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!
Grand Central Station, NYC – I found myself struck by the beauty of this space, and the windows… Someone should weave these windows.
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
These are beautiful Cotton/Linen towels. I love the structure and pattern.
Compass rose (Photo credit: mag3737)
I have realized that despite my desire to be a professional weaver, I treat my weaving as a hobby. Instead of committing to the work it takes to become a professional, I find I let weaving be the easiest thing to be pushed aside.
My daughter is training to be a professional concert pianist. She has set up her life to practice 4 hrs a day (optimally). Add to that the hours listening to others play and familiarizing herself with pieces, and you can see a good level of time invested in purposeful practice. My husband is a writer; he must write every day in order to improve his craft. (see his blog at www.commitordie.com) I must also, commit to the ritual and routine of sitting down and producing at my loom on a daily basis.
Step 1. Is to set up an, almost no variance, routine for my days. I will be starting small with the things I have to do everyday no matter what. By 8:00am, I have dropped my youngest children off at school. I am home, have refreshed my coffee and am ready to sit down at my loom until 11am. This is an appointment like any other. I am not available for those 3 hrs to run errands or go to appointments. At 11:00 I will go for a walk (30 degrees F or above)After lunch comes an hour of concentrated household tasks; with the same commitment I give my weaving. From 1:30 to 2:30, I will run errands etc. if I have them, or I will weave a little more before doing the after school pickup and motherly activities.
I believe if I commit to these things daily, I will begin to see the results of my actions in all areas of my life. How do you commit to doing your work?
Each time I have dressed my loom over the past two years or so, I have been tweaking my warping method to find what works best and easiest for me. I recently began working with the “Warping on a Shoestring” method of dressing my loom. I am amazed at how much yarn this saves. I do not have anywhere near the loom waste. I have taken the premise, added some ideas from others and am happy to say the new warp (ready to be threaded) was the nicest, best organized and smoothest warp ever. Hip…hip…
Sapling (Photo credit: Curtis Gregory Perry)
Today I feel humble.
I believe it is healthy to have a realistic picture of where you stand in the grand scheme of the things. When one is striving for greatness it is both an inspiring and humbling thing to know where you are beginning, and where your goal is. I want to be a great weaver, but am currently working on passable.
It is a difficult thing to put your work out there. It is even more difficult wondering if in 10 years you will be proud of that work. Yet, is the answer to not share intermediate work with the public? In some cultures, one would not dare present work without having reached mastery and “perfection”. I spend my time wondering how to promote my work as it is today, knowing it will improve with time, but without the level of mastery I desire. Which is better? I think this is an important question. There is a need to define what level of “perfection” I can be satisfied with at this time.
Mostly, I am aware I need a lot more work and to become a true student.
I am putting on a new warp today. It feels good to have the fresh start of a new project.
Just something I like from my notebook. It will one day make it’s way to cloth.
I have a few goals for my weaving this year. Three of them are split into projects. The other two are habits I must work on.
1. Project Labels: In order to sell my textiles to the general public, legally, I need to have them labeled with my brand information as well as specific product info such as fiber content, country of origin etc. For items that are designed to take a lot of use and washing, I plan to have woven labels made anticipating they will be able to handle the use. Woven labels are a rather major (up front) cost of doing business so I am making the purchase a major goal for the next 6 months. If any of you have experience working with different sources for labels, I would love your input.
2. Product Development: I continue to make strides in perfecting my towel offerings, but have many more ideas for a broader range of products. I am planning for this year to bring more and better patterns, colors, designs and products to share with all of you.
3. Education: I need to seek more weaving education. Perhaps an apprenticeship or a few workshops.
Habit 1: Keep Records
Habit 2: Through practice and repetition: work faster.