Saturday, December 14, 2019

Fast or Slow

Efficiency and ergonomics are integral to any 'slow' craft, like textiles.  When I discovered weaving, I was not expecting it to be so physical.  I was not expecting to enjoy the physicality of it as much as I have done.  Once I fine tuned my processes and developed good working methods, the end result of that was...speed.  Or as I prefer to say - efficiency.

Speed has a lot of negative connotations to some people.  Some people don't want to weave 'fast'.  They enjoy the slow measured pace of being deep into their zone of contemplation as they create their textiles.

Other people like to develop a rhythm that allows them to produce something in a shorter time frame.

Which is correct?  Both.

In the 21st century there are very few people who are actually relying on the income from the production of textiles for their entire income.  At least not in North America.    There are some, but usually, like me, the effort to keep a roof over one's head, food on the table, comes from a number of different sources.

The books, for example.  I have received a steady (albeit small) income from the sale of Magic in the Water and now The Intentional Weaver.  But that tiny income hardly keeps the lights on.

Magazine articles?  Barely covers the printer ink.

So during my career, I did a number of things - writing, teaching, weaving for designers, selling wholesale, selling retail.  Imported yarn, dyed it and sold it for others to weave with.  Everything and anything that I could do to keep an income, coming in.

To that end, being able to produce textiles efficiently was imperative.  But working that way isn't for everyone and I don't insist that anyone should do anything the way I do it.  All I'm saying is that if someone isn't happy with their results - they loathe dressing the loom because it always results in tangles and tears, they get bored throwing the shuttle or making something twice, or whatever is not giving them joy - that they might like to look at what they are doing to see if some other way might be better for them.

Some people are content to weave plain weave and play with texture/colour.  Some adore the complexity of multi-shaft looms and all the different ways thread can interlace to create a cloth.  Some like to slide back and forth along that spectrum, finding inspiration from many different sources.

Long time readers of this blog will know where I stand on these approaches - they are all valid. 

I keep coming back to Marie Kondo and her advice - if something does not bring you joy, get rid of it.  The past six months I have worked at deciding what I need to get rid of so that I can dwell in joy instead of stress and anxiety.

My new loom means I must slow down my weaving rhythm (yes I can weave 'faster' on the Leclerc Fanny than I can on the Megado, due to the the differences in the equipment) and once again I am trading speed for longevity.  I had to do that when the air assist was installed on the AVL, and now I am doing it for the Megado.

And it's fine.  I'm no longer producing textiles as quickly as I could before but neither do I need to.  My goal now is to weave for as long as I am able, not to do it as quickly as I can.

We are free to choose how we approach our weaving.  We are free to work as quickly or slowly as we find enjoyable.

And if someone really wants to know how I managed to weave as much as I have done, they might like to know more about my processes. 

Weave with intention, at whatever pace you find that feeds your soul.

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