Although some production weavers work in a factory, most are self-employed.
They can work from their own at-home studio or rent a studio with other artists.
"Most weavers are self-employed. A few work for other weavers who have
production studios or produce large-scale works on commission. Many of the
latter serve as apprentices," says Lois Wyndham, administrative coordinator
for a weaving organization.
Weavers create hand-woven artwork from scratch. They begin by designing
an item on paper or on the computer. After the item is designed, it can take
anywhere from a few days to a few months to weave the item. Scarves, jackets,
towels and table runners are some popular woven items.
Weavers use a loom to interlace two sets of threads. They first hand-string
the loom with the warp (yarns or threads). The loom is threaded in the pattern
for the woven piece. Then other threads (called the weft) are wound on a bobbin
that fits in a shuttle. A foot treadle raises the warp threads so the shuttle
can pass through (called throwing the shuttle).
"I use a calculator, pens, pencils, warping boards...a bobbin winder and
shuttles. Last but not least, the vacuum cleaner. A weaver produces a lot
of lint," jokes hand weaver June Person.
Self-employed weavers must have savvy marketing skills. They sell their
work to craft stores, through the Internet, at shows and in catalogs. Developing
a niche in this industry makes your work more marketable -- and brings you
"Finding your niche is the key. The things I sell, nobody else sells,"
says Steven Medwin, a hand weaver.
Self-employed weavers can look forward to working their own hours. Since
they usually have a flexible schedule, dedication and organization are crucial.
Sometimes an entrepreneurial weaver may need to work long hours or weekends
to complete a project. Many choose to weave part time while they hold down
"I spend three days a week as a mechanical engineer and three days a week
weaving," says Medwin.
Weaving can be peaceful and meditative -- but it can also be a pain in
the back! Weavers spend long hours sitting in front of a loom. Back pain and
injury is common in this profession. "Some experience back pain. It's necessary
to have good posture and to take breaks and stretch," says Person.
Interlace two sets of threads into cloth craft items and clothes