Weaving New Moments

So my last post was in JUNE! I know I’m terrible at keeping up with this blog, but so much has happened within that time that I just needed a moment to reset and refocus before diving back into anything site related, especially writing.

I’ve been thinking of turning this blog into a newsletter. When I started my website I intended to only have it as a blog, but now my priorities have shifted and I’m thinking about the future of Brujologie as a shop and arts focused space. Let me know in the comments if you’d like to receive very infrequent emails. Maybe a once a month update focusing primarily on fiber arts themes, like weaving patterns, embroidery patterns, shop updates, when I’ll be selling at markets and a touch of home decor DIY and maybe a splash of life stuff too.

 Or if that’s a terrible idea, I’ll just get better at blogging. 

Since my last Pride post, Kyle and I have moved into a new place down in south Philly. The decision to move was based on a few factors. For one thing, I feel like we were doing Germantown wrong! The reason people move up to Germantown is to have the awesome historic house with a yard and still have access to the city. We were in a cute but tiny apartment with no yard and generally difficult transportation from Germantown to Center City or South Philly. 

Being new to Philly, we also decided we needed the opportunity to build our networks, make more friends and explore job prospects with ease. All of those things pointed toward a relocation. Not to mention I don’t have a driver’s license and the regional rail is spotty at best (I’m being nice).

Our new place is definitely an upgrade in terms of space and location. A stone’s throw from coffee shops, restaurants and bars. And we have a dog park two blocks away which Wynona loves!

The new apartment is a two floor, two bedroom one and a half bath with more of a lofty feel to it. These ceilings are crazy tall!

I’m excited to make it feel like home! Although it’s going to be a challenge since our last apartment was decorated so nicely, there’s a lot to live up to. White walls drive me crazy, and I’m definitely going to need to figure out a good color scheme for this space.

Does anyone else encounter the problem of furniture fitting strangely in a new home? There was the saga of the couch that took 6 months to arrive from West Elm last year, so we had to make sure the couch would fit. Honestly it was a huge priority during our apartment search. The new place fits the sectional beautifully, but now we have the issue of not enough furniture, specifically shelving for all of our books! Honestly the book situation is getting a little out of control and we don’t want to clutter this open airy space with a million shelves. 

For all my book hoarders out there, what solutions have you come up with to house your books beautifully?

I have some plans and ideas for the new space, and now that we’ve settled in I feel like I can focus on tackling some of these rooms. I’ll post about my decor choices soon. I’m thinking of “Texture” as my main inspo.

If you follow me on Instagram you’ll know that I’m also midway through a weaving apprenticeship at Weaver House, a weaving studio located in the gorgeous Bok building. Bok is an old repurposed high school and art deco wonder in the heart of South Philly. Kyle and I snooped around the building before the apprenticeship began. The auditorium is spectacular and the view from the Bok Bar roof is unmatched in Philly. The Bok tenant community is made up of over 70% South Philly residences, 48% woman run businesses and 80% self owned businesses. It’s an amazing place and I’m honored and grateful to be the studio apprentice at Weaverhouse. 

I’ve spent the last month and a half learning the fundamentals of weaving starting on a small hand frame loom and gradually making my way to the rigid heddle and now the floor loom. My selvedges weren’t terrible on this first sample piece and I ended up really loving the watermelon color scheme. 

An unfortunate setback because of Covid precautions and the rise of the Delta variant has forced us to break the apprenticeship into a summer and fall section. So I’ll be completing the rest of the apprenticeship this fall and in the meantime giving space to the other amazing weaver and artist apprentice to utilize the studio time  while I work on things from home. It’s just a reality of the world right now that we’re forced to take extra care of eachother to stop the spread of this virus and while I was bummed, it’s for the best of everyone involved.

But on the bright side, I’ve recently purchased my very first floor loom to continue the practice from home! It’s a 36” LeClerc Artisat Jackloom from 1977 that I found on Facebook Marketplace. After a really intense two hour drive that was supposed to be an hour and 15 (damn traffic), we made it to Plainfield, New Jersey. My seller was wonderful and owns her own weaving & knitting studio and was making room for a much larger loom in her workshop. She threw in a weaving bench, rattle, sectional warp and a bunch of other tools and attachments for the loom that I definitely have to explore and learn to use. I priced what she had sold me as if it were all new and it was over $3000! So for $500 it was kind of a steal.

We had to take the loom apart for it to fit in our Honda sedan (Clearly I didn’t measure correctly). Bringing it into my home studio I looked at all the pieces disassembled and thought oh boy what have I gotten myself into. Putting it back together was a challenge and took some online research hours, but this is all a learning process for me. 

And it seems that learning has been kind of my theme for the last few months. Weaving is complex and takes a lot of knowledge to move forward into more advanced work. I’ve also enrolled myself in some sewing classes at the Made Institute here in Philly. More on that in another blog post.  

I keep reflecting on this time I’ve been given during quarantine and how much I’ve learned. I constantly remind myself that I am extremely lucky to be healthy and stable so that I can utilize this moment to better myself and discover new ways of living. Like everyone else, Covid has been difficult, oftentimes unbearable, but I have to count my blessings that it’s allowed me to assess my life and make some really significant changes for my own betterment. 

I’ll be posting more weaving and loom updates on Instagram and more on my textile and fiber journey plans soon. Fall is already looking to be quite busy with new classes (That I’m teaching!) and a scholarship to a weaving school for an intensive. All good things to share soon. 

Thanks for reading and stay magical friends. 

Richie Wilde Lopez 

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