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Mirrix Looms

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The world of creativity is not linear. It can lead you to places you never expected or take you in endless loops. One day you might be craving color and the next can only think in black and white.

Making a living in this realm, but not directly as artists, means we straddle two worlds. We are creators and we are businesswomen. We are family and we are business partners. We support communities of fiber art and of beads and jewelry making. We create our art and we create tools to help others create theirs.

Our art, and our business, is weaving, an ancient process that has helped to define many cultures. It can take a multitude of different forms from cloth to mixed-media. We create in two weaving realms: tapestry and beads.

Tapestry is a type of fiber weaving that is weft-faced (that means you can see the threads going horizontally across the piece, but not the warp threads that go vertically up and down), not woven edge to edge and usually pictorial in nature. Typically tapestries are hung on walls as fine art but can be functional, too, and used in pillows or purses or even jewelry. Tapestry is woven on a loom with high-tension and is a very slow, meditative art. Different techniques produce different effects on the weaving. For example, a technique called Pick and Pick produces what looks like a repeating pattern of vertical columns and one called Wavy Lines creates just that.

Bead weaving is a very different art form. It is weaving with pixels. Once you’ve learned the skills to weave beads, the challenge lies mostly in design. The weaving of beads is slow and methodical. Typically, it is done by stringing up beads, placing them behind the warp threads and then sewing back through them on top of the warp threads, essentially stitching the beads to the warp. Weaving beads can be simple or complex, but the process is always a refrain of memorized hand movements.

Art & Business by Claudia

I first discovered tapestry in my early 20s when I visited the Cloisters in New York where the Unicorn Tapestries hang. I could not believe that such a thing was possible. How could yarn be woven to create shapes and animals and people? It was like painting but for me so much more interesting because I had already developed a love of fiber and weaving. I just never imagined it could make art, big art, art that took up entire walls.

Tapestry from Mirrix Looms

A decade later, while pregnant with Elena and too distracted to practice what was meant to be my “art”—poetry–I found myself in a beginning tapestry class. It seemed more like a club for women who liked to gather and weave and there was more talking than actual instruction. I then set out to invent tapestry on my own. No books, no internet at the time, I made every possible mistake trying to solve the various issues involved with weaving yarn onto a vertical warp and making it pictorial. Even though I created a lot of failures I was forced to rip off the loom, I was mesmerized. I had found my new medium and I was not to be stopped.

After learning tapestry on my own for several years I decided I was ready to sell my work. I prepared my colors during the day when the light was good and wove at night when my kids were asleep. Tapestry was constantly on my mind. I remember going on hikes and memorizing the landscape, going out West and taking photos of the beautiful desert colors and looking for the shapes in objects I loved. Everything I saw had potential as a tapestry. My work found its way into galleries and I was hired to create commission work. My love of this medium merged with the practical need to make money.

I create art because I have to. It calms me, it focuses my thoughts, it allows me to escape into a world of color and texture and form. I cannot live without it. I have art projects stashed in every corner of my life. I even have an “emergency art project” stashed in my car’s glove box just in case. If I am spending the night at a friend’s, my biggest bag is the one filled with yarn and looms and knitting and embroidery materials.

While learning how to weave tapestry, I also learned what I desired in a tapestry loom. It did not exist. Suddenly my inner engineer emerged and I designed the Mirrix loom with the help of a friend. I became a business person overnight. The line between manufacturing business owner and artist is now blurred in my life. The two parts of my personality have merged into one.

Blackboard
P.S. I LOVE THIS (From Claudia): I have been obsessed with slate blackboards since I was five. My studio houses a huge one that once hung in a classroom as well as smaller ones on which I take notes. (Photo by Holly Williams)

The looms and my artistic life evolved symbiotically. The loom and I expanded our repertoire to reach out to the world of bead weaving. I wasn’t prepared to like those tiny little glass objects. I realized I could use my invention to weave large bead pieces as well as smaller items such as jewelry. This created a huge shift in how I saw this piece of equipment. The possibilities of what could be achieved, including mixing up mediums, was suddenly endless. I was in creative heaven.

