Antoinette Olsen, handweaver , and my speciality is the warp-weighted loom

I am a skilled weaver who can weave on the warp-weighted loom, modern floor looms, tapestry looms, rigid heddle looms and tablet looms. My favorite looms are the old warp-weighted looms and old tapestry looms. I like the old weaving techniques, and I am full of respect for the persons which was able to weave difficult and beautiful patterns on the old looms in ancient times.

I draw my own weaving patterns for tapestry weaving and for the twill weaving. I also combine weaving patterns made for todays floor looms with the old weaving technique. I love to dye yarn with different kinds of plants and then use it in weaving.

I have written one book in norwegians and one book in english about how to weave twill and tabby on the warp-weighted loom. My books are sold world wide since 2014. The reason why I wrote the books, was to keep the old weaving techniques alive today and in the future, and to honor the old weaving masters who lived in the viking age and before.

Describe your profession, with details on products, services, expertise and know how.

I am a skilled weaver who can weave on the warp-weighted loom, modern floor looms, tapestry looms, rigid heddle looms and tablet looms. My favorite looms are the old warp-weighted looms and old tapestry looms. I like the old weaving techniques, and I am full of respect for the persons which was able to weave difficult and beautiful patterns on the old looms in ancient times.

I draw my own weaving patterns for tapestry weaving and for the twill weaving. I also combine weaving patterns made for todays floor looms with the old weaving technique. I love to dye yarn with different kinds of plants and then use it in weaving.

I have written one book in norwegians and one book in english about how to weave twill and tabby on the warp-weighted loom. My books are sold world wide since 2014. The reason why I wrote the books, was to keep the old weaving techniques alive today and in the future, and to honor the old weaving masters who lived in the viking age and before.

What materials do you use? Where and how you purchase them?

I normally use yarn of linen and  wool, often plant dyed yarn.

What is your “ideal” client’s profile?

My «ideal» client’s are the ones that is patient and love old weaving techniques. This is a very slow method of weaving compairing to the modern weaving industries.

At what age and under what circumstances did you start this job?

I was 44 years old and would learn how to weave twill on the warp-weighted loom. Nobody could tell me how to do that, so I thought myself.

Where and how long have you been trained before you were ready to start your own business? In a training institute, with a craftsman or both? What do you think is the best way to learn your job today? Schools, training with craftsmen ...?

  • I took two classes of modern weaving at Asker husflidslag in Norway (in total 108 hours in 2011 and in 2012). Then I bought an old book about the warp-weighted loom. I did not understand it, so I decided to write and publish my own book, since this is an very important weaving technique in my eyes. During spring 2012 I found a warp-weighted loom on Facebook and started to learn the technique on my own. I visited Manndalen husflidslag in the North of Norway for two days, and Osterøy museum on the West cost of Norway for one day,to see and learn how they where weaving grenes and tabby/tapestries on their looms, 2 rods weaving. I myself, normally use 4 rods.

The best way to learn the weaving technique is to do it with a professional combined with self studies and weaving on your own.

Describe the techniques, the tools and the materials you use in your work.

I weave tabby, tapestry, double weave and 2/2 twill on my warp-weighted looms. I use a fork to beat the weft upwards and towards the woven fabric. The fork is used to push the weft upwards and towards the fabric. For warp and weft I normally use wool.

What role do "talent" and "creativity" play in your profession?

The more you weave and dear to weave, the better skills you get, as long as you learn from your mistakes. The more you weave the more creative you get. I love to try new color combinations and mixing different kind of yarns to get new effects in my products. I also like to test out new techniques on the warp-weighted loom.

And what about innovation, what are the changes since you started? Do you use new materials, tools, or processes in manufacturing and marketing? What is the impact of innovation on your performance? How could your profession be even more innovative?

  • Earlier this year, in January 2020, I came up with a faster and more efficient way to make the warping. The new method (or at least to me) makes also the process of splitting the warp in back and front threads much more easier and efficient, (after you have stitched the starting border and the warping to the beam on top of the loom). I also use modern weaving patterns, (different kinds of Broken twill) while weaving. It is fun to combine the old weaving teqnchnique with weaving patterns an techniques made for the modern floor loom.

What is the best way to learn your profession?

The best way to try my profession is to try to weave, to do all the mistakes you can imagine and not imagine. And start all over again, plus read my books and connect to the warp-weighted loom-weaving group on Facebook, and share your weaving experiences with others.

What is your message to younger generations who might choose your profession?

Try it and have fun, but you do not make much money on this weaving technique/profession.

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