Sometimes, we learn more in the undoing than from the ultimate creation.
Weaver Kiki Alba used to be wary of fiber arts. She started out knitting as a child, but didn’t really “get” it. Later in life, she was introduced to weaving through her mother-in-law’s floor loom—although she was overwhelmed by the intricate and time-consuming process. “There is just so much that goes into it,” she says. “It gave me a lot of respect for people who do it.”
It was an old friend’s post on Instagram that finally gave Alba an entry into weaving that worked for her. The image of a frame loom, interwoven with colors and fabrics, much less intimidating than the larger floor loom, appealed to her. It was smaller, more portable, with a lot less commitment implied. “I didn’t know there was an option like that for weaving.”
Alba still considers herself a weaving beginner. She is taking her time to explore the craft and experiment with different materials and textures as well as with a newfound relationship to the land she calls home. “I think I have a kinship for slow processes,” she says, referring also to her interest in traditional historic-process photography. “It’s nice to have a process that slows you down. It can be rewarding and therapeutic as much as frustrating.” Part of the process, she says, is allowing yourself to undo your work and start over if you don’t like it, being OK with giving up that work and time and knowing it wasn’t truly lost.
“Weaving has been almost a space to have a little bit less expectation when I’m doing it for myself. It’s more of an exploration of technique, which I haven’t really done as much with any other artistic process.”
“It’s a creation of headspace for myself. There is less expectation on the outcome when it’s for me—it’s, ‘I wonder what will happen,’ and then trying it. In some ways, it’s more like play. There is an element of play to anything, if you want there to be.”
READ MORE ARTICLES FROM WV LIVING’S SUMMER 2022 ISSUE
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