Although we’d carried my beloved’s Harris loom from one home to another, over the past four decades (London’s Shepherd’s Bush; Edmonton, Alberta; Burnham, Berkshire; Geneva; Sparty Lea, Northumberland), we finally realised that it was time to divest. It was a big floor-standing loom all right, but the real issue was the crawling around underneath to string it up for the next rug weaving, and that just felt impossible physically.
So we were delighted when it found a new home where it’s been restored to its former glory and has been put to good weaving use. But there was still an ancient Dryad tapestry/general purpose loom, upright, squished into a garden shed that we could not bear to lose — the weaver’s first training in London was on just such a loom at The Weaver’s Studio. So that went into store for future renovation in our new home, when we eventually acquire it. The future is still uncertain, but there’s certainly no space in our tiny bungalow just now.
The challenge, which was not apparent when the Dryad was first acquired, is that the beater, that sprung piece that’s important for tamping down the next line of weft onto the growing textile, is missing. How to go about finding a replacement? Dryad as a loom manufacturer no longer exists. Happily, there are a variety of opportunities for enjoying the services of the local Men’s Shed, as long as I can acquire a template for that piece. The time is right, now, to figure out how to go about the renovation.
And that’s the rub of time. There are a variety of conversations extant at Weavolution, from one of which I’ve borrowed the ‘after’ image above, which describe several successful attempts to renovate these old looms, but I’m not entirely convinced that I can reasonably hope to create a useful beater from only a few images. I’m much more of a template-requisite worker.
Ideally, if I can source another similar Dryad loom, something also in need of tender loving renovation perhaps, but with that crucial beater, then I can work on constructing the missing piece from that model. We could sell on the model when we’re finished with our own project, for example. Or, in my fond imagination, the weaver could have two projects on the go at the same time; who knows what possibilities there might be?
Sometimes, rarely, these old looms do appear in the sale sites. There’s one right now in County Galway, for example. The price is extraordinary, and coupled with the transport (these looms do not come apart, so require quite a van to carry them to their next destination) the cost is too prohibitive. A one came up down in Dorset a couple of years ago, still listed on Pinterest for only £80, but it was given away long since. So in some quiet desperation, I’ve placed a Wanted ad in The Loom Exchange, hoping some reader there may wish rid of their old Dryad loom, which must of course be a match for ours, and will be anxious for it to find a good, appreciative home.
We shall see what transpires, over the next three months, anyway. It’s something to look forward to. Meanwhile, I believe, after two abortive efforts, I have sourced and acquired the two bouncy springs on which that ultimate beater is to be suspended.
One small beginning, but as the saying goes, you have to start somewhere!
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