Thursday, August 31, 2023
Wednesday, August 30, 2023
These are the latest (wet finished) towels. During my 'light duties' time I have been slowly catching up on some of my 'donwanna' tasks - and hemming has been one of them, in part because sitting in my preferred chair to do the hemming has been painful. My back was not happy about sitting in the loveseat, which is lower and tends to be a 'bad' position for my body right now. However, after massage *and* physiotherapy last week, I have made some progress and am actually nearly finished hemming this design of towels. They still need their final press, but that may happen over the weekend given I have just 3.5 more towels to hem (I think - it might be 4.5).
But what I really like about this weave structure is the subtle changes in texture that happen on the warp emphasis side of the cloth. So generally I have been hemming the towels with this side as the 'right' side. The next warp is a combination of three blues, and I'm not sure I chose well with the colours. Guess I'll find out. Those may get hemmed with the weft emphasis side as the 'right' side. TBD.
With the twill 'blocks' shifting by 1/2, the weave structure develops half-tones and depending on the threading those halftones can make very interesting shifts in how much texture the cloth has.
As I have been working my way through developing this series, there have been 'surprises' - some of them I liked, some of them, not so much. I had one complete 'failure' and because I wasn't feeling well at the time I abandoned that direction and came back to 'drawing with lines', shoving them this way, that way, seeing how I could make the twill line move within a rather small 'vocabulary' of straight and curved lines.
I have tentatively started weaving again. Yesterday I managed two 30 minute sessions which meant I wove one whole towel (yippee!). Which is a hard pill to swallow when I used to be able to do 4, then 2. But 1 after nothing for 10 days? It's progress, so I will accept that progress and hope that it will continue.
But that's the thing with crumbling bodies. You just never know what each morning is going to bring. You have to accept that some days are not going to go according to your plan, but you will have to acquiesce to what your body can/will do.
I have a new threading in the queue (I actually have several, but only one I want to do right now) so I'd love to get this warp off the loom. However, I'm not halfway through it - yet - and at the rate of one towel per day (if I can even manage that much) it will be at least two weeks before I can get the current warp off the loom and beam the next.
But I haven't run out of ideas, yet, so I'm anxious to keep going.
My goal is to keep weaving for as long as I can. To that end, I have to be very kind to my body. It's the only one I have, after all.
Watch for these towels to be listed in my ko-fi shop, hopefully by next week.
Tuesday, August 29, 2023
Monday, August 28, 2023
Not a lot, in fact. But when you are writing a niche topic for an already tiny market, producing a book becomes a challenge insofar as getting a traditional publisher to even look at your manuscript, never mind get anything resembling an 'income' from it.
When I decided to produce Magic, I had a background in office work including producing small print runs of things. I also knew enough about book making to know that any book with tipped in samples was going to be horrendously expensive to produce and that I pretty much had all the skills needed to do it myself - with the help of a local print shop. And friends/family members.
I even knew an editor who did the final pass through on the manuscript. Because I am enough of a book 'nerd' to know that an editor does an essential job.
I also knew what most authors were getting paid, and I wanted more than just a few cents a copy, given the weaving and wet finishing, the assemblage, etc., that needed to be done. I also did all of the marketing and advertising for it.
When it came time to publish The Intentional Weaver, I didn't even approach a publisher to see if they were interested. Instead I kept plugging away at writing, then refining the ms, and one day an email dropped into my inbox asking if I would send them info on the book they had heard through the grapevine that I was writing.
I did a bit of dithering, not really wanting to lose control of 'my' project, but also knowing the road ahead if I continued on my own. And I was tired. Really tired. Mom had just died and I was pretty sure the cancer had come back and I didn't know what lay ahead for me on that road. So I sent them a presse' with mixed feelings.
And was, to be honest, relieved when they said (I paraphrase) 'it sounds like you have a really good book but unfortunately it doesn't fit our model'.
Because I knew that any traditional publisher would want to change 'my' book to meet their business model because they have to make money, too.
So when I felt the urge to write the essays for Matrix, I didn't even consider contacting a publisher. Because once again, I would be writing for a tiny niche of a very tiny market.
Publishing myself (and yes, hiring an editor for each of the titles - AND the work in progress) is essential, especially if I am publishing myself.
I have seen a lot of books that could have benefited from a good editing job and I'm not that egotistical to think I can do it all, all by myself. Even *I* know that when writing a book there comes a time when the author loses all perspective and can no longer tell when something is right. Or, if they know it isn't 'right', doesn't have the energy or mental wherewithal to make it 'better'. Sometimes, you just need an outside perspective.
