Looms create shared artwork at ImagineIF libraries

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Christina Wilke and her daughter Lexi, 4, add a row to the loom at the Columbia Falls Public Library on Wednesday with a bit of help from library administrator Nancy Callan. (Brenda Ahearn/Daily Inter Lake)

Community tapestries are taking shape as the latest hands-on project at three ImagineIF libraries.

Three 7-foot-high looms built by a local woodworker have been installed at the Kalispell and Columbia Falls libraries and a smaller loom is set up at the Bigfork library.

With fabric and other fiber supplies in plentiful supply, weavers of all abilities are creating woven works of art.

“It was a lovely tactile experience,” said Nancy Rose of Kalispell, who tried her hand at weaving for the first time. “It was a fun, relaxing thing to do, and it was just different to break the stride of your day, to be present with the yarn and wonder who wove the other pieces.”

In Columbia Falls, Christina Wilke and her 4-year-old daughter Lexi tried their hand at weaving before the weekly storytime session.

“It was fun to put a personal touch to something open for the community,” Wilke said. “I’ll be interested to go back and see what [the weaving] looks like when it’s done.

The community looms are the latest do-it-yourself offering at ImagineIF libraries.

Public Services Librarian April Vomfell said interest has been growing in the hands-on projects that have ranged from home brewing to making household cleaning projects.

“We try to tap into the community’s interests with something we think will appeal to people,” Vomfell said. “One of the neat things about this is we try to have something for everyone.”

Wilke said she enjoyed the cleaning product project. She and a friend plus their children all participated.

“I’m really glad the library switched to ImagineIF,” Wilke said. “There are a lot more projects. It’s nice to see libraries haven’t died out in such an electronic world.”

The Flathead County Library System was renamed ImagineIF Libraries in January as part of a rebranding effort to offer more transformative experiences. The idea was use the library and its branch libraries not only as places to reach and check out books but also as places for building, collaborating and creating through various experience-based programs.

Vomfell said a survival-themed project in July that taught library patrons how to make a water filter, build a shelter and make a solar light, among other skills, was very popular.

In December, the month with the least amount of daylight, the theme turns to lights. Also coming soon will be a simulated tropical experience, which certainly will have community appeal as winter sets in.

“It’s definitely bringing people back” to the library, Vomfell said. “And people are staying longer.”

Features editor Lynnette Hintze may be reached at 758-4421 or by email at lhintze@dailyinterlake.com.

 

Library Director Kim Crowley helps Madison McLean, 9, of Kalispell, add a row to the large-scale community loom at the Kalispell ImagineIF Library on Monday. The looms are part of a collaborative art project called Weave It All Together. (Brenda Ahearn/Daily Inter Lake)

 

Bernadette McLean of Kalispell and her daughter Madison, 9, work on the large community loom at the ImagineIF library in Kalispell. (Brenda Ahearn/Daily Inter Lake)

 

Nancy Rose weaves on the community loom at the ImagineIF Library on Monday in Kalispell. (Brenda Ahearn/Daily Inter Lake)

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