I grew up surrounded with my mother’s creative love of sewing, knitting, tatting and even oil painting. Predictably, I was taught how to sew and knit when I was very young, so textiles, thread, yarn, color and the spirit and joy of creativity caught an early hold on my heart.
My introduction to weaving happened in 1988 when my oldest was a newborn and we were living in Sudbury, Ontario. Fairly new to the city, when I noticed a sign outside a small shop that said, “Knitting and Weaving Supplies” my curiosity made me stop. Inside the door was sitting a small floor loom threaded with lovely, vibrant colors of yarn. Along one wall of the shop, from floor to ceiling, were shelves filled with every color and texture of yarn I could imagine. When the shop owner greeted me and asked if she could help, my response was simply, “I need to learn how to weave”. Within a couple of weeks, I had found an elderly lady in the community to give me private lessons and my life as a weaver was launched.
Although I have never had any formal schooling in art or textile design, I have been fortunate enough to have taken classes from many of Canada and America’s best weavers. It has been a never-ending accumulation of knowledge from classes, workshops, friendships with other weavers, books and magazines, online chat rooms and certainly many trials and major errors at the loom. I have been encouraged, challenged and at times stuck in the muck of creative slumps, but as I look back on it, I see that all those things have been valuable in finding my way to my current level of craftsmanship.
The designs that I strive for in my hand-woven textiles are artistically eye-catching in the use of complex and unusual woven structures. Color plays an important role in complimenting the structural design features in my work. Because the illusion of movement in cloth intrigues me, I often use color gradients and hand-dyed warps along with curving lines and circles in my designs.
Weaving is a slow process that demands focus and patience both in the initial design phases and the work at the loom. However, my desire to find my own artistic voice while weaving quality pieces of cloth has been a driving source of inspiration in even the slowest, most tedious steps in the process. I believe strongly in always using excellent quality fibers that reflect the quality of the work put into each piece to produce interesting cloth that is rich, unusual and has depth to its design. I succeed in that when my textiles engage the senses and are clearly something that has not been produced in industry. My aspirations as an artisan are ultimately realized every time a piece of my work is appreciated for the craftsmanship and unique design qualities that is recognizable as a Brenda Schori Handwoven.