You can’t scroll through Instagram or Etsy without seeing something handwoven right now. I know you’ve seen them- the beautiful wall hangings made with the soft, fluffy, cloud-like yarn and roving. Some are full of rich colors, others are more muted, soft pastels- there are so many choices out there. Who wouldn’t want one hanging in their living room?! But is this just a trend? Will the handwoven wall hanging or pillow be something we look at fifteen years from now and say “Oh my, do you remember that??” (think sponged wall treatment of the 90’s). Or will it be around for us to enjoy for a while longer?
Although weaving has recently become a trend in the crafty, handmade marketplace; people have been producing handwoven items like thatch roofs, baskets, and cloth for thousands of years. The evolution of weaving and the way things have been woven over the years absolutely fascinates me. From the very basic plaiting or braiding to using a simple frame loom, Jacquard looms, and the larger industrial looms (that most likely made the fabric you’re wearing as you read this)- the process has evolved alongside humankind. Early on, weaving was something necessary for survival. It was how our ancestors were able to provide clothing and basic shelter as protection from the elements. It eventually was viewed as more of an art form as artists like Anni Albers, Gunta Stölzl, and many others from the Bauhaus movement brought it to a new level. I guess you could say that today, we have the best of both worlds. We have the technology to produce fabric with high durability to use in everyday life on our sofas, as bedding, rugs, and clothing but we also have individual weavers who produce amazing pieces of art for us to enjoy as well.
So, will this weaving trend last?
Because I’m a weaver, you may think it’s just wishful thinking but let me explain. I don't believe weaving is a trend; it's a timeless art form. Styles do come and go. Colors, patterns, and even the fiber content of the woven item may be popular and ‘on trend’ now but then may seem dated next year (I have some thoughts on following trends too closely but that’s another post for another day!!). It might not always be the 'it' craft project to try, however, the art of weaving will last. We will continue to make woven goods. There will still be artists and designers who create works of art, whether it be a beautifully woven scarf, pillow, or wall hanging. We may be inspired to weave with different colors, new yarns, new textures, and different patterns but we will still be creating. The art and process of weaving will continue to grow along with us as it has for thousands of years.