I have been spending more time at my loom and thus more time quietly thinking.
The first set of towels of high enough quality to sell are cut off the loom. This week I have the next set of baby blankets warped and ready to weave. I know what the next project going on the loom is going to be and have the yarn to do it. I am prepared to do the tweeking I need to do with my harnesses in order to solve a few issues I had with this last project. I know the process items I want to address next and what my goals are for the next few months. This is a great place to start from.
Part of my quiet thinking, has been the recognition that I would not be in this place of beginning, had it not been for the encouragement of my friends. I am now able to create quality towels because my friends and family have been the recipents of my R&D versions. Nearly everything I have made, successfully or not, has been somehow linked to a loved one. My friends have encouraged me in the possiblilities of pursuing weaving and the path to excellence. My friends have been patient while I have dawdled in the uncertainty and risk aversion. The projects I am currently completing are the fruit of the belief and investment of my friends.
I enjoy reading about how different makers get their start. How they find their voice. What their struggles have been. I love seeing the work that comes out of it, in the end. This week I was reading articles about Dee Clements of Herron Studio. In onne particular interview, http://www.designsponge.com/2015/08/life-business-dee-clements-of-herron.html, Dee speaks about a 10 year process of finding her path as an artist, digging in, and yes, even creating some “really, really ugly work”. I appreciate this process… I think the one’s who find their voice in the end are those that don’t give up there. Those who say, this isn’t quite it, but I’m one step closer.
Finish and Hem Towels
Order brand labels
Solve some loom issues
Prepare next warp
Focus on as close to perfect towels and baby blankes as I can.
Perfect warping technique… get faster
Continue to research, learn and develope the concept of handwoven clothing.
Whether putting together a Kickstarter project would be the right path for continued development.
Fall towels are on the loom and ready to go:
17×35 kitchen towels
Cottonlin (60% cotton and 40% linen)
It all began, 16 years ago, during a presentation of photos from my friend’s trip to Norway. The pictures of belongings from generations past, before a time when we had more than we needed and could get mass produced item, we needed or not, at our local Walmart or Target. The belongings that people had were beautifully and lovingly created, with skill and care. The wrought iron wood stove had an intricately decorated door. The cradle was made with care and beautifully carved. The linens and blankets were colorful and warm as fitted the climate and the people they belonged to.
I am not suggesting we go back to an imagined idylic past. The conveniences of today, living beyond subsistence, is not a negative thing. That day did impress on me an idea however; what if I chose fewer and beautiful belongings over multiple belongings. The carved wooden bowl made by human hands over 3 plastic versions. The mug or cup made by a local potter (one per family member if need be) over a cabinet full of this and that. The concept is not unlike the idea of an item sparking joy as detailed in the book: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Janese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. What if you picked up each item in your home and asked yourself “does this spark joy?” The things that spark the most joy for me tend to be the timeless things that are made by people and made to last. These ideas form the basis for the objects I want to create and the business I want to build.
Yesterday, I delivered a finished product to a client. I am pleased enough with how it turned out. Of course, there are also things I wish were better and can improve upon in the future. All in all, as my first baby blanket project, I am quite pleased. It has a nice weight and texture and is very soft. What’s next? I am weighing a few options, figuring out the queue.
100% cotton Baby Blanket
I often find inspiration everywhere. I love hearing of other people’s art, creative projects, skills, passions. Whenever possible we try to support local artists/craftsmen/business owners…to take part in their story. Over the past few weeks I stumbled upon a wonderful article, about a thoroughly fascinating woman named Adele Stafford. She happens to be a weaver, as many fascinating women are, so I wanted to learn more about her projects and story. That trail led me here….
Which led me here…
and then to this…
This is a great book for many reasons. The first of which is the clarification or reminder that the only thing that has really been holding me back from moving forward are my own fears. I think mainly the fear of failure. Of spending family resources (see time, energy, money) on my dream that may or may not pan out. The “what if’s” of life have become a huge dragon of resistance for me (Thank you, Steven Pressfield).
So, here is to slaying that dragon, and living as myself… instead of just dreaming it.
Here are a few projects from 2014. The first is of the herringbone towels that were my first “get to know you” project on my loom. The second is a indigo dyed wool/silk scarf/shawl for my daughter.
Happy New Year!
I have spoken before of family goals and directions. Mostly we are a household of dreamers. We find lately, merely dreaming is rather unsatisfactory; we long to do.
We are drawn to old things; old skills. When my husband writes, he does so with pen and paper…long hand. Filling smooth pages of black books. When I am most inspired it is most often by useful objects made by human hands using skills we have used for generations.
I am drawn to the loom for the skill I will need to make things in ways they have been made for centuries. Not for a nostalgia of wanting to go back, but because being makers, and making the things humans need to live, is important to who we are.
As a family, we are advancing our skills to grow things. Grow food. Our food, in the old ways, when a farm had to produce everything a family needed or at least the extra to trade for what they couldn’t buy or make themselves. We are drawn to these skills. This work.