In 1966, the Summer of Love, I fell in love. He was much older than me, a crafty red-headed traveler, perpetually stymied in his attempts to get back home. His story fascinated me, not least because so many of the women in his life, including his guardian divinity, were weavers: Athene, Penelope, Kalypso, Kirke. Coincidentally, I had just learned to weave myself, on a tiny loom made of wood and nails. Tapestry weaving seemed so exotic, and I didn't know any weavers. Little did I know then that my introduction to tapestry weaving and the ancient Greeks would converge again so many years later, as I found myself contemplating the weaving of a textile inspired by historical Greek ones.
In the long stretch of years between the Summer of Love and now, I enjoyed a liberal arts education that included exposure to a robust Classics program. Although I didn't wind up majoring in Classics, I took classes with James H. Day, Robert Pounder, Walter Moskalew, and visiting professors John Barron, Sterling Dow, and William Bedell Stanford (with whom I was privileged to study the Odyssey for an entire semester). I also fed my interest in archaeology with classes in Biblical and Near Eastern archaeology with Robert Fortna and Walter Fairservis.
My love for archaeology never left me. Many years later, I used archaeological sources to find my way back to weaving, discovering and taking up a variety of ancient techniques. Although I focused on another historic time and location for many years, my early love for the classics also never left me. Always in the back of my head was that ancient Greek loom, thrumming and clinking to me like a siren.
When my friend said he wanted a garment properly made in the style of the ancient Greeks, it seemed impossible at first. But then I realized that I have working knowledge of every skill and tool that would be required; I simply had never put them all together before. Even if I failed utterly, I'd get to try something I've wanted to try for most of my life. Why not?
So now my friend is my patron, and I am exploring one of my most ancient creative interests. There is a significant research component as well, which just makes the project all the more exciting. The purpose of this blog is to help me keep track of how this project works out. If it works out well, my patron will have a garment special to him, while I hope to get a paper out of it somewhere down the line.