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Published: 10 October 2015

By Andy Ross

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West African weaving

A few weeks ago I bought a book about weaving in West Africa and have just managed to get around to reading it. 

Aside from the  photos of beautiful cloth, the book, which was written by Venice Lamb and published in 1975, features many pictures of people, tools and equipment and patterns, but what is the most fascinating double page spread is one of photographs of the pulleys which hold the heddles through which the warp threads go. The photographs depict lots of styles of pulley, some shaped like birds, some like people, some like gateways. I shall try to get a scan done for next week so you can see how varied the shapes are.

It is really interesting to see how the cloths are made, and I am looking forward to reading the book some more, in between weaving our own cloth. Although it is my own copy, the book will be in the library for anyone wanting to do research. 

By coincidence, this morning we had visitors who came by to see the looms. One of the visitors has had a very interesting life, being, not only the person who worked to make a computerised Harris Tweed loom for industry way back when computers were just becoming more freely available, but also working in the Sudan where he set up weaving studios for a private company. It must have been the African book which enticed the group in!