting for a while, but I am not perfect and we probably do not do it as often as we should. I also will not always be there to remind them to stretch! Not to mention, there are other things that you can and potentially should be doing to help avoid fatigue in the studio.
I talk about this briefly in my post on avoiding the weaving hunch by adjusting your position, but I am not a medical professional and there is more we can do!
That is where this book comes in.
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Wellness For Makers – A Movement Guide For Artists is a great resource for any artist and maker looking to prolong their making by taking care of themselves.
While this book was not made specifically for weavers and fiber artists, the principles of movement, stretching, posture, and massage can be applied to all disciplines of art.
Missy Ballone has a unique position as an artist as well as a massage therapist and yoga instructor. Her mission is to make sure that other artists learn how to take care of their bodies and arm them against the unique stressors that accompany a life of being a maker. (These are my words)
What Wellness For Makers has
Wellness For Makers is a guide for artists to better understand what their body is doing or not doing during the creative process.
Again, this book is not directly marketed towards weavers so some of the information is more general but no less useful.
While some of the information may also seem like common sense (stand up straighter, do not sit all day) there are nuances within the information that make it worth the read. Sometimes we just need a reminder about what we should be doing. Not to mention viewing it through the lens of the studio can help to make it more real.
I don’t know about you, but the incentive to be able to weave for longer into the future without issue is pretty enticing. Not to mention, the idea that weaving is potentially harmful to my body just does not sit right with me.
What I love about it
Wellness For Makers is about half text and half images. I appreciate all of the image examples of stretches, proper alignment, and massage. While this book can not and should not stand in for any medical advice (something that Missy makes very clear in her disclaimer at the beginning of the book), it is nice to be able to see the positions and stretches instead of just reading about them.
I also appreciate that Wellness For Makers mentions and demonstrates some stretches and massages that I have not thought about before, but are very helpful for weaving breaks and after I am finished.
I personally do not currently have any issues with my wrists and hands while weaving (so far), but I know that I used to get bad pains when I would try to crochet or knit for any extended period of time. This book would probably have helped me a lot to avoid those pains!
Want to learn how to weave tapestry? It is more than just imagery (although that can be a big part of it too!) Follow along with this self-paced online course that you can take from anywhere at any time.
There are now 2 ways to take it – either purchase the whole course at once for a discount or “create your own” course by purchasing just the parts you want! Either way, get 10% off for being a member of the Warped Community!
Perhaps not the end-all when considering a book for purchase, but on top of being educational, Wellness For Makers is also very well designed. The colors are calming and the graphics throughout add a nice touch of whimsy. Despite talking about important things, this book does not take itself too seriously. Instead, it makes the ideas and information easy to digest in a small amount of time.
This is something that I find to be a big plus because it can allow you to get the information and implement it in no time so you can get back to what you really want to be doing: weaving.
The book also has a ribbon bookmark built in. This is such a small touch, but one that I appreciate. This ribbon allows you to easily mark a set of stretches or information that you want to easily be able to access in the future.
Who Wellness For Makers is for
Basically all artists.
I really think that all artists can find some useful information here if they are hoping to create a more physically sustainable practice. Really, that is what we should all be striving for.
Wellness For Makers is a stepping stone into a healthier practice and can get you started in the right direction to take better care of yourself while making.
It uses easy-to-understand language and does not bog you down in extra information that you do not really need. This book is great for you to have in your weaving library and can also make a great gift for other weavers or artists in your life. Really anyone that creates for any amount of time could benefit from this book to better understand how what we do affects our bodies.
Weaving with paper isn’t just for kids! Learn all about how you can take this simple material and bring it to the next level in this 35-page ebook with full-color images, infographics, and instruction! Plus, use the provided pattern at the end of the ebook for exploring beyond plain weave!
Putting it to use
The hardest thing about the aspects of this book is actually putting them to use.
I know that I have always struggled with my posture, so sitting at a loom does not exactly make that any better! I have to spend some serious mental energy making sure that I am keeping my back straight while I am weaving.
One thing that has helped me a lot is putting a yoga block like this one underneath my loom. This way I can rest my foot that I am not using to treadle on it instead of on the floor. If I do not use the block I have a tendency to tilt forward because at 5 foot nothing, I do not exactly touch the floor if I try to sit up straight!
This along with some of the stretches that are found in this book are great tools to keep you healthier.
Ultimately, though, it is up to you to implement them and keep at it!