KCUR: Artist Shares the Healing Benefits of Weaving with Young Patients at a Kansas City Hospital
By Julie Denesha
From her home studio in Shawnee, Kansas, textile artist Debbie Barrett-Jones creates intricately woven artwork for homes, houses of worship and hospitals.
Barrett-Jones says weaving for her is like a kind of meditation.
“When I'm able to sit at my loom I use my feet and my arms and it's the sound of the loom and it's also my body being involved,” she says. “And just right to left, right to left, thread by thread, beat by beat of the loom, I'm starting to see the creation of a piece of fabric.”
Inspired by the experience, Barrett-Jones designed a loom of her own — with the help of the Visual Art Studio Technologies Lab at KU. This new loom was portable and easy to use. She thought it could be helpful to others.
“I started envisioning these kits that would have these little laser-cut frame looms and yarn and instructions that would be provided for hospitals,” she says.
This summer, with funding from an ArtsKC Inspiration Grant, Barrett-Jones is building 200 wooden looms to donate to young patients and their parents at Children's Mercy Kansas City. She calls the project Healing with Weaving. Each loom take 20 minutes to make and the kits will include supplies to complete two weaving projects.
Gregg Rosenboom, the hospital’s inkind gifts coordinator, says the project dovetails with art therapy programs already in place.
Rosenboom says it’s important for young patients to have a way to work through emotions that can be difficult to express in words. He says simple gifts like the ones Barrett-Jones is providing can change a patient’s experience in the hospital.
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