The Original Belfast, Maine EarthLoom, featured in the DVD
A Beautiful Morning Begins
The Belfast, Maine, Middle School EarthLoom Project began early in the morning, with a crew of boys and teachers, who gravitated to the peeled cedar logs. With saws, chisels, drills, and bolts, they assembled the loom in just a couple of hours.
Teamwork, Math, and Learning New Knots
It was a team effort to place the warp on the loom. They carefully measured how much they would need for each warp string, and cut them all the same length, taking into account how much was needed to tie around the logs.
One group looped the warp over the top, another group tied it at the bottom. Teacher Steve Tanguay gave only light guidance, keeping the students involved in working on their own.
Joy In the Garden, Joy In Weaving
The students' garden program, part of their classroom work, provided materials for weaving. A seventh-grader trims corn stalks.
And like kids everywhere, the middle school students had fun with everything! Here they're jumping rope with warp strings, while waiting their turn.
Handwork Builds Healthy Personalities
Studies of handwork show that Weaving on an EarthLoom for a heartfelt goal activates neural connections between the hand, and brain that strengthen motor ability, observation, and activate interest in the world.
Weaving for Everyone
The garden manager couldn't help getting into the act. One of the most amazing things about the EarthLoom is that groups can weave and socialize together on both sides of the loom. There isn't necessarily a front and a back to the weaving, just a common threads and hands working something new and beautiful.
A Perfect Fall Day
The time of year was perfect: early October in Maine. Maple trees had started to turn, and the glorious colors of the leaves and the bright outfits of the students made for a visual feast.
And weaving isn't just for girls! Girls helped in building the loom, and the boys got into the weaving in a big way.
How many people can you fit on an EarthLoom?
Quite a few, as these photos show. The principal was intrigued by the mysterious activity, and ended up weaving side by side with the students.
Working Together Is Vital for Youth
Rochelle, a seventh grade student at the school, had this to say:
"In Mr. Tanguay's class we get assigned to jobs for the year. Mine is to create a class lesson.... It took me awhile but than it came to me. I was so impressed with the earth loom by not only how pretty it looked but also how it helped us work together."
More on Rochelle's story >>
A Happy Crew and a Finished Loom
The whole class was so proud of their project. It was a perfect day to work outdoors, and the finished weaving was a dense and beautiful design of natural materials that would weather gracefully into winter.
Beauty from Nature, Made by Students' Hands
In a society increasingly dominated by technology and virtual experience, it is ever more important that children experience the tangible world tactilly and visually.
On the right is a closeup of a section of the weaving that was particularly bright with greens and sunflowers.
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The EarthLoom Foundation
Humans share common values:
- to love and be loved
- to find food, shelter and belonging,
- to develop and express natural gifts and talents
- to serve where needed and to live in peace.
- to feel a sense of belonging
All our actions are directed toward these goals, consciously or unconsciously, in the millions of ways we work them out in our lives. In every culture, on every continent, for at least 10,000 years, weaving embodies the meeting of opposites that creates a whole cloth; the EarthLoom weaves together communities.
The EarthLoom Foundation’s mission is to serve individuals and communities by providing hands-on experiences in peace-building based on the Weaving a Life process of weaving our values and vision into action with EarthLooms.
“The first day or so we all pointed to our countries.
The third or fourth day we were pointing to our continents.
By the fifth day we were aware of only one Earth.”
Sultan Bin Salman al-Saud, astronaut on Space Shuttle Discovery 5
Earth Loom Projects is hands-on experience in the art of creating community. An EarthLoom Project's goal is to weave together our common values, (the vertical threads) with our individual visions and differences, (the horizontal threads).
The purpose of each weaving is to discover joy of respect, honor, and peace between ourselves. Respect for a group, honoring a member of the community who needs prayer and support, gratitude or recognition - each EarthLoom weaving is a document of a community coming together for a common purpose.
Working together with our hands, we can create a new picture of how we relate to each other and our planet. Through appreciation, gratitude, prayers and recognition, we can weave into our lives sustainable life patterns creating a bond in the heart that changes the way we define our neighborhood.
Bermuda EarthLoom Project
The Bermuda EarthLoom Project was conceived when Susan Barrett Merrill taught a two-week arts workshop at Kaleidoscope Arts in Bermuda.
Discussions with two adult students led to both being trained in the Weaving a Life Leadership Process in order to bring it to conflicting social groups on the island.
Each group would create its own weaving, guided by the Leader to express their views, vision, and frustrations. Ultimately all the weavings would be displayed at the Kaleidoscope Gallery, where the groups could meet and discuss the outcomes of their experience.
Personal Discovery from Hands to Heart
The EarthLoom shifts us into "inner-drive" and take us on a journey of personal exploration and discovery that sparks our human spirit, maps a way to love ourselves, and to share what we learn with our neighbors.
"The first peace, which is the most important, is that which comes within the souls of people when they realize their relationship, their oneness, with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize that at the center of the universe dwells the Great Spirit, and that this center is really everywhere — it is within each of us."
Black Elk, from Black Elk Speaks
"Our brain is an intricate loom of billions of neural pathways with a huge potential for weaving internal interconnections and connections out to the world...
As our hands touch and play upon surfaces of outer reality, we internalize and inwardly fabricate a personalized tapestry upon the multi-dimensional loom of our mind."
— Arthur Auer, M.Ed., from Learning About the World Through Modeling