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Occupational Therapy faculty Tina Fletcher, left, and Cynthia Evetts have blended their love of weaving into a series of magazine articles. Pictured below are a work in progress on a floor loom and the finished product, bamboo silk baby blankets. (Courtesy photos)

Friends and colleagues share a love of weaving

They’re friends and colleagues with a shared interest in weaving. Now, Cynthia Evetts and Tina Fletcher have blended their writing styles into a series of articles aimed at encouraging a healthy approach to the craft.

Evetts, professor and director of TWU’s School of Occupational Therapy, and Fletcher, who retired last summer after working on the Dallas campus since 2005, combined their interest in weaving and knowledge of health promotion into a three-part series of articles for Handwoven magazine. Two of the articles have been published; the third will appear in a future issue.

They titled the series “Healthy Weavers” and took turns taking the lead for each story. Because Fletcher lives in Commerce, the collaboration mostly took place via email or Zoom, though Evetts did at times travel to Fletcher’s house or meet up with her at Texas’ largest weaving store, located in Farmersville.

Evetts took the lead on the first article, which focused on ergonomics and was published in the magazine’s November/December 2022 issue. Fletcher chose vision health as the focus for the second article, which appears in the magazine’s January/February 2023 issue. The third will deal with memory and cognition.

Woven with words instead of yarn, the articles indeed were a blend of their writing styles.

“Cynthia is more lyrical,” Fletcher said with a smile. “Of the two of us, she’s the poet; I’m the pragmatic one.”

Though their styles differed, both held a key thought in the writing process: They were careful not to appear as though they were giving medical advice in the articles.

“We didn’t want it to look like we were trying to practice medicine without a license,” Fletcher said with a laugh.

Both Evetts and Fletcher were introduced to weaving while studying occupational therapy in college. Evetts earned her MOT degree from Texas Woman’s, where she recalls a floor full of looms – one of which fascinated her.

“We called it Nautilus,” because operating it felt like lifting weights with your arms and legs. “It was like a little gym,” she said. “I cried when the school had to get rid of it.”

When she graduated from OT school, Evetts asked for a loom instead of a class ring.

Evetts sees both therapeutic and practical aspects to weaving.

“Weaving is rhythmic and relaxing, and in the end, you have something to show for it,” she said. “I like useful products, and with weaving, you have something that’s creative, fun to look at, and also useful.”

Fletcher also learned to weave in college and fell in love with the craft.

“I think it’s in my DNA,” she said. “My family is Norwegian, and I love to weave linen hand towels in the Norwegian style. It takes eight to 12 hours to weave one towel, so it’s a form of meditation too.”

Fletcher has returned to teaching this spring to help some of her students finish out their capstone projects and PhD degrees. Now “semi-retired,” she says, Fletcher tries to spend at least one day a week weaving in her home studio.

Fletcher and Evetts also are looking forward to more collaborations.

“The editor asked us to consider writing a series for readers who are struggling to keep up with their craft because of advancing age,” Fletcher said. “We’ve already named it ‘Vintage Weavers.’”

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Some years ago, Texas Woman’s University had an event called “On My Own Time,” which featured arts, crafts, etc., that faculty and staff created on their days off. We’ve taken that idea and expanded on it for a series for Inside TWU, and we want to hear your story!
It doesn’t have to be limited to hobbies, though. If you volunteer for a cause that’s close to your heart, we want to hear about that as well.
If you have (or know of a TWU colleague who has) an interesting pastime, let us know at twunews@twu.edu, and we may include it in a future “On My Own Time” feature in Inside TWU.