When I began telling people that I was going to 'retire' and close down my business, the question would be asked - what would I do?
The short answer was - I don't know.
I knew I would keep weaving, just not production weaving. I knew I would write - for this blog, if nothing else. I knew I would teach - the Olds program for so long as they wanted me and I was able.
Beyond that? No idea.
Having been in the business of being creative for 44 years, the one thing I knew for certain was that when the time was right, the idea(s) would come.
The past six months have been a steady slog of downsizing, getting rid of production equipment I no longer needed or was useful, getting rid of yarn I would not use, re-arranging the studio to hold the new, smaller, loom, erasing the goat trails of clutter and working out the last of my contracted obligations.
Now that 80% of that is accomplished (still some AVL loom bits but Doug is dealing with those so I'm not sure what the status is on them), my shows are all done, shelves have been crammed into every nook and corner and lined every inch of wall space, boxes are being emptied and I can see what there is, it would appear that I was ripe for a confluence of things to happen and a way to show itself in terms of a creative idea.
The seed was planted last week. When I picked up the silk from Ingrid Boesel, I wanted to make Bob a scarf from her silk as a thank you. So I have had that idea quietly dormant in the back of my mind since July. Then a bulk email from Handwoven with their upcoming themes dropped into my inbox.
At first I ignored it. The deadline for the one theme that caught my eye was fairly tight, I have company coming in January, there are special orders I am working on, workshops to prepare for and a tea towel warp on the Megado. So I closed the email and let it go.
Well, not entirely apparently because suddenly a tiny seedling appeared. It was based on a weave structure I'd played around with in the 80s but it was slow and I'd let it go because I had to produce.
I no longer need to weave with a product to sell foremost in my mind. It doesn't matter if the weave structure takes two shuttles, or is in some other way time consuming. I can weave purely for my own intellectual stimulation and enjoyment.
Hmm. Intriguing. Remembering my desire to weave a scarf for Bob, I dug through Ingrid's yarn and found some that could double as a scarf for Bob, and a suitable project for Handwoven.
Over the past few days I have thought about the colours I have available, changed my mind several times, ruminated over what I would do, remember how the weave structure actually worked, crunched the numbers, changed the colours I would use - again - so I could make a longer warp, make two scarves and still do a sample at the beginning of the warp to make sure I was remembering correctly.
Then as I started winding a skein of the silk onto a cone, I had a sudden flash that let me know how I could manipulate the weave structure to make it more 'interesting'. Still just using four shafts, so still appropriate for Handwoven.
Today while weaving a tea towel on the Megado, I thought about the project, decided that ideally I should do it on the Megado so that it didn't matter how many treadles my idea would take, it would still be 'easy' to weave. And then I thought about the scarf for Bob, and further realized that doing it threaded on all 16 shafts would allow me to really play with the warp.
I still have to crunch the tie up and treadling, but already I'm getting excited about forging ahead.
It may all dissolve into tears if I've thought it through incorrectly, but never mind. I'm having fun. And seeing the whole concept of our conference theme of Confluences coming together.