We continue our weaver spotlights with a conversation with Laura of LJ Handwovens! LJ Handwovens is one of the weavers that we partner with to make our most sought after handwoven Signature Carriers.
Our partner handweavers often are women-led family businesses operating with a small devoted team. We are delighted to share their stories and showcase their textile artistry and intricate work through the Signature collection.
Baby Tula: For those not familiar with Ljhandwovens, can you tell us a little bit about you and your company?
Laura: Ljhandwovens was created about 6 years ago shortly after I had my 3rd little girl. The weaving studio and dye studio is right in my home in Marlboro Massachusetts.
At LJ Handowvens, we love to use many different fibers and all sorts of colorways. I am constantly coming up with new dye techniques to customize the way these beautiful warps look. We have recently had some custom fibers milled as well for additional custom options.
BT: What inspired you to begin weaving and start LJ Handwovens?
LJ: I have used various types of carriers and wraps to wear all of my children starting 24 years ago. I also have always been around fiber arts. I was taught to crochet by my grandmother and still have the blankets that she made for me when I was a baby. My mom was a knitter and loved to make sweaters and other various knitted projects.
After having my third daughter she was very very sick and ended up needing emergency airway surgery at 6 weeks old. She had a condition called laryngomalacia where her airway was “floppy” and would close on itself very often. For her first 6 weeks of her life, I wore her every waking minute in a very thick and hot wrap because I needed to stimulate her to breathe when her airway would close. After we finally got the pediatrician to listen to us we were hospitalized for several months with surgeries feeding tubes etc and being worn was her happiest place. It was mine too!
After we got her better I wanted to make my own creations to wear my sweet babe in, so the first official warp that was sold was called Angela’s sunset after my sweet girl! Weaving came completely natural and I am 100% self-taught.
BT: What do fans of LJ Handwovens love about your woven wraps?
LJ: My clients most specifically love the time taken to listen to them and get the fiber choices and end result to be what each client is looking for. Sometimes projects can run longer due to this but in the end, everyone is thrilled! I also love to give each and every client personal attention and make myself available to answer any questions and provide guidance.
BT: Where do you draw inspiration from?
LJ: I pull inspiration from is photos. I take the photo and create a color palette and then decide on which dye technique to use. I love seeing how accurate they truly end up being.
BT: From idea to finished handwoven, how long does the process often take?
LJ: The amount of time that each project takes could be quite some time! Depending on the length and dye technique and even fibers it could take two weeks to create the warp and prep for dye. The dye process is done over a few days or up to a week. I’ve said many times that the fastest part of weaving is the actual weaving.
BT: What do you love most about being a weaver?
LJ: There are two rewarding things that I love about weaving. The first is getting pictures and even text messages from happy moms and babies. Seeing the pure love and happiness while holding their babies so close to their hearts makes my heart full. The other aspect is that weaving gives me such an amazing outlet for my artistic ability. I love to see how beautiful these pieces of fabric turn out to be. Sometimes it’s hard to part with them and send them on.
BT: How do you balance your work and your family?
LJ: The balance of work and family is always a challenge. I homeschool my two oldest girls and so having structure is a must for me. Luckily, when my husband gets home, he takes over and I go get work done if I was not able to finish something before. He is a wonderful cook and enjoys it, which enables me to get work done while he is busy.
Recently, over the Easter season, I decided to take Sundays off from work and all social media. I cannot believe just how rewarding this has been for my family. I will be continuing this for sure.
BT: Do you have something exciting coming that might interest the Tula community?
LJ: There are many projects that will be heading out the door in the next few weeks to Tula. Lots of sparkles, the next batch of peace love and rainbows, some gorgeous Green Tea Modal warps...I can’t wait to see them in full Tula form!
A giant THANK YOU to Laura of LJ Handwovens for chatting with us! If you would like to stay connected with her, you can follow LJ Handowvens on Facebook and @ljhandwovens on Instagram. You can also be part of their chatter community Facebook group: LJH❤️