History of the Loom: Know how your clothes are made

Weaving fabric is an ancient practice that spans both time and culture. In Maya civilization, the goddess Ixchel taught the first woman how to weave at the beginning of time. 

The loom threads across the globe from China to Colombia, and dates back to as early as Ancient Egypt in 4400 BC. Through centuries, the loom evolved to be the titan of all fabric creation. 

 

By 700 AD, horizontal and vertical looms were found in Asia, Africa, and Europe. Looms with pedals for operating handles were discovered in Syria, Iran, and Islamic parts of East Africa. In Medieval Europe, weaving was done at home, but soon the craft spread and shifted manufacturing of fabrics to centralized buildings. The evolution of the loom is a critical factor in the industrial revolution and the creation of fast fashion.

Not all looms are created equal. There are now more than ten variations of commonly used looms. When John Kay invented the flying shuttle in 1733, this was a pivotal moment for industrial textile manufacturing. It enabled weaving of wider fabric and faster production. By the second half of the 19th century, white fabrics printed mechanically, and the usage of natural dyes soon was replaced with cheaper, synthetic dyes. 

Although the loom became the catalyst for fast fashion, it also is the cultivator for turning thread into clothing, fabrics into blankets, and textiles into art. Slow fashion embodies the older generation of looms. 

Handlooms are one of the most sustainable clothing creations practices. There is no electricity or water consumption needed to operate. Our products are all handmade with traditional Columbian loom practices with fair trade foundations and the usage of organic, natural materials. Below is a picture of one of our Artisans in Colombia, William, showing the process of creating our Mar Y Lana products. 

The loom is a symbol of cosmic creation and the structure upon which individual destiny is woven. Right now, we have the opportunity to choose what destiny we want to weave for the future of our planet, our people, and our craft.