When in Chania two years ago I found this shop, Roka Carpets, full of woven goodies and right at the back was a LOOM but the shop was never open. I would stand at the window and peer in, like "the little match girl". I eventually learnt that the weaver, Mihalis Manousakis, had had to get a job that paid "real" money to support his young family.
Roll forward two years and the doors were open and Mihalis's daughter was there looking after the shop on behalf of her stepmother, Anja, who was now the weaver. Mihalis is working as a scaffolder.
Two strips of cloth being woven simultaneously and paper to separate the projects.
I love the tangle of threads on the centre support of the swift and the tree trunk its resting in.
The Roka patterns are from Minoan time.
One of my questions about Greek weaving has been, why have the traditional looms never been developed to make the weaving easier and why still just using two shafts. On occasion I saw a four shaft loom but shafts 1&2 and 3&4 were tied together to act as a two shaft loom. Maybe the answer lies in this article in the Crete gazette where they say
"There was a time on Crete when every house had a loom. Weaving was as essential as cooking. "
Weaving wasn't a fun thing to do or an art form but part of the daily chores.
Before we left home I had read that Kritsa was the centre of weaving on Crete and as this was one of our destinations to meet up with Pete's cousin I was quite excited but, alas, it seems the last weaver had recently passed away and, although several ladies had looms in their houses and were interested in learning weaving there was no one to teach them.
|Kritsa - having a go. My feet weren't far enough up the straps and I didn't get a very good shed.|