Saturday, May 28, 2011

A Simple Life

threading the last shawl warp in this series - the end is in sight!

Generally we live our lives as though we will live forever.  Intellectually we know that no one gets out of here alive, but emotionally we think that our time is for much longer than we have any right to expect.

We also think that we'll have good health for so long as we do live.

Sooner or later, most of us find out that this is a nice fantasy with no bearing in reality.

When I chose weaving as a career, one of the reasons I did was that I knew in my heart that I had to have work with some component of creativity in it.  It could have been any number of crafts or other endeavour, but weaving found me and sucked me in.

I live a pretty simple life.  Oh, yes, there can be complications - no life is without those!  But pretty much every day I work several hours in the studio or on studio related tasks, read some, spend (too much) time on the internet - and do as little housework as I can possibly get away with doing.   I'll never win the Good Housekeeping Award as anyone who has visited me can attest.  I call it creative chaos and no longer feel terribly guilty about it.

I'm an introvert so I happily spend my hours alone.  In my life I've rarely had more than a handful of friends that I hang with.  Since I travel and spend so much time on the internet, many of the people who are dear to me are not near to me.  Unless I travel to visit with them I rarely have the opportunity to hang with them.  Much to my regret. 

Since I have been handed a ticking clock I have spent some time thinking about how I want to spend the rest of my years.  I'd like to teach more but since my diagnosis is "chronic" (meaning it will recur, on a regular basis, as often as every 2 years) do I dare apply to conferences which generally book 12-18 months in advance and risk having to keep cancelling because I'm doing the chemo cha-cha?

Do I agressively seek bookings with guilds which also book 6-12 months in advance?  Will I even be able to get travel medical insurance?  And if so, at what cost?  It already jumped by 4 times last year - turning 60 no doubt had something to do with that little (ahem!) increase.

I'd love to pass on some of what I know but books don't seem to be the technology of choice these days.  With the rather abysmal failure of CD Weaver, that doesn't seem the way to go either.  And I don't have the resources to do DVD's. 

Ultimately, do present day weavers even want to know what I know?  Or should I go the pattern route and sell instructions for projects?  And would enough people buy those instructions to make it worth my while to spend the time designing, weaving the project and attempting to market them? 

Magazines, whether hard copy or on-line seem to be struggling and while I try to regularly submit articles to Handwoven, that market is limited - 5 issues a year and narrow constraints on what they are interested in for content.

A few years ago I had individual students who came for 3-5 days each.  That seemed to go well, but I live in a geographically isolated area - it's not exactly a tourist destination - unless you like hunting, fishing, hiking. 

In mulling things over I do have a couple of topics that could be turned into publications.  I started on one but work on that came to a halt with everything that's been happening.  Time to start work on that again?  There is a possibility of doing an on-line publication that people can buy and download, which would be the most economical format in terms of publishing.  But have weavers accepted this format yet or are they still wanting to buy a 'real' book?

Without a strong marketing arm, could I even sell enough of these on-line 'books' to make it worth my time writing/producing?

Given my over production of inventory the past few years there is little need for me to continue to produce in the quantity that I am capable of and have been doing.  (58 shawls in the last 45 or so days)  I could instead turn my weaving time into prototyping textiles for others - either stand alone projects or for publications.

I could also weave for others - be a ghost weaver - but there isn't much call for that, either.....

Lots of questions - no answers - yet.

Just finished reading Dead Man's Tale by James D. Doss and started The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny


Sharon said...

I have been influenced by you and followed your writings over my weaving years, though I mostly lurk on your blog. I do thank you for the transparency of your posts through this part of your journey.

Phyllis said...

Laura, have followed you sporadically over the years and wish you the very best in your fight. You are such an impressive weaver/ woman. Sending you good energy and thoughts...

Augusta said...

Laura, one possibility that you did not mention is teaching over the internet. The "cyber-fiber" programme on Weavolution sets up classes where no one has to travel. The contact e-mail is It may not be suitable for you, but it is another option.

Claudia Rizzi said...

Laura, just live a day at a time - the solutions will come to you when the time is right. And I think Augusta´s idea is good - in fact, I would gladly be part of your online class...please let me know if you decide to go for it.

Are all "Magic in the Water" sold?
If not, can I have one? do you accept PayPal? :)



Laura said...

Sometimes the important part is in the asking of the questions - and sometimes you even get answers! Thanks for the suggestions both here and directly.

Claudia, did you get my email? Yes I have copies (20) and yes I can do Paypal.


Anonymous said...

Laura, your questions are indeed important and yes I agree with Claudia R the answers will come when the time is ripe. Listen to your inner heart and go with the flow as they say. What is important today you may find is not as important to you in the future. No matter what you decide you have helped me personally to grow as a weaver and I am very sure our fellow weavers feel the same way. Stand tall and be proud of your accomplishments, we are very proud of you! Sending lots of healing thoughts your way.


amyfibre said...

I'd like to add my thanks for all the richness you have brought (and continue to bring) to my weaving life. And for your honesty on your blog.

I hope you do explore the possibility of teaching on line. I would definitely be interested. But still hope someday to be able to study weaving efficiency with you in person.


Michelle said...

Hi Laura,

You list a lot of options, but I would imagine you need something not too exhausting?

You ask: could I even sell enough of these on-line 'books' to make it worth my time writing/producing?

Kim Komando (my computer goddess of choice) reported this morning (June 4, 2011 show) that on-line books do well if priced well. She mentioned one author who pulled in ~ $25,000 (mas o menos) for a single title, possibly in one month. You may want to check a rerun/transcript of her show for additional information on e-publishing.

Also, consider continuing with your book. I've been looking forward to it.

How about a offering a course on Weavolution? (Whoops, I see that has been mentioned in the comments, so third or fourth that.) Anyway, these seem to be gaining popularity. I know I would take more Weavolution workshops if the prices were moderate, say $25/hour. Probably you'd have to invest some money--It would probably require a video camera and some specialized software.

If contract weaving in your area pays like it does here, it would be starvation wages, so that is the only idea you may want to re-think.

Regards, Michelle in NM