The Loom: Networks of Innovation


NewformsBusiness Network recently hosted an Innovation Event at The Loom; a new cocktail and jazz bar in the Creative Quarter of Nottingham. The building was once the place where all of Nottingham’s lace industry artefacts were housed under one roof. Being in that place and enjoying cocktails amongst a community of entrepreneurs, makers and creatives and seeing the original textile loom in the basement set me off on a train of thought…

This thread of thought continued as I travelled on to Bradford…


There’s nothing quite like wandering around the city of Bradford in the drizzly rain with an Italian hat on. Bradford, formerly the ‘wool capital of the world,‘ is still full of textile mills, as a result the city is a landscape of grande but largely abandoned architecture. 

John Hustler was an instrumental historical figure in laying a spiritual foundation for the wealth of the city… he unveiled the corruption in the woollen industry, calling for legislation to be put in place so that the weighing of the wool would be scrutinised. His passion for justice and honourable trade laid the foundation for the city to prosper. He brought financial systems into the light for all to see- not hidden and corrupted by the power barons infected with the greed virus. He then raised funds for the canal from Leeds to Liverpool to be channeled through Bradford- thus linking the flow of wealth and resources to the outside world…it may not surprise you to know that John was one of the early Quakers, part of a network of spiritual pioneers who became entrepreneurs and played a large role in the spiritual, economic and social transformation of Britain that continued into the 19th Century…together, the Quakers fostered networks of innovation that criss-crossed nations and literally changed the world



‘In weaving cloth, the warp is the set of lengthwise yarns that are held in tension on a frame or loom. The yarn that is inserted over-and-under the warp threads is called the weft, woof, or filler. Each individual warp thread in a fabric is called a warp end or end.’ (Wikipedia)

It seems that God is creating a whole new cloth across Europe…threading together disparate strands….it’s a ‘hidden work’; an intricate work, that only He can weave together into a beautiful tapestry 

This new cloth is not yet complete and sits in tension on the loom – although many of us may want to quickly resolve the tension this causes – those who do so may find themselves entangled in knots and embroiled in situations that are counterproductive- rather let’s remain in this creative tension as the master weaver continues His work…

He’s not finished yet…


In my recent blog post on Murmurations as a New Form of Organisation, I raised questions on what it might look like for diverse ‘tribes‘ to collaborate. In the end…it is the Spirit of God who is the ‘glue’ who holds these disparate threads in tension..and those led by the Spirit are like thread held in tension on his loom…



A tapestry is a form of textile art, traditionally woven on a vertical loom. Tapestry is weft-faced weaving, in which all the warp threads are hidden in the completed work, unlike cloth weaving where both the warp and the weft threads may be visible. In tapestry weaving, weft yarns are typically discontinuous; the artisan interlaces each coloured weft back and forth….

Le Corbusier once called tapestries “nomadic murals

As Nomads traverse the landscape of Europe physically, spiritually and digitally, a nomadic tapestry will emerge,, but right now, it remains a hidden work

In the Middle Ages and renaissance period, a rich tapestry panel woven with symbolic emblems, mottoes, or coats of arms called a baldachin, canopy of state or cloth of state was hung behind and over a throne as a symbol of authority.

A Tapestry weaves together different threads to tell the story of the defining moments when tribes came together to bring about historic Movemental change. As tribes work together…mortal enemies are defeated and kingdoms are forged. We know this much from the ancient book of Joshua in the scriptures and also from the history of England and King Alfred the Great 

The Bayevx Tapestry is an embroidered cloth nearly 70 metres (230 ft) long and 50 centimetres (20 in) tall, which depicts the events leading up to the Norman conquest of England concerning William, Duke of Normandy, and Harold, Earl of Wessex, later King of England, and culminating in the Battle of Hastings.

The Bayeux tapestry is one of the supreme achievements of the Norman Romanesque …. Its survival almost intact over nine centuries is little short of miraculous … Its exceptional length, the harmony and freshness of its colors, its exquisite workmanship, and the genius of its guiding spirit combine to make it endlessly fascinating.

The tapestry consists of some fifty scenes with Latin tituli, embroidered on linen with coloured woollen yarns (source: Wikipedia)

EUROPE consists of approximately 50 Countries and 750 Million People….and will take many ‘tribal networks’ flowing  together to see a new form of tapestry cover the continent…

Recently a small collective of pioneers working in different countries across Europe met to share simple stories and seek spiritual guidance on what’s on the horizon. Whilst we did this we saw a Murmuration of Birds and received a prophetic word from a friend in Sweden;

‘I see a rope that has been worn/abraded and is cut, it is in threads and hangs over a sharp edge. What happens next is that a new rope is spun, as if several smaller ropes are spun together into a new thicker rope. The focus I think is that the small ropes are being spun together into a new thicker rope. The focus I think is that the small ropes are being spun and that they are then twisted together into a new thick rope. Just so that this does not confuse…The small ropes are really being spun all the time, but it is an intricate process when you see all these small ropes being intertwined together’ 



You’ve probably heard how Jesus invented Tapas when he fed 5000 people with 5 loaves and 2 fish in the 1st Century…and now Tapas is aiding the formation of a 21st Century Cultural Tapastry. Tapas, a beautiful metaphor and catalyst for how communities come together and self-organise 

Tapas are a wide variety of appetizers, or snacks, in Spanish cuisine. Tapas have evolved into an entire, sophisticated cuisine. Patrons of tapas can order many different tapas and combine them to make a full meal

The serving of tapas is designed to encourage conversation, because people are not so focused upon eating an entire meal that is set before them. In some countries it is customary for diners to stand and move about while eating tapas

The word “tapas” is derived from the Spanish verb tapar which means, “to cover”

New forms are slowly filling Europe, flowing out from multiple and diverse ‘tribes’

Perhaps as disparate ‘threads’ come together over tapas, we will see the emergence of a rich, creatorcrafted and colourful tapestry that literally covers Europe with stories
Let’s feast together and enjoy the fruit of the loom…

Who would like to meetup to share some tapas?
(Special thanks to Cassie and John for sharing your meals and your stories) 


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Chris Jefferies March 4, 2016 at 12:19 pm

More interesting ideas, Peter! Thanks for sharing some of your thinking. This sparks off some further things that I’ve noticed:

– Patchwork quilts, these turn leftover scraps that would otherwise be discarded into something amazing, beautiful and useful. It’s a work of redemption, similar to what Jesus does. He creates a beautiful thing called church out of scraps of humanity that otherwise seemed fit for rejection and disposal. The pieces don’t build the quilt, the quilt-maker does. Her sense of pattern and colour makes it beautiful.

– Fractals, self-similar patterns based on a simple mathematical set. There’s a simple rule behind a fractal pattern, but the pattern only appears when the rule is repeated over and over. This reminds me of the Forgotten Ways – –

– Cellular automata, mathematical constructs that again follow simple rules but sometimes generate complex patterns or even moving entities that show limited life-like behaviours (movement, reproduction)

Perhaps the common factors to notice are the involvement of a designer, the existence of simple rules, and complexity and beauty in the result, and the dependence of the parts on one another. The universe works very much like this, so does the Creator of the universe, and we are made in that same designing, creative image.

It would not be surprising if some important aspects of church followed the same kind of approach. Complexity, beauty, value and usefulness appearing when the elements interact and follow the rules.


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