It started with a conversation at the dedication of the newly expanded campus of Arts Place in Jay County.

My wife Connie and staff visual artist Kimberly Anderson were talking about the abundant space for art education in the new Hudson Center for the Visual Arts.

“Do you need a loom?” Connie asked.

And we were off.

Technically, we didn’t have a loom.

But my wife’s family did.

Connie’s mother was an art teacher. No, check that. She was a great art teacher. Though many of her years as an educator were spent teaching middle school students — the “clay throwing years” she called them — she was personally adept in a wide variety of media. She painted, both in watercolors and oils. She worked in ceramics and made jewelry, constantly stretching her boundaries.

And she was a weaver.

That’s where the loom comes in.

Sometime after my wife had left for college, her mother acquired a four-harness floor loom. This wasn’t something between that sits on a tabletop. It was literally a piece of furniture.

But for about the last 25 years, it’s been disassembled and stored in a closet.

So, my wife asked, “Do you need a loom?”

Sure, said Kimberly.

Trouble is, that closet holding the loom was in Connie’s hometown in western Illinois. And it was in a house with a whole lot of other stuff.

Stuff left behind by my wife’s parents and even more stuff acquired by her eldest brother, who is now in an assisted living facility.

Brother Charley, though he wasn’t a weaver and never bought a loom, was an electronics buff. Some might say he was an electronics addict. He loves sound systems: Speakers, amplifiers, turntables, tape decks and things I’ve never heard of.

At the assisted living facility, he’s successfully down-sized. But the family house still is home to an abundance of electronic equipment.

Our primary chore a few weeks back was to drive to western Illinois, load up the loom and bring it back to Jay County for a new life at Arts Place.

My part of the mission — aside from driving through the boring flatlands of Illinois, loading the multiple loom parts into the car and driving back — was to try to help get a handle on all the stereo equipment around the house.

Another of Connie’s brothers had made a serious dent in the job, but the challenge was overwhelming. It was also complicated by the fact that brother Charley had — like many electronics enthusiasts — been inclined to make his own alterations. There was no way of knowing what pieces were in original condition and which ones had been customized.

The goal was to make them marketable so the house could be emptied and Charley could get on with his life.

The loom was a key part of that. The parts — which Kimberly is confident she can put back together — were loaded into the car relatively easily, along with some other items.

Meanwhile, the next day, I was tracking down stereo components and taking photos of them to help get them sold.

Some were easy. Some were missing. Some were buried in the basement.

In all, I tallied eight turntables — Charley loves his vinyl — with three on the first floor and five in boxes in the basement.

By the time we pulled out of the driveway, the loom looked like the simplest part of the chore. We might not know what all the parts are, but we’re pretty confident that all the parts are accounted for.

Now it’s just a matter of Kimberly putting it back together again.

When she gets that done, I’ll see if she can get some of those turntables back into action.