While browsing around SCRAP Denton, resident Jeanna Dunlap found an old purse handle to use in her next loom piece. She loves the piece in particular because it contains some of her favorite elements: different layers and alternating patterns.
“There’s just something about it that I really love,” Dunlap said. “It was the first time that I tried this particular design with a layered effect and this extra fringe at the top. It’s really special to me.”
While she plans on keeping the piece for herself, Dunlap also weaves items for her business The Locust Loom. She created her business after finding a passion for weaving.
She originally called her business Sunshine Perceptions to allow herself flexibility in the type of art she could make. However, she recently re-branded to focus her products, and her business is now called The Locust Loom.“I’m completely self-taught,” Dunlap said. “I bought a loom on a whim to just try it out and I watched YouTube videos and I just fell in love with it. I started practicing and ever since then, just about every day, [I’m] weaving and working on something new.”
“I’ve always been a really tactile person, I like to touch things, even if I’m out shopping,” Dunlap said. “I like to touch everything that I see. Working with yarn and all these different textures it’s just really satisfying to me to be able to touch things and have all these different textures going on all at the same time just really enjoyable.”
Dunlap was a dance major at UNT and always knew she was going to do something creative. She feels her work has progressed and now has a particular style to it. Each piece is original, though there are a few pieces that she has made multiples of due to their popularity.
“I think this sets me apart from those types of artists,” Dunlap said. “When someone takes something home, from me they have the joy of knowing that that’s the only thing that looks like that in the world. That’s another great thing about buying local and buying handmade.”
She also has a passion for plants, which is something she bonds over with customers. Her products can be used as wall decor, for babies or as plant hangers. The pieces she looms for plants combine her interests of plants and weaving.
“These plant hangers have been a real joy for me lately just because I’m kind of a plant fanatic,” Dunlap said. “I have a small jungle in my home. Making some for myself has allowed me to place even more plants in my house which has been really nice. It has given me the opportunity to talk not just about fibers with my customers but about plants with my customers because they’ll ask me recommendations of what plants they should put in their plant hanger and how to take care of them.”
Dunlap does not have an Etsy or a website, as she said she prefers to make sales in person.
“The things I make are really special and I put a lot of time into them and so I really like the opportunity to talk to and meet the people who are taking them home forever,” Dunlap said. “It’s part of being able to let go of the things that I make, it’s being able to interact with the people that are purchasing these items. It’s less personal when they’re buying them online.”
Dunlap participates in events and markets. She is currently in her second season at the Denton Community Market. She also did ArtsGoggle in Fort Worth, where more than 900 artists attended.
Dunlap has also taught four events at SCRAP Denton, where she currently works full time. One of the most recent events she did at SCRAP Denton was an intro to weaving in October. Denton resident and client Crystalyn Fitzgerald attended the event and said she had a positive experience.
“I did find it helpful,” Fitzgerald said. “It was very hard. The detail work that goes into it to every little stitch she makes is really interesting. It definitely brought a whole new respect to the art that she does.”
Fitzgerald has been a customer for over a year. She said she has noticed the change in Dunlap’s work over time. She uses the products she has bought as decoration and has some in a nursery.
“[Dunlap is] definitely kind of changing her style a little bit,” Fitzgerald said. “More neutral colors, which I also like. I like the delicate part of it. I feel like she has evolved over the last year or so since I’ve been going to her.”
Another event attendee was Denton resident Leigh Bailey. Bailey, 37, has attended one event taught by Dunlap. She has not bought any of her products yet, but hopes to in the future.
“She fosters the class where you can feel free to ask questions and not be afraid to make a mistake,” Bailey said. “It’s all about creativity. You can do it whether you’ve done it before or if you’re completely new. It’s enjoyable either way.”
All the materials Dunlap uses are mainly from SCRAP Denton. One of the reasons she wanted to start her business was because she figured there was a welcoming community. She has found her preconceptions to be true. Other vendors, she said, have given her yarn and a loom they were no longer using.
“I’ve been so thrilled to learn the community of makers here in Denton is amazing, they’re wonderful,” Dunlap said. “Everyone supports each other and lifts each other up and it’s great. It’s one of the reasons I wanted to start a business in the first place was to be a part of the community and I’m happy it turned out to be the way I wanted it to.”
Dunlap can be found on Instagram @thelocustloom.
Featured Image: The owner of The Locust Loom, Jeanna Dunlap, uses sustainable sourced materials to create her fabrics. Image by Quincy Palmer