The beginning of a new year always brings out our best intentions. We want to move forward on our goals and dreams. January 1st gives us the much-needed incentive; the fresh start. The declarations that this year is going to be different. As I begin pulling together ideas and projects, even writing this post; I think, “Ah, this is familiar, my annual post about how much I am going to move my cause forward this year.” I don’t say this to be particularly hard on myself. It is, however, an obvious observation. Patrick McGowan, writes about something similar at www.commitordie.com, or rather how to think differently about how we commit to our goals. This week, however, I have stepped forward. I have finished winding a warp for towels I am weaving for myself. Herringbone twill, my absolute favorite. I have not only this project, but the next 3 planned and ready to go into motion. Ready to be the next thing to go onto the warping board. The looms have been moved away from the walls to take center stage in their half of the family room. In many ways, they now declare themselves in ways that lack the familiar guilt. This time they declare themselves accessible and available. These seem like such simple, first steps. That is true, they are. However, any movement forward, even if it is just provides a different perspective, is invaluable to taking the next step after it. B
My youngest child is a 10-year-old son. He has the heart of an artist and for people. A year and a half ago, if you asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up, he would answer he wanted to be a home daddy, artist and engineer. That was before he discovered dance. If you ask him today, there is but one answer. I am a ballet dancer. The daddy and artist part is just part of that package. Here is an interesting conversation we had in the car after school this week.
E: “I think kids are more creative than adults.”
Me: “I think you are right, I think adults forget how to let themselves be creative.”
E: “Yeah, I wonder why. I bet it is because of school.”
E: ” School and stress.”
What do you think?
Fall is my favorite season. The combination of the crisp blue skies with the turning leaves and the still green grass is spectacular. We add to that the return to the routines and rituals that get us through our new school years and long winters. The chill in the air is invigorating but not oppressive as the winter cold can sometimes be.
For me, October, also brings my birthday. At this point, I view getting older as a good thing. With each year comes the opportunity to learn more, become wiser, have more self control, self knowledge. I am entering my 4th decade. I look forward to 4 more, at least. It’s a good and hopeful place to be.
With my birthday comes my annual “state of the self” assessment. Some years, this is a more pleasant experience than others. My life has many blessings. This year my eldest daughter graduates from high school. We send her out to live her own dreams. Right now that means we spend a good deal of time with college applications and preparing to travel to auditions this winter. There is a lot to do, timelines to follow, and faith to put into practice. My other children are growing and learning and pursuing their own unique paths as well. This time is well spent; this time of supporting, encouraging, dreaming and empowering. The time with, my husband, Patrick. A healthy marriage of soon to be 18 years. Time well spent; time supporting, encouraging, dreaming, empowering and strengthening. Time we look forward to continuing for another 4 decades,as least. This is all good work. The best if you can get it. I have a good job and co-workers I enjoy.
I find myself mourning the fact that I have trouble finding time to weave right now. The thing that is most myself, as an individual woman, apart from the family we have created; is just beyond my reach. I find myself passionate about people being able to create and build; to master craftsman skills. I will support and champion anyone who wants to make a living at their craft. To me these things are a most beautiful privilege. I do not make the same sacrifices for myself. I do not champion to become a master of my own craft.
Patience. Patience… the time will come. The time spent in these other very important things is a beautiful privilege. Patience… patience… the time will come. Fight for it, I will have to do. I will have to become the champion, slaying the dragon of resistance. Patience… Patience… the time will come, and I have lots of time.
If I’m lucky though, next week will be productive. I will keep you posted.
Enjoy the colorful spectacle in the mean time,
I am a Grower — Restorer — Producer — Weaver — Artist — Encourager
We have a lot to be excited about for this coming year. Our family’s dreams and ideas are starting to come together in a cohesive vision that will, I think, give us the focus we have lacked in the past. All the wandering of the previous years have been essential to get us to this particular point today. Almost as if by trying on different things helps pull you back to your original self; a self hopefully mature enough to take action and live the life you are mean to live.
We have broken up these long term plans and goals into projects for this year. The projects range through all areas of our family life and the ways the different goals of individual members of our family interweave with the collective goals. On the top of our list is to go through and recreate our spaces in our home. One of the first of these is to create a weaving studio. There have been many amazing and exciting additions to my studio. I look forward to sharing them with you as things get put together. Another part will be to carve out time on a weekly basis to make some progress on weaving. It seems a long time that my attention has been pulled elsewhere. I am beginning to be okay with that; to take more solace in the seasonal nature of the year. There are months, even strings of them, that do not offer much time for sitting peacefully at the loom…at least for now. Who knows what the future holds.
I wish for you excitement for your future and clarity of vision.
Recent articles have me thinking more about the Slow Clothes (Fashion) movement. Driven by many of the same principles as the Slow Food movement, the Slow Clothes movement focuses on clothing produced in a sustainable and thoughtful way. Enabling conscientious buyers to know and control where their clothing comes from and the working conditions of the people producing it. Both models come from the feeling that we must take environmental, health and social issues into account when making purchases for even (and especially) our basic needs. Slow Clothes is therefore an answer to the current buy it cheap and throw it away mentality of our current system.
The August/September 2013 issue of American Craft Magazine, among other goodies, had a thought provoking article called Think Globally, Dress Locally, an interview with Rebecca Burgess by Danielle Maestretti. I hope you read it.
In the interview Rebecca Burgess, well known for her book Harvesting Color; talks about the Fibershed movement. You can find more about the movement at www.rebeccaburgess.com. The essence of a Fibershed is that fiber producers, processors and crafts people work together to produce clothing for their region. Again it works in a similar way to only eating locally grown foods.
One of the issues discussed in the interview was the lack of qualified crafts people, even if you can get the materials in your region, can you find skilled people to make your clothing? If so, can you afford it? www.fibershed.com gives a list of producers, designers and makers (a shocking lack of weavers) for the Northern California Fibershed as well as resources for others to start Fibersheds in their regions.
All of this presents me with an epic list of questions to explore; I would greatly appreciate any feedback or opinions you have.
Is this a mission I can get behind? (well, obviously)
I would need to learn the ins and outs of weaving for clothing production. Could I completely revamp my processes and tools to meet the needs of weaving yardage for others? Could I weave cloth fine enough for a summer shirts?
Could I collaborate with a seamstress or tailor to make the clothing out of the yardage I provide?
Would I enjoy weaving yardage?
Could/would my services and products be affordable? Could I afford them myself; even with the “I know the weaver” discount?
Since my region is rather limited in fiber production; what would my criteria be? Would it be reasonable to define my region as grown in the US on small sustainable farms?
Most of the handwoven clothing available on the market now are high end art pieces. Is their a market for the artisan model with an everyday approach to clothing design?
Another passion is to help support the efforts of organic cotton farmers in India and Africa, keeping them away from the debt of the fertilizer and chemical sellers. While this is not regional, for me, the spirit of it is the same. Would I be walking away from the potential to be a purposeful consumer of their products? Can the amount I purchase actually make a difference to these farmers in the first place?
These are all questions I plan to explore over the next few months. Again, I value your feedback.
These are pictures of natural dyed silk, using the plants in the dyer’s garden in front of the Denver Art Museum. This is part of the Spun textiles exhibit.
Here are pics from my initial Indigo Dye day for Spring of 2013. I am not entirely satisfied with the saturation of color that was achieved. I plan to work on my dye pot more this week and do additional dips of my yarn and fabric.
This summer is also represents an opportunity to become obsessive about producing and doing the work. I hope you all see the results here.