The Autistic Weaver

I’m in a mostly quiet room, the clack-and-slide song of the shuttle filling my soundscape, the insistent thump of the beater as I build a cloth, thread by thread. This is my sacred space, where I make manifest the intricacies of my pattern-loving mind – this is my refuge from the unbearable noise of the outside world. Out there, the work of making sense is unending, oppressive, like sprinting through waist deep mud. In here I slice though and simply pursue

making something beautiful, creating a form

held up by its own integrity. It’s an intangible characteristic, and a subjective one. I remember first finding it as a child, nestled amongst hundreds of origami models as I would methodically fold my way through book after book of diagrams.

I was a quiet child, often lost in the cathedrals of my mind, withdrawn. I preferred closed systems of logic to the overwhelming assault of information that was the world outside myself. I am still that child, drawn like a magnet to pattern, process, routine. I still dive deep into new fields of study, mechanically exhausting each branch in the river of knowledge until every tributary is illuminated. It is my secret power, and at times my deepest suffering, that I cannot step away from an unsolved problem. I cannot leave the pure form in the shadows.

Now I search for it in new geometries, in the substrate of thread interlocking with thread. I came to weaving in adulthood, but it feels like a long-remembered music, like an ancestor’s clothing found in the attic – at once unfamiliar and comfortable, fitting my truest form like I have never lived without it. Weaving is breathing, weaving is water. Weaving is where I fill the well of myself when I’ve used it all up in the desert of a world not built for my kind. Weaving is surviving.

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