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Weavers breathe new life into a forgotten loom

Arran and Tivane traveled to Strand to collect this special item and there they made a promise to the previous owner that, as part of the purchase agreement, the first scarf the loom manufactures would be hers.

Quite understandably Cecily Laing was very happy when a scarf was hand delivered to her at retirement home.

“This is so special to me, thank you so much Arran. It was made on the very last loom I kept and I’m so glad there’s someone who is keeping this industry alive,” Cecily said in an interview with News62.

When she opened the package, she saw that there was an extra treat in the form of a shawl – and everything was, of course, made with that same love and quality that the Hand Weavers put into every item that is manufactured at their Barrydale based factory.

She recalls how she trained a couple who did a lot of fundraising for the De La Bat for the Deaf on Worcester.

“It was such an interesting time. The couple was also deaf and I remember how we had to adapt to complete simple tasks like having lunch.”

All Cecily’s looms were made by her husband Kobus according to a Dutch pattern and thanks to the weaving classes, Cecily helped to pay for their daughter’s university tuition.

When Kobus retired in the early 90s, they sold most of the looms and only the one that is in Barrydale today joined the Laing family when they relocated from Paarl to Strand.

“After Kobus passed away last year (2020), I moved into a smaller place and then I had to get rid of the beloved loom.”

Cecily tells how she contacted Arran who gladly came to fetch the loom.

“I really did not want anything (money) for the loom. I was just glad that someone would use it, but Arran insisted that he would not take it without paying for. He has a heart of gold. “

Arran and his wife Kate purchased Barrydale Hand Weavers a little over a year ago and the business has since grown from strength to strength.

The reason why the Scotsman buys looms has largely to do with his long-term plan for his business. His mission is to create as many jobs as possible at Barrydale Hand Weavers and to accomplish this task he will undoubtedly have to save several more looms from their dusty graves.