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Weaving. Where Would We Be Without It?

Aug 17, 2007
As far back as there is evidence of human life, there is weaving. Due to the fragile nature of hand made textiles, the surviving fabrics from the past are sometimes few. What we can see are astounding objects of art, beauty and fascination that will be with us forever. Some textiles have survived, however in the frozen parts of the earth, in bogs or in tombs such as in Ancient Egypt.
What drove these primitive peoples to use weaving? Probably the most basic needs of shelter and survival were the first motivators for ancient weavers. One can imagine the primitive man fashioning a shelter for the night by laying reeds and branches on some sort of a crude structure. Perhaps he observed the intricate pattern of a spider's web for his inspiration or a beaver's dam. In any case man has always been a weaver.
Weaving as we know it today is best described by inter-lacing, usually at right angles, two sets of threads to form cloth, a rug or other types of woven textiles. Today of course this process is for the most part automated and mass produced, but the quality and the allure of hand made, hand woven rugs and clothing is never ending. The earliest weaving produced blankets, rugs, baskets, nets for fishing and many others. You can see the full impact of weaving when you consider these products and how we use them today and take for granted their evolution and usefulness. Weaving clothes kept the people warm and provided floor coverings as well as baskets to carry food. Where would we be without weaving? I dare say a lot worse off.
As weaving grew in sophistication, from the crudest of shelters and utilitarian items, came man's natural inclination to insert, if you will, his innate creativity into the items he was weaving. I still look at some ancient (and not so ancient) rugs and wonder, How do they do that? How did they ever think of that? Don't you?
Some motifs and designs in textiles from primitive peoples are from the natural world and represent their pagan beliefs or items found in nature, the animals they hunted or the God (or Gods) they worshipped. Also due to this desire for creativity came the process of dyeing and weaving with colors. If weaving was for strictly utilitarian purposes, there would be no reason to have different colors or to go to the very long and arduous process of dyeing wool and cotton. Textiles may be made from many materials, animal, plant, mineral or synthetic. In the beginning all sources were from natural sources and indeed the best textiles are today still produced from wool, cotton, silk or other natural materials. No rug, for example is considered a true "oriental" or "Persian" rug unless it is made from wool, cotton or silk. Today we have synthetic fibers, synthetic dyes and automated processes which make the fabric, rug or cloth more affordable, to be sure, but usually lacking in quality. Man has not improved upon the process in thousands of years. Weaving survives the ravages of time.
About the Author
Weaving, Rugs, Antiques, Rug Care. Enjoy the Mystery of the Past. http://www.revelationimports.com
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