One small corner in the studio. Squirrel cage swift for coning off skeins. Leclerc Fanny loom in background with 2/3s of a warp to be re-sleyed and woven off. Soon. As in as soon as my teaching schedule allows. Foreground - a heap of various projects - place mat warps for craft fair season (four more bins of table runners hiding in another corner), book projects, info for warp on Fanny, student homework peeking in from the left hand side.
The entire studio is this kind of mess.
Behind me is the work table with a dozen skeins to be coned off for Olds. Behind it are the bins and boxes of class materials for the Olds level one class. (Cape Breton is all upstairs now, on the living room floor. Because I leave on Friday.)
The AVL has not been touched in literally weeks. Months. Doug got a warp beamed and I just haven't had the time to thread it. I'm hoping it won't sulk too much after being ignored for so long.
From now until, well, about 15 months from now, I am going to be in a mad scramble. As usual.
Recently I saw an old Facebook post - a cartoon me in front of a door waiting for opportunity to knock. My problem is not that I wait for it to knock, I can't say no when it does.
So year after year, I have - in an attempt to earn enough to keep the wolf at the door at bay - accepted pretty much any and every offer that ever came my way.
I have woven and sold my textiles at every show I thought might be suitable - at least once, to see if it really was suitable. I've sold my work on consignment, with all the administrivia that entails. I've written articles on spec and hoped the effort I put into them would be acceptable. In the early days I did them for free, just to get my name 'out there'.
I've ghost woven for other weavers. I've woven miles (literally) of black fabric for a fashion designer, developed her ideas into something that would work in woven cloth (she was a colourist, not a weaver as such). I've developed workshops, acted as my own 'agent' booking teaching tours - again with all the administrivia that entails in terms of booking flights, financing them, arranging with locals for on ground transportation, appropriate equipment, sending out the class handouts and yarns for the warps. Packing it all up and schlepping the boxes to the post office.
Having gained sufficient confidence in technical writing and seeing a crying need for information on wet finishing for hand weavers, I wrote, self published, financed an incredibly expensive publication, marketed it - and again with schlepping the boxes (literally hundreds of them) to the post office. My dining room turned into a shipping office.
Recently an idea I pitched to a magazine was turned down. Now, my usual reaction would have been to immediately turn around and offer a different project. Instead I took a deep breath, thanked her for her consideration, and perhaps another time.
And walked away thinking that I had just dodged a bullet with a deadline of mid-August to submit the woven item and write up.
I realized that I really do not have to scramble any more. I'm turning 68 in a little over a month. Many people I know of my age - and younger! - are already retired, enjoying their leisure time, not scrambling to earn a buck or two.
I am getting the state pensions I qualify for - I have a level of financial security I have never had for my entire adult life - or at least since choosing weaving for a career.
So I am looking hard at my calendar. Blocking out the time necessary to do what I have committed to for the coming 15 months and looking beyond that to a time where I can choose to toss out some hats. Read the heap of books on the hearth. Make some jigsaw puzzles. Spin. Make lace.
I think this is what 'they' mean by 'retirement'. Because I won't stop weaving. But I can stop the mad scramble.
Stop the world, I want to get off...