De­scribe your style in three words. Awe­some, colour­ful and hi­lar­i­ous.

Mollie Makes - - Introducin­g -

Did you have any par­tic­u­lar am­bi­tions when you first started out? We al­ways wanted this to be a very open space – in­clu­sive with classes that are un­pre­ten­tious yet sub­stan­tial. And we’ve al­ways had the same goal of mak­ing our space work in our com­mu­nity. But over­all? We re­ally just wanted to turn what we had in our heads into re­al­ity, and feel­ing like it’s hap­pen­ing is just glo­ri­ous. How did you get into weav­ing? Weav­ing just came for us! We love yarn, we love knit­ting and we love to sew and make gar­ments. In a round­about sort of way, weav­ing al­lows us to be a bit more cross cur­ric­u­lar with our crafts. I still wouldn’t call us pro­fes­sional weavers, as we don’t pro­duce cloth for sale. In­stead, we’ve al­ways been an ed­u­ca­tional busi­ness, im­part­ing knowl­edge along­side our joy of fi­bres and mak­ing things with your hands. Tell us more about why you both love this craft so much. There are so many ben­e­fits to handweav­ing. There’s a long his­tory of hand-

weav­ing be­ing used as a ther­apy – the term bas­ket case came from oc­cu­pa­tional ther­a­pists work­ing on hand-weav­ing with veter­ans with PTSD. It’s ex­tremely rhyth­mic, which is sooth­ing and very sim­ple for both be­gin­ners and chil­dren to get to grips with. Weav­ing – es­pe­cially on our floor looms – is also re­ally speedy. Un­like a lot of be­gin­ners’ craft classes, you can make some­thing very sub­stan­tial very quickly which is su­per sat­is­fy­ing. There is a lot of set up in­volved in weav­ing, but we do that all for our be­gin­ners so they can just get straight into the stu­dio and start weav­ing right away. What’s your typ­i­cal work­ing day like? We have a big meet­ing about the week ahead and catch up on each other’s week­ends. Brooke’s more prac­ti­cal, mov­ing around the stu­dio at light speed pre­par­ing ev­ery­thing for the week, while I’m on the com­puter, re­spond­ing to cus­tomers and ar­rang­ing meet­ings for var­i­ous busi­nessy plans. When there are cus­tomers in the stu­dio, the mu­sic is on, the at­mos­phere

“We’ve al­ways the same goal of mak­ing our space work in our com­mu­nity.”

is sweet and we’re mostly chat­ting about the wrongs we’d like to right in the world and why there aren’t more shades of neon green yarn (it’s some­thing to do with new dye laws in the EU). Some­times we have late night work­shops, so Brooke will go home to meet her kids and bring me back a tub of din­ner, then we’ll hand ev­ery­one a shot of tequila and get mak­ing. Take us through your cre­ative process. Some­times our cre­ativ­ity comes from some­thing one of us has read about or seen some­where, other times it’s out of ne­ces­sity. We sit and throw around ideas for crafts and work­shops un­til we’ve fig­ured some­thing out we’re ex­cited by, and then we make sam­ples. There are lots of things we’ve tried that in the­ory were ge­nius but in prac­tice didn’t work, or ideas we thought were amaz­ing that no one cared about. Then we have to fig­ure the busi­ness side out – how do you sell a work­shop that no one seems in­ter­ested in? We try lots of cre­ative so­lu­tions to make things work, but it’s im­por­tant to let things go if they aren’t work­ing. Life’s too short for that non­sense. What’s the most im­por­tant busi­ness les­son you’ve learnt so far? Be true to your brand. It sounds like some­thing from an in­spi­ra­tional In­sta­gram pro­file but it’s true. We’ve tried work­shops

and col­lab­o­ra­tions be­fore when we weren’t to­tally con­vinced and it doesn’t work. It ends up com­pro­mis­ing the in­tegrity of what we’re try­ing to build. We’re al­ways be­ing told we have a strong iden­tity and we think it’s funny be­cause it’s just us. But we’ve learnt to trust our guts. And put lots of bagels in them, too. If you were start­ing up now, is there any­thing you’d do di er­ently? No way! Ev­ery mis­take we’ve made has been a huge les­son – and we’ve made heaps of mis­takes. I can’t imag­ine how we’d have learnt any­thing other than by do­ing it. Who, or what, in­spires you? I think if you love colour, tex­ture, fi­bres and peo­ple, then you can be in­spired by any­thing. We get so many amaz­ing, funny and smart peo­ple through our doors who teach us new things. We’re also in­spired by the com­mu­nity in Hack­ney. From dy­ers like Helen from The Wool Kitchen to wool shop own­ers like Anna from Wild and Woolly, we’re in walk­ing dis­tance of women

“If you love colour, tex­ture and peo­ple, you can be in­spired by any­thing.”

who blow our minds with their knowl­edge. We feel very lucky.

What’s been your proud­est mo­ment? We wrote a book that was pub­lished in Fe­bru­ary. It’s called Weave This and we’re re­ally proud of it. It’s been a mad dream that we were able to go into our sec­ond year of busi­ness with a book launch party. There were a lot of very happy tears and gar­bled thank you speeches that night.

And what’s been the big­gest strug­gle? Just know­ing what to do! We’d never run a busi­ness be­fore. Last spring there were days when we sat in our stu­dio not know­ing what was next or if we’d made a huge mis­take. Now look­ing back at that time (and all the times I sobbed in my boyfriend’s kitchen over book­ings), I feel in­sanely proud of what we’ve done.

Do you have plans for the fu­ture? We re­ally want a big­ger stu­dio as it would al­low us to hold cre­ative talks and work­shops. We want to be the hub of yarn crafts in the city and work along­side all the amaz­ing peo­ple in our com­mu­nity.

Can you share any part­ing wis­dom? Don’t ex­pect to be per­fect first time. We can’t all be Bar­bra (Streisand, ob­vi­ously).

Francesca 01 Brooke and set up The Lon­don Loom to be some­where “colour­ful and bright... a place with good equip­ment and qual­ity ma­te­ri­als”. 02 Freestyle weav­ing is fun and fast, and the end re­sults can be im­pres­sive. 03 Francesca adds green pom poms to a salmon-coloured weave on the loom.

01 In­spi­ra­tion hangs on the walls, and rugs and cush­ions make for a cosy f loorspace. 02 Why aren’t there more shades of neon green? Some­thing to do with new dye laws in the EU, ap­par­ently. 03 The stu­dio is a colour­ful place with ace tunes and chat.

01 Francesca and Brooke’s first book – Weave This – takes pride of place on the stu­dio shelv­ing. 02 Work in progress: dif­fer­ent yarns come to­gether to cre­ate tex­ture. 03 Per­mis­sion to play: colour­ful craft ma­te­ri­als are set out to en­tice, as if in a sweet shop.

01 work Francesca in Spe­cial used to Ed­u­ca­tional Needs which re­quired pa­tience. “I also learnt how to use my hu­mour to teach.” 02 They’re plan­ning a pro­gramme of heal­ing arts groups and after school clubs.

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