Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Great Moments in Fabric Literature, Vol XVI

Kazuko paused in the doorway,her small black eyes went directly to the silk on the loom; she bowed. "Maa! Kirei na koto! Nante kirei na iro desho!" beautiful! What a beautiful color!
Dame Colette looked round, saw it was one of the Japanes, then recognized Kazuko and smiled. Kazuko, as though drawn, came a step nearer. Droppers-in were not welcome in the vestment room; the least dust or draft blowin in a smut could ruin a breadth of silk, "also we have to concentrate," but Dame Colette was now a councilor, and all of tbe councilors knew about Kazuko. Dame Colette nodded encouragingly. "Would you like to see?"
"Yes...if you please." But Kazuko still hesitated.
"Come in Come in."
"Of course."
Kazuko came and with the small steps all of them used went up to the stand. "You can look," Dame Colette was going to add not touch, but Kazuko had already taken the silk of the chasuble in her hands. Dame Colette almost cried out peremptorily - none but those concerned dared to touch her work - but something in the way Kazuko ran one hand over the silk while the other held it beneath was not only careful but expert. "Silk, pure silk!" Kazuko spoke with strange satisfaction. She looked more closely at the weave, "inspected it." Dame Colette said afterward, paused at a minute uneveness and clicked her tongue disapprovigly, but running over the rest, approved it. "Good...very good."
"You want to see?" Dame Colette rose off the high bench, and Kazulo slid into her place. "It's called a loom. Loom."
"Yes. In Japanese hata." Kazuko said it serenely, She also said something else Dame Colette did not catch; the nextsecond, to Dame Colette's fright and consternation, Kazuko began to work the loom. "Sister!" but Dame Colette's cry was lost in the looms clacking. "Sister! My silk..." but, "Is good." Kazuko almost shouted, and confident, wove on.

Rumer Godden, In This House of Brede, page 528

Fun loom fact: did you know that the loom was one of the precursors to the computer?
Second fun loom fact, did you know that there is an Angelina Jolie movie about a cult of weaver assassins who get their instructions of who to kill next from the secret messages woven in their cloth? No, I'm not making this up, it's a real movie.

Looms are interesting devices; as simple as a potholder loom (I loved making these as a kid) to complex brocade looms that make exquisite designs.
Next time time you use a computer, think about how the ideas in Jacquard's loom brought it about. Cool, yes? (When I taught history, the kids were always amazed by this.)

No comments: