My friend Norman Frankland in Montana weaves rugs that look like modern art. He raised the sheep that the wool comes from, he spins the carded fleece into yarn and finally on the huge loom that takes up half his studio, he turns sheep wool into art. In this world of hyped and mass marketed machine made goods, it’s rare and magical to find something created by hand out of love of craft. If you’re in Montana you can go to 108 South Main Street in Twin Bridges (about forty miles south of Butte) and see his studio for yourself – the loom, spinning wheel, piles of carded fleece, the balls of gorgeous taupe yarn that’s he’s spinning for his next rug. Or go to his website www.theweaversstudio.com.
I’m writing a scene with a weaver for my novel and I wanted to get the details right so I hung out this week in Norm’s studio/shop, asking him questions and watching him work. I thought about all of us who feel the need to create, to take something ordinary and craft it into something beautiful. Whether it’s with paint or clay or a camera or a garden. Or those of us who take bits and pieces of our own life and imagination and craft them into stories. And I realized that the time Norm takes with the meticulous details and bone numbing work of weaving a rug isn’t that much different than us sitting at our desks, doing the bone numbing work of getting the words on the page, getting them right, weaving our lives into stories.