#yycLCL December 2019

A photo of a Dorthy loom and bright colourful wool
#yycLCL Photo of the Month | Photo: Helen Hajnoczky

#yycLCL December 2019

I’m new to weaving, but it’s close to my heart. When I first had a photo chosen to be the August 2018 #yycLCL Photo of the Month, I wrote about the recent passing of my father, Steve (Pisti) Hajnoczky, and about the art we’d make together. This month’s photo brings me back to these subjects, as without my dad I wouldn’t be weaving today.

My dad often went to auctions where he’d buy things related, and sometimes unrelated, to his work. Two of these unrelated treasures were a set of looms—a table loom and a tapestry loom—which he bought when I was a kid.

He never used them himself, but always thought they were neat, and kept them in his shop in Bonnybrook. They came with some boxes of yarn, too, and before his passing he said he’d like to create some wall hangings out of that yarn, similar to some pieces he’d made of jute in the 70s. Though we didn’t have the chance to do that together I did make some in his memory.

A photo of jute and yarn creations
Jute and yarn creations | Photo: Julya Hajnoczky

This summer when we were cleaning my dad’s shop out before selling it we retrieved the looms. It took quite a bit of work, but my mom and I polished this Leclerc Dorothy table loom up, and set about trying to figure out how to use it.

A photo of loom cleaning
Loom cleaning | Photo: Helen Hajnoczky

In trying to teach myself to weave I see how hard this would have been back when my dad bought them, long before the advent of Instagram and YouTube. I’d read instructions, but actually being able to watch people warp their looms and weave has been immeasurably helpful. Specifically, posts by Angela Tong on Instagram, showing the Dorothy in action, and this video from LouetWorldwide showing how to warp an Erica table loom, helped me learn to take this inscrutable machine and turn it into a welcoming tool in my creative practice.

Weaving makes me feel close to my dad—like I’m realizing some creative possibility we didn’t get to fulfill together, but that I know he’d be enthusiastic to see accomplished. Right now, and probably for quite a while too, weaving also makes me feel connected to my sister, artist Julya Hajnoczky (@obscuralucida on Instagram). Like my dad, she’s also willing to share her art supplies with me, and the cloth I’m weaving now has a warp of the yarn from my dad’s stash, and a weft of the yarn from my sister’s. It’s really nice to be bringing together material from two family members in this way.

A photo of yarn and shuttles
Yarn and shuttles | Photo: Helen Hajnoczky

Weaving is also really exciting to me for another reason. I love crocheting, but I avoid doing it for long periods of time because it can be hard on my hand, wrist, and arm. I do miss crocheting though—there’s nothing cozier to me than curling up on the sofa, covered with a blanket, while you crochet another blanket on top of yourself! Weaving is much easier on my hand, and so when it’s chilly outside I can now pull out the bin of yarn and the loom and start making something warm and snuggly.

Cloth close up
Cloth close up | Photo: Helen Hajnoczky

I look forward to continuing learning how to use the table loom, but also to getting the large loom into action in the summer. I haven’t been able to find as much information about that loom online, so it will be an exciting challenge trying to figure out how it works. I blog about my art practice, so if you’d like to read about my adventures in weaving you can find follow along at ateacozyisasometimes.com.

A photo of a tapestry loom
Tapestry loom | Photo: Helen Hajnoczky

Helen Hajnoczky is the author of the book Magyarázni which explores first generation cultural experience through written and visual poems. Helen shares artwork, including collaborations with her late father Steve Hajnoczky, on Instagram and at ateacozyisasometimes.com.

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