Mother & Daughter by Elena

I am the daughter of a weaver. I grew up in a house filled with looms and yarn and spinning wheels and beads. I joke that I learned my mother’s craft by osmosis, but to me weaving has always seemed at once intimately understandable and enigmatic. I don’t consider myself an artist like she is, at least in the same way. My life does not hinge on whether or not I can create. But when the person you’ve always loved the most loves something as much as an artist loves her medium, your identity will always be tied to that.

I was eleven when my mom started Mirrix Looms. As I watched her build a company from the ground up, I was proud and I was inspired. I didn’t realize until well after college that all that time she was fastidiously building a foundation of something that would one day be both of ours.

In some ways, my mom and I are indistinguishable from each other. We’re both frenetic. We run down hallways. We complete tasks at lightning speed. We’re way too sensitive. But we’re also different. She’s the quintessential artist, dreamy and able to be sucked into a project for hours without thinking about anything else. I’m neurotic and panic if I can’t check my email for an hour and send her constant reminders to do this and that and this again. But in nearly every way, we balance each other. She reels me in; I keep her focused.

Weaving is an art form for anyone. It has been around for 27,000 years. It is practical (imagine clothes without it) as well as creative. Today we weave at home mostly for the art of it, the pleasure of it, while the machines make cloth for our clothing. But those machines cannot make tapestries, they cannot make bead weavings. For those, you need a person, a loom and the flow of creativity. It can be easy or difficult. It can follow the rules or it can be inventive. It is something we do to stay connected to our roots.

What We Create

We’re all makers in our own way, even if we don’t realize it. Some of us need to create every day. Others binge-create and then go weeks or months before a somatic yearning to make reappears. And still others manage to find a balance between their dichotomous worlds.

The day-to-day of running a business is as nonlinear as creativity. Some days you feel like all you’ve done is juggle numbers and write instructions and negotiate with vendors. Other days, you are granted time with your art. And then there are days when you realize that your business is, also, what women create.

The world of creativity is not linear. It can lead you to places you never expected or take you in endless loops. One day you might be craving color and the next can only think in black and white.

Making a living in this realm, but not directly as artists, means we straddle two worlds. We are creators and we are businesswomen. We are family and we are business partners. We support communities of fiber art and of beads and jewelry making. We create our art and we create tools to help others create theirs.

Our art, and our business, is weaving, an ancient process that has helped to define many cultures. It can take a multitude of different forms from cloth to mixed-media. We create in two weaving realms: tapestry and beads.

Tapestry is a type of fiber weaving that is weft-faced (that means you can see the threads going horizontally across the piece, but not the warp threads that go vertically up and down), not woven edge to edge and usually pictorial in nature. Typically tapestries are hung on walls as fine art but can be functional, too, and used in pillows or purses or even jewelry. Tapestry is woven on a loom with high-tension and is a very slow, meditative art. Different techniques produce different effects on the weaving. For example, a technique called Pick and Pick produces what looks like a repeating pattern of vertical columns and one called Wavy Lines creates just that.

Bead weaving is a very different art form. It is weaving with pixels. Once you’ve learned the skills to weave beads, the challenge lies mostly in design. The weaving of beads is slow and methodical. Typically, it is done by stringing up beads, placing them behind the warp threads and then sewing back through them on top of the warp threads, essentially stitching the beads to the warp. Weaving beads can be simple or complex, but the process is always a refrain of memorized hand movements.

Art & Business by Claudia

I first discovered tapestry in my early 20s when I visited the Cloisters in New York where the Unicorn Tapestries hang. I could not believe that such a thing was possible. How could yarn be woven to create shapes and animals and people? It was like painting but for me so much more interesting because I had already developed a love of fiber and weaving. I just never imagined it could make art, big art, art that took up entire walls.