All of this is because this morning I saw an author urging all aspiring writers to go the traditional publishing route, explaining what publishers do and how publishing traditionally is so much 'better' than going it alone.
And I agree with them, honestly, I do! But if I ever wanted to see any of the above titles materialize into the world, I had to do it myself.
What it means, however, is that you have to take on the role of publisher, which means advertising/marketing, shipping (if you ship physical copies), and financing. Because again, all those things have to be paid for upfront - printer ink, paper, editor.
In the end I have made some money on my first two books. Matrix is still too new and of course publishing in the summer meant people were busy, on vacation, guild newsletters on hiatus, etc.
I have sent promo copies to a number of publications and now I wait.
I wait to see if any of the reviewers think what I've done is 'worthy'. I wait for word of mouth to happen - if it ever will. I wait to see if people actually want to purchase any of my books or if the market becomes saturated.
But it was a gamble I was willing to take. Because I don't mind addressing a tiny slice of a niche market with information I feel is important to get 'out there'.
Will #4 get published? Jury is still out. I'm waiting for feedback from my editor and my alpha reader. Initial response was positive, but.
And then I read a really compelling list of reasons why I should be publishing via the traditional publishing method, and I start wondering why I'm doing this all by myself. Again.
Here's the thing. While I agree with everything in the article I read, it still would not have brought any of 'my' books into the world.
Self-publishing was the only way for me to go, if I ever wanted to see what I had to say in print. Rather than chase a traditional publisher and meet with rejection over and over again, I gathered up my toolkit of various skills, including my office skills, and just...did it.
Did I do the right thing? Who knows. But they exist. And I'm not still waiting around for an acceptance or rejection letter. Instead I'm working on another.
Sometimes business decisions are made from the heart, not the purse.
All three of my books are available at blurb in both print and pdf formats.
Weave a V is available at my ko-fi shop. Written by Kerstin Fröberg, I arranged for it to be published in Canada, in English.
Sunday, August 27, 2023
I use this graphic a lot because it is so true.
It is also a reminder to keep an eye on the end goal, but celebrate the little successes along the way.
So, what was my 'goal' when I decided to become a professional weaver?
It was pretty vague.
Work creatively every day. Set my own goals and schedules. And that was pretty much it for long term planning.
How was I going to get there? That's where those little interim goals come in.
First, learn how to weave! At least well enough that I could reliably make cloth that would perform its intended function. I knew that was going to take time and I gave myself two years to learn the process and begin to consider what kind of textiles to make.
By year 5 I wanted to be taking a booth at the local craft fair, which I managed to do. In fact I did it in year 4 as I recall. The first year was not a 'success' - financially - but it gave me the information I needed to fine tune my textiles and come back the following year with a better idea of what the market would find attractive enough to purchase.
My other 'goal' was to weave for 25 years, then teach for 25 years. Instead I did both at the same time, pretty much. It began with workshops in the region, then I worked at getting my name 'out there' by applying to regional conferences. Once one hired me, others began to know my name and I was contacted by others. Plus I would apply to conferences that put out calls to instructors to apply. Each time I was rejected I knew that it wasn't a 'failure' on my part, just that I wasn't considered the 'right' person for that event, that time. But also? My name was getting out there into the weaving community.
Then I began writing articles. Again, most were rejected, but eventually one was accepted.
And here's the thing. I never let one rejection be the 'end'.
When I took the marketing course, one presenter said that when a salesperson is doing 'cold calls' the ratio is that 26 calls equals one sale. His advice? Put 26 pennies in one pocket (he was a guy, his pants *had* pockets) and for every call that was a null result, put one penny in your other pocket. Then move on to the next with a fresh mind and a positive attitude.
When I would get a rejection letter, I would read it to see if there was any advice to be had, then...next.
As I worked my way to my ultimate goal, I tried to plan my next step in relationship to my big goal. Would doing this thing be helpful? Or was I willing to do it because it found it personally interesting?
Several local weavers were doing the Guild of Canadian Weaver master weaver certificate and kindly included me in their get togethers. I began working on the tests as well, because I figured it was an accreditation that weavers would understand in a way that the college class in weaving I took would not. Besides which, that one year intensive only just barely got me on my weaving feet - I still needed to learn a whole lot more before I could consider myself proficient, never mind a 'master'.
(I still have some trouble wearing the 'master' designation, although now that I'm old and cranky I'm beginning to find that 'mantle' more comfortable - in spite of *still* not knowing 'everything' about weaving.)
