various linen fabrics
One thing about turning a significant zero birthday is an opportunity to reflect. This morning I thought about this blog, how and why I started it.
Long time readers will know it was begun in an abundance of hope that my life was finally returning to 'normal'. Not the normal it had been, but still - a new 'normal' that would allow me to return to health and weaving.
During the time I have been writing these posts, many things have happened - some good, some...not.
In other words - Life Happened.
So 12 years coming up. Twelve years where my health did a roller coaster of stress in various guises. But through it all, I wove. Most of the time.
There were times when I could not weave. There were times when my brain was fogged with fatigue. And pain.
I don't share this to evoke pity. Far from it. Just an acknowledgement that human beings go through stuff. And we manage. We find a new 'normal'. We make do. We try different things. We persist.
As a child I wanted to write but discovered pretty quickly that I was rubbish at fiction. And poetry. But I was a decent essayist.
In the end, that ability to string words together turned into magazine articles, class hand outs. Eventually a book. Just not the book I had ever dreamed that I would write. Then a series of monographs. The photo above is the cloth for A Good Yarn: Linen. I was very pleased with how those fabrics turned out. While I'm not a big fan of beige, once the fabric was wet finished, it positively gleamed. You can just sort of make out the lustre on the fold of the one on the far right. I hated to cut it up to put into the publication, frankly. But I did because that was what they were for.
Eventually I succumbed to the siren call of the 'pen' and wrote a second book. Again, I never imagined I would do any such thing. I was positively burnt out after Magic, vowing I would never again...
Well, you know the saying...never say never...
Now I am 'retired' - officially - from being a production weaver, making things to sell for my income. Doesn't mean I'm done with weaving. I have way too much yarn stash to stop now! So I continue to weave.
However, the world is going through enormous upheaval right now. Our 'normal' is in doubt. No one knows what life will look like once the pandemic is over. We don't even know when the pandemic will be over. If indeed it ever will end.
Climate change continues as well and people are so focused on the pandemic that gigantic elephant in the room continues to exist - ignored for the moment by all but the scientists and the young folk who continue to try to bring our attention to what is happening.. How that one-two punch of pandemic-climate change will affect our new 'normal' is unknown right now. The one thing that I do hope will change is that people will adopt wearing a mask.
I am old enough that I have seen many changes through the years. It is kind of sobering to hang out with people in their 30s and realize that I actually lived through things they consider history. Funny - I don't feel ancient! Except when I talk to them about things that they have little knowledge about but were part of my lived experience.
In many ways I feel part of my role is to be a voice for that recent history. To let them know about things that they may have only read about - or didn't know at all.
This kind of history keeping is what elders in a community do. If the pandemic kills off a large percentage of the elders, that thread will be lost.
So it is with weaving knowledge. It is the elders in the community who help to keep the story of cloth alive. So I buy books as well as write them.
For my birthday yesterday I bought Stacy Harvey-Brown's book Beneath the Surface. In the 1980s I experimented with stitched double weave, pique and shrinkage differentials. But there wasn't a lot of money to be made from making those fabrics, so I put that thread (pun intended) aside.
stitched double weave with shrinkage differential between layers creating texture on the surface
Stacey recently updated her book and I decided to make it my birthday gift to myself.
When I retired from production weaving I felt that maybe now I could get back to the sorts of things that I had set aside in pursuit of an income. I'm hoping Stacey's look at this category of cloth will spark the interest I once had. Who knows where that plunge down the rabbit hole will lead.
In the meantime? Stay at home if you can. If you need to go out, wear a mask. Maintain physical distance from others as much as possible. Wash your hands.
Stay safe y'all!