“About 15 years ago, I felt a real need to do something artistic,” said Koppa, who lives just outside of Grayling. “I tried sketching and found out I couldn’t sketch. So if I couldn’t sketch, how could I possibly paint?” Koppa turned to weaving, turning out hundreds of scarves, vibrant table runners and wall hangings. Using silk, cotton, rayon chenille or linen, Koppa spends many hours each week at her 42-inch wide custom red oak floor loom.
Weaving can be a solitary art, so Koppa keeps in touch with other artists through the AuSable-Manistee Fiber Arts Guild. About a dozen guild members meet every month to share ideas, and catch up on news and trends in weaving.
HOW I GOT STARTED
While traveling out east with a friend who weaves, the notion took root as we stayed with her mother, who also weaves. Plus we shopped at one of the larger weaving supply stores in the country so that must have ‘pushed me over the edge; so to speak. Eventually I took a class and that was it. I also went to The Sievers School of Fiber Arts in Washington Island, Wis. I mistakenly signed up for an advanced class and quickly learned I didn’t know what I was doing. So I took a beginning class and everything was fine after that.
THE STORY BEHIND MY ART, MY INSPIRATION
The planning can be fun. I’m a little more free form than those who strictly fol low a pattern. This winter I had a problem with a particular weave, but other than that everything usually goes smoothly.
I like the process of weaving as much as the results. There are so many variables in designing a piece, from type and size of yarn to the density, or sett, and the weave structure itself. Much of my inspiration comes from nature, traveling and even family photos.
WORK I’M MOST PROUD OF
Sharing my work with family and friends. There’s nothing like giving a piece of yourself to another person for them to appreciate and wear.
YOU WON’T BELIEVE
One of the biggest surprises for people, and myself in the beginning is how much time there is in getting the loom prepared before the actual weaving begins. It can take days to design on paper, wind the warp, the yarn that goes on the loom, wind the warp on to the loom and then thread it through and tie it on. The actual weaving step is usually the fastest and easiest part of the process.
MY FAVORITE ARTIST
No one artist in particular but those whose work is well-crafted, understated and speaks with simplicity.
ADVICE FOR ASPIRING ARTISTS
Beginners should realize that weaving takes a bit of patience. There’s a lot to learn, a steep learning curve. But then play and enjoy the process. Be true to yourself and let the work speak to you.
MY WORK CAN BE SEEN/PURCHASED
I don’t display at a lot of galleries, contests or shows. I just like to play with my loom. Others enter competitions, but I just like to play. All of my work can be found in Grayling at the Main Branch Gallery or online at mainbranchgallery.com.