Thursday, April 2, 2015

AVL Interview: Sarah Morales of Serendipity Handwoven

Today we have an interview with Sarah Morales, owner of Serendipity Handwoven and a work at home mom. Sarah creates beautiful hand woven baby wraps on her AVL Production Dobby Loom. 

First of all, thank you for tagging us in your posts on Instagram! You’ve been a customer of ours for almost a year now and it was very exciting to discover photos of your work on an AVL loom. How long have you been weaving and how did you get your start?

Thank you so much for contacting me, I really appreciate it!  I have been weaving now for one and a half years.  A friend of mine started taking weaving lessons and just hearing her talk about how much she loved it, sparked a fire in me.  After about a year, the curiosity got the best of me and I met her at the art center where she took lessons.   That day I went home with my first loom, a Leclerc 8 shaft Dorothy table loom.  It didn’t take long before the desire to have a larger loom started.  It only took about 4 weeks and I was on the hunt for a floor loom!  The loom that found its way to me, was a 4 shaft Leclerc Artisat and this is the loom that I spent every night weaving and practicing on for the next 10 months.  During this time, every project had to be a new weave and/or structure and I discovered weaving was something I had to do, it had become a passion for me.

You’ve only been weaving for a year and half? That’s crazy! What are some words of advice/encouragement you can offer to some of the new(er) weavers out there?
Yes, just about a year and a half, I bought my first loom in Sept 2013.  One of the biggest things that helped me to grow, was to realize that when I share work I have done in an online group, I can’t expect that all feedback will be a pat on the back.  Yes, you will receive a lot of positive feedback, but there will be times, when a more experienced weaver will point out something that can be improved.  Always try to be open to receive constructive criticism, and know that in most cases, the pointers are given, so that you might grow, learn and improve your weaving.  I am not part of a guild at this time and didn’t have a teacher nearby to help me, so I had to rely on the community to point me in the right direction, when I made a mistake. 

What do you love most about being a WAHM (work at home mom)? I’m sure there are challenges as well?
Being able to be home with my children to watch them grow and to nurture them has been a huge blessing.  Working full time outside the home with my oldest child, I felt like I missed a lot of her first experiences.  Now that I am working again, I love being able to do what I love, along with having my children by my side.  Being a work at home mom does have its challenges, but the main challenge is making sure there is adequate time to complete orders in a timely manner.  This is usually only a challenge when the children are not feeling well, but sometimes things come up and I am grateful that most customers are very understanding and patient when family life circumstances happen.

Speaking of little ones, can you fill us in on the art of “Babywearing”? What is it?
Using wraps to wear your baby close to you is done with fabric typically between 2.7 meters and 5.2 meters long.  The fabric is wrapped around you and your baby in various styles.  There are many different ways to use your wrap to create a comfortable place for baby to bond with their caretaker.  Using fabrics woven in different fibers and colors creates a beautiful artistic look, while holding baby close.  One of the wonderful benefits of babywearing is being able to have your hands free to do other things while baby is happy or possibly taking a peaceful nap.  I wore each of my children, but it wasn’t until my third child, that I was introduced to the art of wrapping.  It quickly became a passion of mine, it literally changed my life as a parent.  I had three children under the age of 4 years old and being able to care for a newborn hands free, allowed me to focus on all of my children and give them the attention they deserved.

At which point did you think to yourself “Hey, I can make a company out of this”?
I initially started selling scarves, to fund my new found love of weaving.  After about 8 months of weaving and researching all the required regulations for weaving baby wraps, a dream was born.  Within the following few months, my husband saw my growing desire to weave fabric that would help a child be held close, and he decided to invest in my vision.  He helped me to find the loom of my dreams and encouraged me to move forward.  That’s when an AVL mechanical dobby loom found a home in my small studio space.  While I waited for the delivery of the new loom, tester pieces were started on the smaller floor loom, to find the right combinations of fibers and sett and with the arrival of the new AVL loom, I was able to incorporate more weaves to the testing process and once I was happy with all the results, I started sending the wraps to various testers for feedback and eventually moved into the sale of them.

How does your AVL meet your weaving demands? What things are important to a production weaver?
I can honestly say that a year ago, this was all a dream.  I never imagined being able to have the loom that I do.  It has been wonderful weaving on it and really makes weaving more enjoyable.  The live tension is one thing that I love about this loom.  It makes it so easy to adjust to the point of perfection.  Another thing that is essential on this loom, is the ability to change the lift plan easily and quickly.  My work is limited production, so on each warp, 3-4 pieces are made and each piece consists of a different lift plan.

Some inside connections tell me you have a 16 harness loom. Do you ever see yourself needing more shafts?
Most definitely!!  My immediate goals is to upgrade my mechanical dobby to a compu-dobby. Our family moves every few years for my husband's job, but my dream is have a studio space, where I can have another loom (or two!) with more shafts.  Ultimately the loom that I would love to have is a 40 shaft compu-dobby, with all the bells and whistles!   

Thanks so much to Sarah for taking the time to share your weaving journey with us! All of team here at AVL wishes you the best of luck with Serendipity Handwoven and look forward to seeing more of your beautiful creations. To learn more about Sarah and Serendipity Handwoven follow her on Facebook and Instagram and be sure to check out her website:

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