Friday, March 11, 2011

Interview with Lynn

Hello all,
the best way to end the week is to meet another great member of our team - Lynn.
She is a bit discrete, but that doesn't diminish her fascinating personality!
Your name, your location, the name of your store, URL location on Etsy
My name is Lynn.  I live by a lake in upstate New York near the Vermont border, in the United States.   My loom is on the enclosed porch right next to the lake, so I have a wonderful view while I am weaving.  I design and weave one-of-a-kind scarves.  My shop is called LoomOnTheLake and it’s at 

Random Facts about You?
I play the recorder (soprano, alto, tenor, bass, and great bass) with an ensemble of talented musicians, both amateur and professional.   In our concerts, we have performed music ranging from some written in medieval times through baroque and classical music to contemporary music composed the year we played it. 
My education is highly technical.  My scientific career has involved much original and creative thinking, some of which has used a lot of mathematics and has been of a very abstract nature.  Outside of my career, I’ve done design work in areas such as architecture and civil engineering.  So I’ve thought creatively both in abstract and in concrete ways.
What got you started weaving?
I wanted to put something over my recorders to protect them from the sunlight.  I bought a used floor loom and taught myself how to weave.  This is true!

What part of the process makes you the most passionate? (Choosing the right materials, the actual process, the end result, the sale, etc.)
I like both designing and weaving.  In a sense, they represent the abstract and the concrete parts of a process, respectively.  I’m not interested in weaving the same thing over and over again.  Once I’ve woven a scarf and my curiosity is satisfied, I’m ready to design a different one.  Whenever I finish a scarf, I analyze which elements are pleasing and which are not.  Then on to the next!  
Making a sale is of secondary importance to me.  But it is very satisfying to have customers who appreciate what I have woven.
What is your source of inspiration?
Nature and music. 
I am fortunate to live in an extraordinarily beautiful location.  Things are always changing and they are always beautiful: the jaggedness of pine branches, snow on the frozen lake, a spectacular sunset, autumn colors in the mountains, whitecaps on the lake before a storm, moss and pinecones on a rock.  My creativity comes at the time I see something.   Since weaving is a slow process, I finish an autumn scarf as winter approaches or one about snow and ice as people are thinking about spring.  But I’m going to create what I want to, rather than what “the market” wants me to do at a certain time.
Music plays a large part in my weaving, too.   The sheer act of treadling and throwing a shuttle is easy for me because of my musical training.  Playing music and weaving reinforce each other in unexpected ways.  Sometimes, when practicing a technical musical passage, it helps to play the notes backwards.  That’s sort of like reading a draft from right to left instead of left to right (or vice versa).  When I play music, I am aware of patterns and wonder how I can incorporate them in my weaving.  I’ve done this in many different ways.  Sometimes I’ve mentioned this in the description of a scarf and other times it’s my secret.
One of my favorites is “Winter: Icy Wind” (now sold).  It came from nature (a winter sunrise), nature again (the colors of ice), and music depicting nature (a fragment from Vivaldi’s “Winter.”)  It was Vivaldi who figured out how to make music imitate nature (the icy wind).  I tried a whole series of fragments from his phrasing to find one which would look good visually.  Then lots and lots of analysis to see why I liked the result so well, so that I could take the concepts and apply them to something else.  That scarf took months to design. 

 What first made you want to become an artist?
The world is calling me an artist, so I am playing along with it and calling myself one.  Personally, I don’t see any difference between being highly creative in a scientific world and being creative in an artistic one.  I don’t understand why people build a wall between art and science.  To me, there is no boundary, and there is beauty in both.
Please describe your creative process: how, when, materials, etc.
I am driven by curiosity and, above all, by the need for intellectual stimulation.  Some designs take me months to create, especially when I am figuring out to use music in them.
I’m playing some Bach now.  His music has a lot of structure to it and sounds wonderful.   Taking elements from the music and weaving a scarf as beautiful as the music sounds is an interesting challenge to me.
Once I have an idea, the selection of colors usually comes easily.  So much comes from nature, and I only have to look around me and then choose the colors.
What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?
I have only been selling on Etsy since last September, so I need advice myself!  What I can say for sure is that good photography is very important.   I figure that I only have about five seconds in which to make a sale.  That’s how long a potential customer is likely to look at a photo of one of my scarves before moving on to some other photo.  So if I haven’t attracted the customer’s attention by then, I’ve lost the sale.
Instead of giving advice, let me frame this as a question, because I think it’s relevant for many of us weavers in one way or another.  My scarves tend to be very intricate, with complex designs and subtle changes of color.  How do you present that, give a feeling for how a scarf drapes, and also convey a sense of high quality to a customer in five seconds?  You may choose different characteristics to define your weaving, but you still have to present them to the customer very quickly.
What weaving activities or guilds to you participate in?
I am a member of a very active weaving Guild.  We learn from each other, inspire and challenge each other, and admire each others’ talents and weaving ability.

Thank you, Lynn, for this interview!
I can certainly hear the music and see so much more in those scarfs after getting to know you!

Captain of Etsy Weavers team.


  1. Excellent interview! I've always been intrigued by the connection between music, art and science/math (Godel, Escher and Bach, anyone?).

    And - amen on the five seconds, you are so right. Much easier to sell in person, I think, where people can pick up a piece and not only really look at the pattern and colors but also feel it... And forget about photographing purples accurately! :) At any rate, I love your work, keep it up!

  2. Lovely interview -- and I"m just in love with your lake views! SO jealous! My dream has always been to have a house on a lake...I feel calmed just looking at the snowing treescape! And I too love the idea of how your weaving and music seem interwoven in ways...

  3. So interesting interview! Finally I know the reason for your design makes think to the music! And even me I'm jealous for your workshop in front to the lake!!:-))

  4. But I should like to see your portrait too!!

  5. Thank you for this interview. I had already put your shop in my favorites, as I love your designs, plus I love your lake and the fact that you live on it makes me quite jealous. Your statement about selling being secondary struck home to me. And the music that is part of your process makes your pieces that much more alive.