Longhouse - Center

The Loom

A loom is the primary tool used by the Salish people to weave. The people of the Fraser Valley are noted as being one of the first groups in North America to use a stationary loom. In the past, the loom consisted of two uprights that were driven into the ground to support the structure, and two horizontal poles which were used to hold the warp during weaving. Today the looms are made in a very similar fashion but are self-contained-in that they have a frame or base that they are constructed on, and that they are portable.

Similarly to the spindle whorls, the uprights of the loom were elaborately carved in a variety of styles, unique from carver to carver, and were personalized (often based on the desired design of the weaver using the loom). The looms were, however, not the property of the weaver but that of the carver who made the designs for the loom. The looms can vary in size and in production size, as there are several notches in the loom uprights in order to increase the number of warp sizes available for use. The full dimensions of the loom can vary up to a length of 182 centimetres and a height of 152 centimetres.

There was also a second type of loom used, called a three-piece loom, which lacked the lower horizontal bar. In this type of loom, the warp was attached to the single crossbar and the dangling portion of the warp was held taut using weights. This type of loom was quite useful for the creation of very large mats or regalia, as the warp could be much longer than the distance from the top of the crossbar to the ground, and the weights could be attached anywhere on the warp


(92.2 KB)An example of a loom in use.
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