Weaving Wellness Month: Ergonomics

Welcome to Mirrix's fourth post as part of Weaving Wellness Month! Every Wednesday this month we have featured a blog post related to weaving and wellness. 

Today's post is by tapestry weaver and teacher extraordinaire Rebecca Mezoff. In it she discusses ergonomics for weavers. 

Rebecca Mezoff retired from occupational therapy after the 17 years of showering with other people (fully clothed!) got to her and is now happily messing around with yarn full time. She still lectures on ergonomics and maintaining health while creating with fiber. If interested in further information, she is teaching a half-day class called Creating Without Pain: Ergonomics for Fiber Artists this April at YarnFest 2016 in Loveland, CO. You can find out more about Rebecca and her goofy exploits on her website and blog at www.rebeccamezoff.com.

Creating without pain… or how not to let your loom get the best of you

I used to be an occupational therapist. For seventeen years I handed out advice to many people and finally decided to take my own advice and do what I loved most. I left the field to become a full time fiber artist. But my OT skills have come in handy when it comes to keeping myself healthy. Body positioning while weaving is only the tip of the iceberg of maintaining our ability follow our fiber pursuits for decades more. But let’s start there anyway.

How should my body look while I’m weaving?

That depends on many things. The first is what kind of body you actually have. We have all heard the advice that when seated our hips, knees, and ankles should be at 90 degrees and our head balanced over a straight back. This is not realistic and probably isn’t even the best position for your spine. Best practice now indicates that a slight recline with back support while seated is the best position for your lumbar spine.

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Customer Feature: Michelle Dixon

Hello, my name is Michele Dixon and I’ve been learning to weave tapestry for the last four years. I actually remember trying to weave tapestry as far back as 1970 on a cardboard loom I made myself. I still have the Leisure Arts books I used to guide me. I didn’t try again until 1975 when I was home with my infant son. I was interested in learning more about Navajo Weaving then so my husband made me a loom. Again, life has a way of not allowing you the time to pursue all of your dreams, so weaving in general was put on hold.
Skip forward to 2009, yep, that long a stretch of time. My husband and I moved to Texas from So. California in 2007 to be near our new granddaughter. I was very fortunate to find a nice group of people interested in weaving. I started taking lessons and learning how to weave cloth. In 2011, my weaving instructor at the time, Letitia Rogers, gave a two day workshop on Rio Grande Weaving and I was hooked. I continued to hone my skills in that style of weaving, but quickly found I wanted more. In 2014, I was lucky enough to sign up for a 3 month online course given by Rebecca Metzoff in Contemporary Weaving. That course changed my life. I fell in love with weaving the way she teaches it and I plan to take more of her online courses as they come available. As workshops come available in my area, I take them, but they are few and far between. Luckily, my original weaving instructor, Letitia Rogers, gave another two day workshop in February of 2015 on weaving the traditional Aubusson way. I enjoyed that workshop also and learned more about building shapes instead of weaving from selvage to selvage as Rebecca Metzoff teaches. However, Rebecca’s weaving style is my preferred weaving style also.
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My Favorite Tapestry Technique: Guest Post by Rebecca Mezoff

This is a guest post by Rebecca Mezoff

If you've been paying attention, you may have noticed that I teach a lot of things about tapestry. There are times when I want to weave something insanely complicated. If I actually let this wish get the better of me, I might end up feeling like this.

Molly McNeece, Cousin Trapped, pen and ink, watercolor

When this happens, I go back to some old tried and true tricks. My favorite is regular hatching. If you've had a class from me, you've probably tried this technique. I used it in the spirals in many of my Emergence pieces and sometimes I just weave it on a sampler to calm down a little bit, dork dedicated practitioner that I am.

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We Love The New Spencer Treadle... But Don't Take Our Word For It

Did you ever watch Reading Rainbow? It was a PBS kid's show that started in the 80s about the wonder of books and reading. At the end of every show there was a segment of book reviews by kids. LeVar Burton, the host, would start off the segment by saying, "But you don't have to take my word for it!" And then the kids would launch into their reviews. This phrase came to mind when I started planning this post.

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Learn tapestry online with Rebecca Mezoff

This is a guest blog post by tapestry weaver and teacher Rebecca Mezoff. Check out her blog here and her website here.

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