Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Trimming Plates


As I move forward, life has become a matter of trimming the spinning plates.

In 2019 I stopped doing craft fairs and travelling to teach (other than Olds).  When the pandemic hit we were already in the process of downsizing - getting rid of my off site storage and work site, getting rid of equipment, constantly re-arranging the studio to try and fit everything that had been stored off site into my studio.

Gradually I stopped doing other things, like offering articles to publications.  Not that I didn't still have things to say.  It was mostly feeling like I'd already said everything over and over again and with the stress of the pandemic and my health I simply didn't have the little grey cells to write something that I'd already covered multiple times in several different formats.

To use an 'antique' phrase...I was feeling like a broken record.  (If you are below a certain age, I'm quite sure you have no idea what that means - just understand that I was tired of repeating the same thing over and over again.)

My personal stance has always been to try and bring something 'new' to the craft.  So I began looking at the principles that illustrate the bones of the craft, rather than just tell people what to do.

If you give someone a fish, they eat for the day.  If you teach them how to fish, they can feed themselves.  Especially if you give them the tools to do it.

In weaving, part of the 'tools' is understanding the principles.  And then they get to decide how to express those principles in their own way.

When I chose to retire, I thought I would dig into the weave structures that were too 'time consuming' for me to explore when we relied on my work to bring in an income.  Instead I had no brain power to do anything except the tried and true.  

With deteriorating health, I also began to feel the pressure to get rid of my yarn stashes.  Instead of exploring, pushing boundaries, digging deeper into the craft, I was focusing on using up the yarn that I already earned.

After two years I have used up one shelving unit of yarn, in one room, and several shelves of yarn in another room.  Over the weekend, I emptied three boxes of yarn (2/20 mercerized cotton) and once I finish the current warp and do one more with the 2/16 cotton, the plan is to pivot to using the 2/20 and weave the fine linen - and any other fine yarns suitable for tea towels - I already own.  And believe me, you get a lot of play value for very fine yarns!

From time to time I get an email from Handwoven with their up coming themes.  I read them, decide I don't really want to submit something and hit 'trash'.  I've just sent an article to the Guild of Canadian Weavers that I was asked to provide and which should appear in an issue of their Bulletin.  I've written a yarn review for Sweet Georgia, which should appear on their website soon.  I've offered to write more but they haven't let me know what kind of content they are looking for.  And I'm too busy right now to think about it.  But I'm sure that I will.

Yesterday I did a lot of thinking about the next class for School of Sweet Georgia.  By the end of this week I should have things organized in my mind about the content and how to go about presenting.  I worked out one issue that was puzzling me and I think it will work.  It should make it possible to do that class in one day, by recording out of order.

I found my lace samples so I don't have to re-weave those, but I will do a sample with a new-to-me yarn.  It's thicker than I would ordinarily choose for a lace weave, but that same thickness will be easier to see on camera.  

And then I need to think about projects to go along with those classes because they like to offer an actual project to help their students learn the lesson(s).

But as I take a good, long, hard, look at my studio, I see where I still have months, nay *years* worth of work to actually use up my stash to the point where I can be free of that obligation to use it up, not leave it for Doug or my friends to deal with when I'm gone.  Or simply unable to weave anymore.

While I would love to be able to keep weaving into my 80s, there is no guarantee that I will live that long.  Like Bonnie Raitt sings, time becomes more precious, the less of it you have.  

My father died age 56, my brother 51.  Mom lived to 90, but the last 5 years were fraught with health issues.  I'm already having health issues.  I may not have many more years of weaving left in me.

Don't pooh pooh me - I'm not being morbid, I'm being realistic.  Because of that, I can make plans accordingly!  

So I will continue to trim the spinning plates.  I will give my body rest time.  But I will also do what I can to weave and teach weaving.  Until I can't.

1 comment:

Peg Cherre said...

I just turned 70. Gave up craft fairs at the beginning of the pandemic and won't go back. Now the only weaving-for-sale I'm doing is towels, and not much of them. I am weaving to give, although at this rate it will take WAY too long to use up my stash. And how to get rid of the already-woven items? (I'm considering a few small, local, indoor shows for that; we'll see how it works.) Very conscious that I do not want to leave my children with a room full of yarn. So no, you're not morbid; you're realistic and kind.