Something I didn’t mention in my earlier post about looms is the copper pipe loom. The original, Archie Brennan design is available online for you to make yourself – the photo shows a version constructed by Sara Lamb (pic borrowed from her blogspot). I haven’t made one, but I’d really like to, as there’s something very aesthetically pleasing about the copper. The Mirrix looms, although also copper pipe-based, don’t have the same aesthetic appeal for me. And I know a decision about buying or making a loom should be based on practicality rather than appearance, but despite their widely held regard and respect, the Mirrix looms are also expensive, and I just can’t bring myself to splash out so much.
I have just discovered that a company called Copper Loom is now putting out a copper loom similar to the Archie. The copper loom looks great, and I would definitely buy one (yes, of course I could make one myself, but DIY stores are not my natural habitat, and although one day I will bite the bullet and do it anyway, I would be very happy if someone just did it for me in the meantime, so I don’t have to…!) .
However, the Woolery site that distributes the loom only has a white PVC version of the same thing. I can’t find it now, but I read somewhere that the Copper Loom designers have deliberately switched to PVC as the cost of copper has gone up. I think this is a little short-sighted, as while the PVC version is indeed moderately priced at $25 (I can’t figure out from the woolery site if the stand is included as well as the loom), I think people would like the option of a slightly more expensive version made of copper, for its more pleasing aesthetic values whilst being similarly ightweight, portable and easy to construct.
Although I am still tempted by the PVC version to try the loom out, you can find detailed instructions on how to build a PVC loom in the book Kids Weaving by Sarah Swett. I actually prefer this structure to the original Archie Loom, and would probably use these plans to build my own copper loom on the eventual day I get around to it. I’m currently undecided on whether I would prefer an integral stand, as in Swett’s design, or separate, as the Copper Loom. The beauty of buildng your own, of course, is that you can completely customise it to suit your own needs and taste, and have whatever size you need and structure you prefer.
Going back to the new Copper Loom, though, the authors have also written a book ($25), which tells you how to make and use your own loom, as well as a 4-selvedge finishing technique. I’d be interested to know if the finishing technique is the same as the one on the Brennan-Maffei site, or the method outlined by Kathe Todd-Hooker in her book ‘Shaped Tapestry’ (available in the UK for £22.50, from George Weil Fibrecrafts, a wonderfully in depth site to explore). I would just buy the Copper Loom book to find out, as I would like to read it, anyway; but it is self-published & the only distributor I can find is the Woolery, who warn of a $30 surcharge (in addition to shipping) for overseas orders…