Mitraspera, a Labour of Love

by Lena Weber

I like to describe Mitraspera as a huge space full of colourful carpets. Every one of them is a story, a piece of art, a character – every little thing that this world consists of. Those carpets touch or even overlap sometimes. There are pathways, even whole town squares of carpets, but also little islands by themselves, somewhere in the room. There is also lots of blank space, where there are no carpets covering the bare flooring, and these spots are just waiting to be covered. Some of these carpets I, personally, like more than others. But all of them are precious. Some seem to have lost their worth because they’ve been used to get to new stretches of floor and have been worn and torn down in the process. Now, nobody seems to care for those “old rags”, but those that wove, created them are still connected to them:

Every hand that touched them, every creator has woven a piece of their heart into their creation, be it just a fragment or a whole carpet, large or small. Some creators, our authors, have filled entire rooms with their creations.

I created my first little piece of carpet in 2006, and the last one – so far – in 2018. In these years I gave a lot of myself, my love, time, tears, and laughter to Mitraspera. And even though I wasn’t able to continue to give my love the attention and effort it deserved, my passion for the project never diminished – it is a part of me.

I love Mitraspera for giving so many creators the opportunity to fill a space with their creations. Together, as a team. And for giving every creator the freedom to walk on those carpets, rest on them, be inspired by and continue to work on them if they are treated with respect and certain rules are kept.

I became restless when I realised that “my” Mitraspera was changing at an unprecendent rate and I seemed to be helpless in the face of that change. Not that it hadn’t changed before, Mitraspera has always been changing, but not like this.

Suddenly, carpets were being removed, pathways blocked, creators were kept from their work. The rules of conduct were abruptly changed, more change was announced. Talking to people for long stretches of time seemed to yield little to no actual result. I didn’t like that. I was concerned, even afraid for my beloved Mitraspera and started defending it. Not by talking eloquently, as others have tried, but rather by wildly swinging my sword and shouting, without even knowing what I was doing and what it was supposed to achieve.

I was busy weaving, creating other parts of my life and I couldn’t be everywhere at once. I had no idea what to do except to gather up my beloved carpets, my creations in blind panic and forbid everyone to ever use them again. I coudn’t even have carried them all away, but maybe the biggest ones, the most essential, the ones I was most proud of. It would have robbed them of their original purpose, they would look weird and out of place in any other room. Without their companion pieces, the other carpets, they would essentially be worthless. But they could find a new space.

I talked to a few old fellow creators about what I was planning to do and what they felt like. We quickly discovered that we pretty much all felt the same and had found ourselves in very similar situations – without a solution. Then, a few days ago, one of my old companions called, asking for a moment of my time. He told me that a lot of weavers, creators, were feeling what I was feeling right then. That they wanted to save Mitraspera as a shared project, a shared space. And that our carpets would be worthless if we each carried them away for ourselves. But that we could unite and work together. As a group, like before, we could make our creations accessible to all, show them for the piece of art that they are, make felt the love that had gone into them. And that we could allow everyone to enter our “museum” totally free of charge and that then maybe new carpets would be woven and could be connected to the old ones.

And so I decided to support this association and its goals to enable the piece of jointly created art that is Mitraspera to live on, grow, and prosper, and that everyone may enter our world and have a part in it, immortalising their work within its threads. And if its not a big, working museum, we could make it a smaller, travelling show.