To survive as a textile designer -weaver it is important to be openminded when it comes to different kinds of jobs. I have for several years been applying for grants, teaching, holding lectures etc.
This year I am trying something complete new. I have a one-year contract with the Center for Deaf where I teach weaving. The people who come and work at the Center is besides beeing deaf, have also other kinds of handicaps as well. This can be mental illness, autism, blindness etc.
For me this job is very life-giving and every day is a new challenge, especially as I did not had any knowledge of sign language before I started.
All the weavers at the Center is fantastic, each of them have there own speciality, what they do best. I would here like to talk about Jan, a man who have autism and who is such an amazing weaver. Jan have been working at the Center for many years and have woven different kinds of patterns and structures. Last year I did some other teaching where I developed all the patterns, structures and designs. One of the designs have I change a little bit into other yarns and now Jan is weaving the most beautiful scarfs.
If you as a weaver have an ordinary contra march loom with a hanging beater, which can be moved in the top, you can make this as well.
Here it is important to put everything into different steps, so it is easier for Jan to follow. I put up L and R (H in danish) on each sides of the loom and also wrote 1-2-3-4-5 for each step he should change the beater direction.
Made a paper for changing the steps of the beater and he was ready to weave. It took a little while before he catch the idea. I guess he had to put it into his system as many autism people have this.
I did not had any background in working with people who have different handicaps, but I find it so interesting as there are always new ways to do things to think of.
As you can see on the paper the beater most of the time does not hang equal on the loom.
I am very proud of Jan who is now weaving scarf number 8. The weaving structure is very simpel, just a plain weave. It is all about the way the beater is changing on the sides of the loom. There are four wefts in each repeat and then changing into a new.
Each year in November there is a Christmas Market at the Center for Deaf.