Thursday, February 18, 2016


There is a certain amount of hubris associated with creative work.  You have to have enough ego, confidence, what have you, to think other people will actually pay you for your endeavours.

How much of what I make/write is 'valuable' enough that someone else will pay for it?  How confident can I be that all the time and effort I put into making something, writing something, offering up my efforts, will result in some sort of income?

What on earth made me think, 40 years ago, that I could achieve even a tiny bit of 'success'  (however success may be defined)?

At that time I did not weave.  I had not even touched a floor loom (other than to admire them in the weaving studio).  I had some small experience with knitting and a bit of spinning and a few small items woven on inkle or other small looms.

And yet...and yet...I quit my job and started weaving.

I wrote Magic in the Water because I saw - and people told me - that there was a desperate need for a book about wet finishing.

But what about the current effort at word smithing?  With so many books and magazines already addressing the many and varied aspects of weaving, what on earth has given me the idea that what I may have to say about it will result in people being interested in buying it?

And so the argument in my head goes between me and my Inner Critic.

I have received initial feedback from my alpha reader and she has given me very good food for thought.  But I can also see that anything short of two years to completion is the stuff of fairy tales.

Writing a book is not the same as writing a blog post, or a magazine article.  It is a much bigger, much more complicated task.  And no one person is ever going to create 'the only book you'll ever need'.

Each person brings their unique experience and vantage point to writing, be that a magazine article, blog post or book.  Each person has their own vocabulary, their own creative intuitiveness about how threads interlace and interact.  Each person reading the text has their own way of learning.

So it is a good idea to read a lot of books, read a lot of articles, read a lot of blogs.  Explore how other people think, especially about threads, colour, texture.  No one book will provide all of the information required for a serious exploration of textiles/weaving.

Over the years I have accumulated a wall of books.  Over time I have sold some of them as no longer being useful to me (not to mention I needed the space!)   I have kept my favourite 'go-to' books.  Some I refer to frequently, some rarely.  The ones that only get referred to on rare occasions are not less, they just have a different focus, a different slant, but I know that and I keep them because they encourage me to think about cloth differently.

I won't list all my books - there are far too many.  But I will mention Robyn Spady's new publication

I know Robyn from my time as a member of the Seattle Weaver's Guild.  I have seen countless glowing reviews of her workshops and publications with Interweave.  I have not seen her new magazine, but I feel confident that anyone wanting to understand more about weave structure and other aspects of weaving will find Heddlecraft interesting.

In the meantime, I am mulling over the feedback, thinking about what I want to say and how best to say it.  One thing I've learned over the decades is that my ego is alive and well and I have enough hubris to keep putting words together.  Why I thought I could do this book faster than Magic, I'm not sure - but I also have enough hubris to keep working on it.

In the end, I'm doing this as much for myself as I am for anyone else.  Just like when I started weaving.  I had to.  Something in me locked onto the concept and would not let go.  I just have to tame the Inner Critic - but that's what hubris is for, isn't it?


Rhonda from Baddeck said...

Magic was only about one topic; my impression of this opus is that it's comprehensive. And I'm looking forward to it! So many of your tips have proved helpful to me - having them all in one place will be a real boon.

Lady Locust said...

Hello there,
I only found your blog a couple months ago & have been thrilled. I have a floor loom and after 2 years in the shop/garage, I now have it in the house & can hardly wait to learn how to use it. You were brave indeed to quit your job to weave. What I have seen here so far is inspiring and helps me get through the 'what if I mess it up' stage. I suppose it's comforting to know that everyone has to start at point A and that there are experienced people like yourself willing to share their knowledge. Thank you for being here.

steelwool said...

Thanks for the info on Heddlecraft. Had not heard of it before and it looks good. Buying an issue to try is nice too. Took me awhile to figure out the difference between online edition and pdf edition.
Having bought a book earlier that was delivered on a thumb drive that was about spindle spinning and that one included an interactive version that would hook you up to the internet if you needed further information on a subject. There are many new ways to get information to readers .
You help us with the blog too. Tips which seem small to you have a greater impact to some of us beginning weavers...rather an ahha! moment when something just slips into place. We don't always comment but we are grateful for the assists.