I first came across this loom during a morning’s workshop in Norfolk. I bought one, thinking that I would move onto something “bigger and better” when I had mastered this one, but have never found anything else that suits me so well. We lived in a caravan at the time so had very little space but it stored standing against a wall taking up no room. As my workshops expanded here in Herefordshire, I started teaching people how to use the loom.
Brinkley looms were invented by Mr. Pink who lived in the village of Brinkley somewhere in East Anglia. His granddaughter, Sarah has told me a bit about him; he was never a weaver, but an inventor and observer, and he must have watched some weaving being done and thought “I could find an easier way to do this….”.
The looms I used were supplied by Peter Wood from Harrogate. He had bought the patent from Mr Pink, who wasn’t as good at selling looms as inventing them. Peter had a good business going selling the Brinkleys to the educational market during a weaving revival in the 1980’s. He supplied me for a few years and then decided to pass the business onto us.
The warping up, pivoting the frame around a broomstick, is a revolution in warping, but so simple. The heddle, which separates the warp threads, makes the sheds and beats the weft down all in a few easy movements, is unlike any other that I have seen. I call it a non rigid heddle.
We are now the sole producer Brinkley Looms and have taken on the job of manufacturing and selling the looms. We had a new machine tool made – an injection moulder – to make the fins that go to make up the heddles. After several attempts we have found a plastics factory in Hereford who work well with us. Julian puts the fins together to make the three different sized heddles. Mr Powell in our nearest village makes the frames, sticks and shuttles for us. And I weave, demonstrate and sell the looms and all the wonderful wool fairs there are now around the country. And of course I teach how to use them on my workshops.
"Many thanks for the excellent workshops which we all enjoyed very much" - Crickhowell Spinning Group
"Everyone enjoyed it without exception, the beautiful setting, and your hospitality was delightful" - Dorothy Baker