Paul E. Parish built his first tape loom in 1995 for his daughter and an occasional one after that. He and his wife are living historians, and when she began using the loom he built her in 2009 at various events, fellow re-enactors started asking for them.
Parish builds eight different designs, based on extensive research and observation from the Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia areas, such as his wife’s model, a reproduction of the loom used by Sara Mifflin (wife of Pennsylvania Governor Thomas Mifflin) in a c. 1773 portrait. All of his designs date to 1760-80.
He has constructed nearly 100 looms, and although they follow basic designs, no two are alike, as was the case with the originals. The looms are fully functional, and his customers can be found using them at living history events, fiber and weaving shows, and historical sites.
When he’s not crafting looms, Parish portrays an 18th-Century land surveyor. He and his wife participate in several colonial market fairs each year and give educational presentations for schools and civic groups.
Artists appearing in the 20201 Directory of Traditional American Crafts have been selected, and the best of their handiwork has been photographed at Cedar Grove, an 18th Century house museum operated by the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Look for the Directory in our August 2021 issue.
1,841 days until America's Sestercentennial
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