A Madison maker’s love of the loom

Courtney Cosgriff uses weaving as a creative outlet when she’s not behind the desk at the Waunakee Public Library.
Maker5
Photo by Nikki Hansen
Courtney Cosgriff is the artist behind Deerloom

While on Instagram one day, Courtney Cosgriff, the artist behind Deerloom, saw woven wall art and was immediately drawn to the textures.

“I just saw a piece online that I really liked and I was like, ‘I just kind of want to try this,’ ” Cosgriff says.

She looked at materials and bought her first loom, which first sat in her home for about six months as she just stared, unsure what to do with it. She finally picked it up two years ago and has been hooked ever since.

Before her first project, she had never really woven before. She’d only made simple pot holders on a plastic pin loom when she was younger. Now there was something about the craft that spoke to her and pushed her to pursue it.

Courtney working on the loom

Photo by Nikki Hansen

Launching a business wasn’t the plan — Cosgriff works full time as an adult services librarian at the Waunakee Public Library — but the more she made, the more her materials started taking up space. She doesn’t use Deerloom as her main source of income, and says that allows her to keep it fun. “It gives me more freedom to create whatever I want. There’s no timetable, no restrictions, no quotas to meet, so I feel very lucky in that sense,” Cosgriff says.

When she gets home from her day job, all Cosgriff wants to do is weave. After two years, she still hasn’t run out of ideas or gotten bored. Whenever she gets an Etsy sale, it’s exciting and surprising. She’s filled a few custom orders, but she mostly creates whatever brings her joy.

circular weaving

Recently, Cosgriff started experimenting with circular pieces after she learned the rib weave from Emily Nicolaides, an artist based in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Nikki Hansen)

Cosgriff is inspired by nature, earth-toned colors and artists using different mediums than she does, like ceramics, painting and embroidery.

“As makers and artists, there’s a lot of pressure to ‘find your style,’ and I feel like that puts a lot of unnecessary pressure on people to make all their pieces look really cohesive or the same,” Cosgriff says. “I haven’t found my style yet because all of the ideas I have for weaving, none of them look alike.”

two wall hangings one that's orange and one with white an rainbow

You might think rainbow is Courtney Cosgriff’s favorite color combination if you take a look at her Instagram feed, but she actually loves earth tones like the ones she used to make the pieces above and below. (Photo by Nikki Hansen)

The differences in her pieces are what distinguish Deerloom. Nothing is the same, but what remains consistent are the playful nuances with texture. Cosgriff loves using various sizes of fibers to create her projects — despite the similarities in stitches, she can create textured patterns by changing her materials. She says at its core, a loom is just four pieces of wood that you have free rein to create something within. “It’s a craft you can do so much with, so that’s why I really love learning from it,” Cosgriff says.

Wall of string with a wall weaving

Some of Deerloom’s standout pieces are wall hangings made from different materials. She used a core spun yarn to create contrast in the piece on the left. (Photo by Nikki Hansen)

Find Deerloom: etsy.com/shop/deerloom, Instagram @deerloom

Maija Inveiss is an associate editor at Madison Magazine.