Deb Brandon: Living in Radiant Color

Dream Weaving

I want to weave a scarf for a very special person, Annabella. I met her once, and I may never set eyes on her again. I want to weave a scarf that will do justice to her eyes, the colors of the sea at the Amalfi Coast in Italy, startling blues and greens. I want the scarf to have a life of its own, so I will weave it out of silk in the colors of the sea, soft and flowing, with a sheen that catches the light as it moves.

Whenever I weave I sit almost in a trance, often daydreaming. I dream about the finished product, the colors, and the hand, how it’ll feel to the hand running over it. I dream about Annabella, how her eyes will light up when I give it to her, how she will stroke it, how it’ll drape across her shoulders.

I dream about the land where the fiber came from.

I dream about the women in India boiling the cocoons to dissolve the sericin, the gum that binds the cocoon together, in order to release the silk filaments. I think of them huddled, reeling the silk, drawing out one filament per cocoon, winding it around their wheels. I see lithe women floating along gracefully in their long rustling silk saris.

When the yarn is spun of soft wool, I remember picking out vegetable matter from a Romney fleece that a friend from New Zealand gave me, preparing it for spinning. As I was picking it out I pictured a flock of Romneys sheep grazing in a field a world away. I felt one with the women before me, and the women far away, sitting at their spinning wheels, holding clouds of wool in their hands, the yarn drawing out and winding onto the bobbin.

hands with striped cloth
photo by Charlee Brodsky

I dream of women from different places and different times busy at their looms.
Charlee Brodsky

I imagine a weaver in Bhutan, weaving a silk hand towel for the king. I dream of a colonial woman pausing between rows to admire a cotton coverlet that she has been weaving. I remember a weaver from Laos as she told me about the traditional stories woven into a silk shawl. I think back to ancient Egypt and a woman weaving a linen tunic. I see a group of Peruvian women sitting in the shade, their looms tied to a tree as they gossip and weave woolen ponchos.

Like those women before me, a world away, I weave, row by row, watching the fabric grow before my very eyes.

After I complete the scarf, I will gather it up in my arms and bury my face in it feeling the softness against my skin, breathing in the silk, immersing myself in the faint memory of the odor of the sericin.

I will feast my eyes on it, tracing over the lines of each of those different hues of blues and greens in the warp and the weft. I’ll run the length f the scarf between my fingers, feeling it flow, soft and smooth, and hold it up to the window, reveling in its sheen as the light dances across its folds.

Finally, I will reverently wrap it in tissue paper, and fold it so that I can pack it in my suitcase to take with me to Guatemala. I want to see Annabella again.

I will see her again.