Posted by: bschutzgruber | July 22, 2019

The Gift of Friendship

Last summer I made a warp weighted loom in a workshop at the Michigan Fiber Festival. [see August 2018 post Big Looms….little looms…and a bit of color ] We used bags of pea gravel to hang from the warp but I wanted to have something that would be closer to what was used in ancient times: stone, clay or lead weights. Looking at pictures of ancient drawings I liked the look of the clay ‘doughnuts’. I contacted my storytelling friend and colleague Ben Rosenfield, who is also a potter. Ben was intrigued at the challenge!!

We agreed that he would make 24 clay weights weighing 1 lb each 

in exchange for the scarf he had commissioned me to weave as a Christmas gift for his wife Laurie.

It took some planning for Ben to calculate what the starting weight should be for the finished weight to be 1 lb and to make sure they wouldn’t crack during firing.

Shipping them from Illinois to Michigan would be too expensive so we agreed I would collect them in April on my way back to Michigan from the Northlands Storytelling Conference in Madison, Wisconsin. I was excited to see the results. We were both very pleased with how they came out! 

Sadly this visit was the last time I would see Ben.
He died unexpectedly that night after I left.


I have demonstrated weaving in the ‘Textile Tent’ at the Saline Celtic Festival in July for the past few years. [see blog posts Waulking and Art Fair and more…. oh my! and Summer Demos and Fairs ]

My little Yaris was packed to the gills with 3 looms, 2 stools, 2 dress forms, 1 table, 1 floor mat, plus yarns & the clay weights!


The festival is always a grand day
with pipe bands, dancers, musicians, and games.

The traditional opening procession carrying the Mayor of Saline on a caber.

Mens Heavy Events

And not only the men but the women too.

In the Textile Tent we had demonstrations of waulking, tatting, inkle weaving, knitting, spinning,



and in my corner – weaving using looms through the ages.

Ben’s clay weights worked perfectly!

Kids and adults alike tried their hand at weaving.

This little guy took to it immediately!

At the end of the day I raised a glass to the marvelous artists
past and present
I have had the privilege to know.

The gift of their friendship lives on!

Ben Rosenfield


















  1. A fascinating post and a lovely tribute.

  2. What a terrible shock for you Barbara, having your friend die so suddenly – I feel for you. Those weights look great and must serve as a good reminder of him as well. And what a fabulous looking fair that is!

    • Thanks Alastair. The weights are great and Ben certainly would have enjoyed the comment from a little girl who asked “Why are there real doughnuts hanging there?” 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.



adventures in fiber

A Little Cloth

a little stitching, weaving, writing & hiking


Bringing the outside in

Fairy Tale Lobby

a dialogue for storytellers and story lovers


a self-taught artist discusses acrylic painting, photoshop and the creative process.

Mary Gwyn's Art

Artist, RN, Art Educator

Barb-e Designs

Follow me as I weave along the way

%d bloggers like this: