In 1987, Don wandered into the Maude Kerns Gallery in Eugene, Oregon and was totally blown away by the neckpieces of Virginia Blakelock as well as other artisans. He was so impressed that he drove all the way back to Eugene from his home in Coos Bay, Oregon (a 240 mile round trip,) for another look. Don had not been aware that people were doing that kind of work in beads.
He was particularly intrigued by the technical aspects of bead looming. After teaching himself basic loom skills, Don challenged himself to push the envelope with new techniques and variations on old ones. In the Gallery, you can see some of the amazing pieces he has created.
This journey led him in some interesting directions. He wanted a loom that was flexible and could accommodate any design he could dream up. That is how Larry the Loom was born. Don then set up a website and sold looms and books to beaders all over the world. Over the years the design and materials used in the loom have been refined to become the loom as it is now.
Don spent a great deal of time teaching workshops all over the country. Being paid to do things he loved to do; travel, teach and meet many interesting artisans, was a great learning and sharing experience for him. As a natural outflow from his teaching days, Don wrote two books, Beading on a Loom and its companion, Designs for Beading on a Loom.
The original Larry the Loom was manufactured by a woodworker in Coos Bay. Don's son and his wife, Paul and Mary, took over the manufacturing of the looms in 2010 and Paul's machinist background definitely contributes to the overall quality of this handmade bead loom. In 2014, due to increasing health issues, Don turned the business over to Paul and Mary.
Besides being a journeyman machinist, Paul is a handy guy with a lot of experience in carpentry and has the tools to prove it. Mary's strengths are organization as well as web and social medial skills. They immediately upgraded the security on the website for ordering as well as establishing a presence for Larry the Loom on Facebook, Pinterest, Wordpress, Ebay and Etsy.
Future plans include becoming contributing members of the beading community and once again bringing Larry the Loom to bead shows and conventions around the country.