It didn't take long for me to realize that my goals could not be just the one prong - weaving. I had to do all three - weave, write, teach - in order to bring in enough money to stay afloat.
About 10 years into my career, I was attending a house party, largely 'professional' folk with a few craftspeople like me. At one point several of the men were standing around discussing how they were going to 'game the system' in order to reduce their tax burden. Since they didn't shoo me away, I lingered on the edge of the group listening with some fascination about how they were going to 'hide' their income in order to pay less in taxes.
At that point I was bringing in a fairly steady income but I wouldn't call it a 'living'. I wasn't making enough money to even pay income tax. The discussion wound down and in the little satisfied silence as each man thought about how they were going to game the system in order to reduce their tax load, I said "Hmm, and here I am trying to earn enough money so that I get to pay taxes." And walked away.
And thought about how the definition of 'success' can vary, depending on one's personal circumstances.
Some years later the government of Canada instituted a Goods and Sales Tax. If your business made more than $30,000 in sales, you had to register and then collect and remit the GST. That year was the first year I broke $30,000.00 in gross sales, so I had to register as a business, then collect and remit the taxes. The next year at the craft fair, I posted a sign saying that I would be collecting the GST and received a lot of push back from customers. "Well the *rest* of the vendors aren't collecting the tax, why are you????"
I would look them in the eye and say that I was a business and that part of being a business was collecting and remitting the tax.
One or two people tossed my things down and walked away, most just grumbled, a few actually got it and said nothing while I added in the GST. I mean, I'd been charging PST from day one, because - as a business - I needed to collect the provincial sales tax, now I needed to collect the GST.
As a responsible citizen of this country it was my duty to abide by the rules and laws. And even if I wasn't actually earning enough money to pay income tax, I could do my bit by collecting and remitting the sales taxes. Because I also used the infrastructure, and someone has to pay for it. I could do my part by participating at whatever level I was able.
And yes, by the end of my career, I was actually earning enough to pay income tax.
It didn't happen right away. And I worked damned hard to get there. But as far as my rather vague goals went? I succeeded.
There were some things I never did accomplish, but in the end? The sum of my career was successful, in spite of all the things I did without, that I could have done if I'd just gone and gotten a 'real' job. And hated every second of it.
Bottom line? Get real with your goals. Get real with your definition of 'success'. There is more to life than accumulating more money, dodging paying your taxes.
I chose to 'settle' for less income but chose a 'job' that I could find personal satisfaction in doing. One where I could work creatively. Share my love of textiles. Hopefully help others find their own path, their own best practices. And yes, I needed money, and I expected to get paid for what I did. But making buckets of money was never my end goal. Good thing, because I never did! But I made enough. And enough was enough.
Saturday, August 26, 2023
As part of this on-going series, today I'm going to talk about 'marketing' and 'advertising'.
I took a marketing course in the late 1990s and while much has changed, much is the same.
For years I had struggled with advertising/marketing my work but one of the presenters gave a definition I could really get behind - marketing is simply sharing what you do.
While 'advertising' is buying space in media (be that radio, television or now, the internet) 'marketing' is simply sharing your 'story' with others.
Since I already identified as a 'storyteller', I found that concept much more agreeable than other definitions.
As part of my marketing, I had postcards made - remember this was pre-internet days when people still used snail mail - and handed them out when shops placed wholesale orders. They could, in turn, give them to customers who purchased my work or use them, themselves. I didn't much care - it was just another way to spread the 'word' about my work.
Once the internet started growing, I joined (in 1994, via a FreeNet portal run by the local university - remember the dial up 'handshake'?). I found Usenet rec.crafts.textiles and started hanging out there. But it was primarily educational, not commercial.
As the internet grew and changed, I had to adapt as well.
By the 2000s, people were using snail mail less and less so I didn't bother getting more postcards made; instead I started relying more on sharing what I did on line. Bearing in mind that I was not 'selling' anything, as such, my sharing took the form of 'stories' in most cases. I have always tried to give factual information in a manner that people will find acceptable (even when they don't).
Given I was 'selling' myself as a teacher, at this point, not my textiles, I tried to make my posts relevant to any conversation that was happening, based on my experience, point out pitfalls, make suggestions that might bring people closer to the success they were seeking. And try to do that with good humour.
The internet was being touted as the beginning of the information age. And it was a way to reach people well beyond my immediate reach and to let a lot of people know I was available to teach.
