Hummingbird at Loom is an Alabama Maker quietly weaving beauty with passion

Creating shawls and tunics on a loom is a source of peace for Silvia Costantino, and she picked a peaceful place to do it: Mentone, in the Alabama mountains. (Karim Shamsi-Basha/Alabama NewsCenter)

The Maker: Silvia Costantino

Hummingbird at Loom

Her fingers moved along the lines of yarn like a hummingbird, speeding for a few seconds, and then stopping, a few seconds here, a few there. She would gather the yarn, loop it around, then swipe it across the loom, then do it all over again, smiling the entire time.

For Silvia Costantino, making garments the old-fashioned way is nothing but joy.

“Miami was fine for 23 years, but then it got to be too noisy,” she said. “I’m originally from Argentina. I decided to move to a place more quiet where I can work with yarns and weave. Mentone is a peaceful place.”

In the picturesque mountain town, Costantino can work with her hands and hear the yarn scrape on the loom as she makes garments.

The result? Beautiful shawls and tunics she sells at her store, Hummingbird at Loom.

“I learned from my grandmother when I was a child,” Costantino said. “I stopped when I had my children, but when I went back to Argentina to visit my mom, I saw one of my sisters weaving on an old loom, so I bought one and started to play.”

They say necessity is the mother of invention. When Costantino moved to Mentone, she needed a job and began selling her products at the farmers market on Saturdays. Later she opened the shop with her partner, Jeff Rymer, who makes furniture. Now her beautiful weaved pieces are in high demand, because not many places still use the loom. But to her, it’s more than making something.

“I choose to do it the old-fashioned way because it’s peaceful; it’s like therapy,” Costantino said. “I discover myself when I’m working. It’s a joy, a connection with myself. I can’t explain it, working with my hands. I found working with colors and working with my hands makes me very happy. I’m doing something that I like to do for a living.”

Making things by hands reminds Costantino that life is ephemeral, so she takes it day by day. While she’s making the pieces, nothing else is in existence. It’s just her and the loom.

“I like to live day by day, live the here and now. If this is what I’m going to be doing, I will be grateful. I just hope the creativity keeps coming,” Costantino said.

The product: Shawls, tunics, ponchos, vests and throw blankets.

Take Home: A shawl, available in different colors, ranges in price from $25 to $125, depending on size.

Hummingbird at Loom, 6086 Alabama Highway 17, Mentone


Republished with permission of Alabama NewsCenter.