Weaving is my meditation, my salvation from depression, and my hope for the future of community.
When I started my weaving business, I knew that there was something different about this venture. I had started and run other businesses with varying levels of success, but this one had spirit. There was a tiny voice in the back of my head telling me that this business would be the one that changed my life and the lives of others in my community.
At the time I was recovering from the failure of a previous business, living in San Francisco, and working for minimum wage. I knew I didn’t belong in the city so I set out to start a business that I could easily move to the country. I also wanted to do something that would let me be creative every day and form the foundation of the sacred crafts collective that I had dreamt of for over a decade.
At some point in the process of weaving small items to raise money for my production equipment, I realized that I wasn’t depressed any more. Exercising my creative potential seemed to be relieving my depression. I’m not a doctor and I can’t tell people that creativity will cure their depression, I but I can say that it made mine manageable.
When I realized this, I set a goal for myself: exercise my creativity every single day. I believe that every time we engage in the act of creation we are connecting with the divine creator and strengthening the divinity in ourselves.
Once the business was off the ground and others could see a tangible manifestation of my vision, they started appearing and talking about a spiritual community that used craftwork to connect to the sacred. Last June we committed to each other and began the steps toward living together and creating a new community.
Now that we have had some time together, I can report that, as a spiritual practice, creating in a group is not much different than creating on my own. My personal moments of connection with the divine still mostly happen during the time that I spend alone with the threads, letting my muse guide me in my work.
The differences mostly lie in the mundane day-to-day aspects. When I crafted alone, my work and my goals were limited to my own imagination. Now, there is a community that cares, not just what I do, but why I do it.
We help each other with every task from evaluating potential designs to critiquing photography, reviewing business decisions, and much, much more. They help shake me out of my own thought process and become a better artist that I could have ever been on my own, and to always remember our community goals in my process.
We do have one community practice that enhances my personal spiritual work. In this group, we make it a point to acknowledge the sacred in each other. Everyone has a different way of connecting with the divine and these differences serve as a constant reminder that nobody’s way is better than anyone else’s.
As part of our practice, we set aside time to share our spiritual experiences with each other and celebrate the diversity of spirit. Nobody’s reality is judged by the others, but simply shared. This seemingly simple practice does more than anything else to take our individual threads and weave them into a community experience.
In woven cloth, every thread in the warp touches every thread in the weft. If a thread is removed, the quality of the cloth is changed and weakened. In a close community, every person’s life touches every other. They cannot be separated without changing and weakening the group. We hold it as a constant goal to develop our close community and then teach others how to do this for themselves.
Many people have asked about contacting us, coming to visit, or joining the group. For now our community is cloistered while we do the work of developing a structure that will allow us to share and grow when the time comes. While we develop our community, we are always doing the sacred craftwork and going out on weekends to bring our vision into the world for others to see. If you are interested in meeting up on one of our trips into the world, take a look at our events calendar and see if and when we’ll be in your area.
Blossom Merz, also known as The Weaving Monk, weaves cloth as part of a small spiritual community in Southern Oregon. He uses his craft to further their vision of a world where people are more connected to each other and the items in their lives. Blossom and his weaving community sell their wares at events up and down the West Coast as well as through his Etsy store.