January 17, 2020
Stamps alumna Marianne Fairbanks (BFA ’97) and Erica Hess recently launched Hello! Loom, a miniature, portable loom.
The affordable, pop-out laser cut design offers an accessible entry point for beginners, and a mobile creative outlet and design-test platform for experienced weavers. Made in the USA, Hello! Loom includes all the elements required to weave in a compact, cell phone-sized kit: two needles, one comb, a display stand, and optional yarn.
“We wanted to expand the universe of people who can experience weaving,” says Hello! Loom co-founder Fairbanks, a professor of Design Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. “It’s a joyful, creative craft, but few people have access to a loom or know how to use one. We wanted to change that.”
Fairbanks created Hello! Loom in 2016 as part of her social weaving project, Weaving Lab. Since then, she has distributed the kits in small batches at workshops and conferences, and just this year decided to make Hello! Looms commercially available.
Weaving has many benefits, including promoting dexterity, creativity, focus, and community. As a result, Hello! Loom has attracted interest from museum and airport gift shops, teachers and counselors, parents, and physical and occupational therapists.
“In this digital age, it is only more urgent that we be in touch with materials and processes that engage our minds and our hands,” reflects her business partner Hess. “This hand-making process offers rewarding explorations of color, texture, and pattern systems.”