Tapestry from Mirrix Looms

A decade later, while pregnant with Elena and too distracted to practice what was meant to be my “art”—poetry–I found myself in a beginning tapestry class. It seemed more like a club for women who liked to gather and weave and there was more talking than actual instruction. I then set out to invent tapestry on my own. No books, no internet at the time, I made every possible mistake trying to solve the various issues involved with weaving yarn onto a vertical warp and making it pictorial. Even though I created a lot of failures I was forced to rip off the loom, I was mesmerized. I had found my new medium and I was not to be stopped.

After learning tapestry on my own for several years I decided I was ready to sell my work. I prepared my colors during the day when the light was good and wove at night when my kids were asleep. Tapestry was constantly on my mind. I remember going on hikes and memorizing the landscape, going out West and taking photos of the beautiful desert colors and looking for the shapes in objects I loved. Everything I saw had potential as a tapestry. My work found its way into galleries and I was hired to create commission work. My love of this medium merged with the practical need to make money.

I create art because I have to. It calms me, it focuses my thoughts, it allows me to escape into a world of color and texture and form. I cannot live without it. I have art projects stashed in every corner of my life. I even have an “emergency art project” stashed in my car’s glove box just in case. If I am spending the night at a friend’s, my biggest bag is the one filled with yarn and looms and knitting and embroidery materials.

While learning how to weave tapestry, I also learned what I desired in a tapestry loom. It did not exist. Suddenly my inner engineer emerged and I designed the Mirrix loom with the help of a friend. I became a business person overnight. The line between manufacturing business owner and artist is now blurred in my life. The two parts of my personality have merged into one.

Blackboard
P.S. I LOVE THIS (From Claudia): I have been obsessed with slate blackboards since I was five. My studio houses a huge one that once hung in a classroom as well as smaller ones on which I take notes. (Photo by Holly Williams)

The looms and my artistic life evolved symbiotically. The loom and I expanded our repertoire to reach out to the world of bead weaving. I wasn’t prepared to like those tiny little glass objects. I realized I could use my invention to weave large bead pieces as well as smaller items such as jewelry. This created a huge shift in how I saw this piece of equipment. The possibilities of what could be achieved, including mixing up mediums, was suddenly endless. I was in creative heaven.

Mother & Daughter by Elena

I am the daughter of a weaver. I grew up in a house filled with looms and yarn and spinning wheels and beads. I joke that I learned my mother’s craft by osmosis, but to me weaving has always seemed at once intimately understandable and enigmatic. I don’t consider myself an artist like she is, at least in the same way. My life does not hinge on whether or not I can create. But when the person you’ve always loved the most loves something as much as an artist loves her medium, your identity will always be tied to that.

I was eleven when my mom started Mirrix Looms. As I watched her build a company from the ground up, I was proud and I was inspired. I didn’t realize until well after college that all that time she was fastidiously building a foundation of something that would one day be both of ours.

In some ways, my mom and I are indistinguishable from each other. We’re both frenetic. We run down hallways. We complete tasks at lightning speed. We’re way too sensitive. But we’re also different. She’s the quintessential artist, dreamy and able to be sucked into a project for hours without thinking about anything else. I’m neurotic and panic if I can’t check my email for an hour and send her constant reminders to do this and that and this again. But in nearly every way, we balance each other. She reels me in; I keep her focused.

Weaving is an art form for anyone. It has been around for 27,000 years. It is practical (imagine clothes without it) as well as creative. Today we weave at home mostly for the art of it, the pleasure of it, while the machines make cloth for our clothing. But those machines cannot make tapestries, they cannot make bead weavings. For those, you need a person, a loom and the flow of creativity. It can be easy or difficult. It can follow the rules or it can be inventive. It is something we do to stay connected to our roots.

What We Create

We’re all makers in our own way, even if we don’t realize it. Some of us need to create every day. Others binge-create and then go weeks or months before a somatic yearning to make reappears. And still others manage to find a balance between their dichotomous worlds.

The day-to-day of running a business is as nonlinear as creativity. Some days you feel like all you’ve done is juggle numbers and write instructions and negotiate with vendors. Other days, you are granted time with your art. And then there are days when you realize that your business is, also, what women create.

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