Beautiful Handwoven Wraps made in Ottawa
Do you love textiles? Have you ever thought about what goes into making them? It's pretty amazing. I have been photographing textiles since the late 90s when I was travelling around the world and then even more when I lived in Japan and Taiwan. Travelling through Cambodia for many months (back a few times actually!) I would watch the weavers in the markets and be in awe as beautiful textiles appeared before me. I collected cloth from every country I visited - and gave pieces to all my friends.
Years later, I had a baby. I started carrying my baby in cloth. Then I saw and touched handwoven wraps in person and my passion for textiles was awoken in a whole new way. The combination of cuddling my daughter, the practicality of baby wearing AND all the colours and blends?!! Of course my camera came out.
I've had the opportunity to host so many gorgeous wraps and carriers over the last 5 years and there are many photographs.
When this gorgeous piece arrived, I thought I was seeing an illusion - it was so beautiful. It shimmers, the colours move and it is one of the softest unique feeling wraps I've felt. I'll let the images speak for themselves. Thankfully, my son and husband are always up for some wrapping so I can take lots of photos. Andrea at Va Va Valoom Handwoven right here in Ottawa is an artist! I asked her to tell me more about Tranquility...
Tell me about Tranquility
I have three sons and they all loved the bright, colourful illustrations in The Fish With The Deep Sea Smile by Margaret Wise Brown. It’s the inspiration for Tranquility. We read that book every day for months and it fell apart from overuse several times. There’s a lot of tape holding that book together now. My boys have always loved the loom and like to be involved with projects so they asked me to weave a wrap that looked like their book. Challenge accepted!
Around that time the Loom to Wrap Great Competition of Weavers announced a children’s literature theme so I entered for fun. I needed photos for the submission. I love the water and it matched the theme of the book so we had some photos taken by the Ottawa River and it was just so tranquil. Ben was with me, in his new wrap and he was so relaxed. Weaving can be very peaceful, calm and relaxing, as is baby wearing. Tranquility seemed to fit!
What has baby wearing meant for you in your life?
I always find it hard to express what baby wearing means to me because I feel so emotional when I think about it. It’s just a part of me now. From belly wrapping to baby wearing, it’s been about six years. It began as a necessity but quickly became something quite different that my husband and I both love. We used wraps, ring slings and soft structured carriers. Baby wearing helped me bond with my twins after a difficult pregnancy, delivery and recovery. It made the arrival of our third child easier because he loved to be wrapped which meant I could chase after my three year old twins and be hands free! I’ll never forget my days wrapping my children or the people baby wearing has introduced me to.
What are you most excited about in your business? What brought you to this moment?
The thing that most excites me is the fact that I get to express myself creatively in a way that lets me share my love of baby wearing with others. It keeps me involved with the weaving and the baby wearing community. There’s nothing better than seeing someone holding their child close with a wrap that I wove. I makes my heart so happy and puts the biggest smile on my face. I’m a boutique weaver and I’m involved in every step of the design process. I draft designs, dye fibres, design the colourway on the back beam and finally weave the wraps. I love seeing the whole process come to life on the loom. I love that my fingers touch every inch of yarn that goes into one of my wraps. I try to think about who will use it while I’m working on a new set of wraps and send a little bit of love and maybe some calming sleepy dust to the families who will receive them. I get to know the families who work with me on semi-customs so I can’t help but think of them while weaving their wrap. Nothing is better than being able to share something that I love so much with others.