The beginning of staging for the conference
All of my life I have worn too many hats. This year has been no different except that I took on way too many hats given my current state of health. But five years ago I was in pretty good health (I thought). I was in remission from cancer and cardiac seemed to be well in hand.
So to tackle co-chairing another 'major' conference seemed like it would be easy-peasy.
Life has a way of tossing curve balls and I got hit with both barrels (apologies for the mixed metaphor). By-pass surgery in 2015, the return of the cancer last year.
My energy levels are much lower than I'm used to having so I'm struggling to get everything done that I want to do let alone what needs to be done.
In addition to general conference organization there is the vendor booth and teaching of four seminars.
Fortunately Doug is a very real support and participant in doing shows so he is doing most of the lifting in terms of the vendor booth. And I mean that literally. There are boxes of books, set out on the living room floor - the beginning of the collection (or staging) for the booth.
Ignore the bin - it's the contents of my desk I cleared off and have not, lo these many months later, had the inclination to sort through and toss or keep (if keep, where?????)
So I don and remove hats frequently throughout the day. This morning I'm getting the comp copies ready to give to those people who substantially helped with The Intentional Weaver. Since several of them will be at the conference I decided to a) save the postage and b) hand them over personally. Maybe I'll get a hug. :)
And no, I'm not doing the conference all by myself. This weekend I forwarded some files to a friend who is a great administrator and loves spreadsheets and organizing data. She will take care of the exhibit paperwork, labels and awards, act as 'secretary' when Mary and I do the jurying.
A member of the committee will print out the numbers for the models to carry in the fashion show as well as her duties of treasurer, and a guild member has been very helpful with getting the fashion show booklet printed.
Other committee members have been spending many hours on their areas of responsibility.
My biggest issue is that I no longer have the energy I used to have.
Of course I'm also still trying to weave for the craft fair season, do the marking for the Olds classes - there are two who are VERY late and will simply have to wait until after the conference is over. They will be marked before Fibre Week so they have gone ahead and registered for their next level. I have every confidence they will both pass.
Then there is getting ready to teach level one again at Olds in July (and possibly Yadkin Art Centre in NC August, if they get enough students for level one and two to go ahead.) And I can't find my sample book so I can place my order for the yarn needed for the students. :( It isn't in the file drawer where it is supposed to live so I can only assume it's buried somewhere in the studio. (weaving gods help me!)
The past month has made it abundantly clear that Things Need to Change. I turn 69 this year. I know people who retired at 55 to do the things they wanted to do. When you have had the job you wanted and you love it and want to keep doing it, it doesn't make much sense to 'retire'. On the other hand, when it becomes increasingly difficult to do everything you want to do, it is time to make some changes in what it is you actually want to do so that you can do them!
So some decisions have been made since the new year. It seems like monthly I make a few more. I keep chipping away at the things I do not have the time and energy for and try to hang on to the things that I feel I need to keep doing.
I need to preserve whatever energy I have for the things that mean the most to me.
I find myself going back to the original 'plan' I had when I first began weaving. Production weave for 25 years, then teach. Well, as it happens I did both at once. Time to let go of the production weaving and focus on the teaching and learning.
Also time to face the fact that I am 69, in not great health. Time to think about what happens in 10 or 15(?) years, especially in the face of so many people I know dying, at relatively 'young' ages. Time to think about needing to have assisted care. My gigantic AVL will never be appropriate in assisted care, but another loom might. So I have decided to purchase a Megado with electronic interface because if I'm going to dig more deeply into the formation of cloth I will want more than four shafts and an electronic dobby will help with complex treadlings.
The AVL has served me well. But it is showing signs that it also needs to be retired. I will continue to limp along with it for a few more warps but expect it to be sold off for parts when the time comes. It's too big and too worn for me to even think about selling it and it will have to go away for the new loom when it arrives, sometime in the new year.
The industrial steam press and the industrial pirn winder will go to the scrap yard. The metal in them might pay for the truck-with-crane that will be needed to move the press out of the annex and onto the truck bed.
The annex will be given up, in no small measure because the rent has been increased - again, which means I need to squeeze everything there back into here.
I plan on doing the Art Market craft fair one last time and make that my last big out of town show. I will continue doing the two shows here I've done for the past - in one case 4 decades - while I still have sufficient inventory to make them worthwhile doing.
Mentoring will become more and more important to me and I hope to continue teaching the Olds program in some fashion. It gives me great joy and satisfaction to see the light come on in student eyes and see them go on to keep the craft alive and fresh with good solid information being passed on.
I am going to try to remember that my goal is to hang some hats up and leave them there, rather than wear them.
Wish me luck!!!