As the 'net become ever more 'commercial' rather than 'educational', I tried various way of selling my products, none of which were very 'successful' but neither was I trying to reach masses of people. Mostly it was a way for people who had already seen/felt my textiles (usually in person during workshops) to purchase my work. Because trying to sell textiles online has the huge challenge of sensory limitation. Even photos don't tell the whole story because some cameras really don't like to record the actual colours.
Over the years I joined (and left) various online groups. Sometimes the groups just faded away. Others seemed to not want to hear what I had to say, so I left. There is always another group, somewhere.
In 2008 I started this blog and I have used it as a platform to say what I want to say, the way I want to say it. People can come, read, agree with me, or disagree and leave. But if someone really wants to know what I have to say, I am here, easy enough to find with a quick search.
As social media becomes less 'sociable', I have joined and left several sites. I still have an Instagram account although I haven't actually posted anything in about a year. I haven't shut down my Twitter account but I never go on it. I'm of two minds about that. I was deleting my posts until Twitter stopped allowing me access to my posts. I have joined a couple other platforms but none of them seem quite 'right' - yet. Mastodon is the one I spend most time on, although I miss the people I used to follow on Twitter but can't seem to find elsewhere.
I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook, but have my biggest personal 'following' there so I do not leave FB for the time being. It is my most effective way to let people know what I'm doing. Ko-fi makes it easy to link my posts there to FB, so I can load something and with a single click share to FB.
While I continue to write - here and Facebook, mostly - I honestly don't know how much longer actual books will be viable. OTOH, vinyl records are making a comeback, so maybe I just need to be patient and wait until books come back, too?
So, this blog, which started out as a personal 'celebration' of having survived 2008, has now turned into my preferred platform for sharing what I am doing as a weaver/author/teacher. It is where I post photos of what I am making - be that textiles or books. It is, in fact, my primary 'marketing' tool. In spite of blogs being declared dead/passe'/over and that everyone should be on Tik Tok or whatever, I am still a storyteller, and I do that by writing, not making videos.
Instead I opened a You Tube channel and have posted videos there.
I remember when I first started posting my video clips, someone almost immediately commented something to the effect that 'finally, someone who gets it!'. I wasn't sure what they meant until I went looking for a particular technique and started watching other people's videos and had to scroll through several minutes of 'chat' before they finally got to the point of the video. Someone said that instead of a dusty old blog, I needed to do a vlog. Um, no, I'm perfectly content here. I'm not young and slim, I'm an old lady with triple chins and I don't much like seeing myself on camera. So when I do post a video, it is generally my hands that I'm showing - because they are the 'business' and what I want to highlight.
Others have said I need to do a podcast, but again, I'm old and I really don't feel like doing all the work involved in producing a podcast.
But all of these things are marketing tools in the 21st century. It is my choice to stay rooted in what I know and what I feel comfortable doing, even if it means I don't reach as many people as I could if I just joined the crowd and did Tik Tok or whatever.
If marketing is 'telling your story', then we all get to choose how we do that.
The hope being that if others read my posts, they will share them with their friends. And *that* is called 'word of mouth' marketing - when you are supported by people who like what you do and share it with their friends.
One other thing that I remember (I remember lots, but what is pertinent to today's post) is that a happy customer will share their good experience with a business 11 times. An *un*happy customer will share their 'bad' experience 26 times.
In this day of the internet and 'social' media, unhappy people seem to take great delight in sharing their 'bad' experience with thousands, not just dozens.
So when you hear about someone's 'bad' experience, maybe check and see if the business has something to say about the episode. Because as previously mentioned, the customer is NOT always right.
Friday, August 25, 2023
A few years ago (quite a few years, now) I belonged to a weaving group and a discussion of colour gamps came up with much gnashing of teeth about having to buy so many different tubes of colour in order to get just a few yards of each to weave a gamp.
Hmm, I thought, I have lots of cotton in 2/8 size in all sorts of colours, I could design a colour gamp kit and sell those?
So I set about making colour gamp kits and selling them. I wound the warp, then wound quills with the weft colours.
When I ran out of stash yarn, I standardized the 'kit' with 9 colours and then designed others using colours other than saturated 'rainbow' ones. IOW, I bought 36 half pound tubes of colours I set aside specifically for the colour gamps. I sent out kits with instructions and charged what I felt was an appropriate price, given they were getting a pre-wound warp and pre-wound quills, plus, of course, international shipping when sending to the US. They were not 'cheap' but neither did they have to buy half-pound tubes to get just a few yards of each colour.
They sold well enough and most people seemed content - apart from a few who let me know they were completely dissatisfied with them.
In my documentation *and all of my marketing efforts* I made it clear that the warps were 3 meters long, and that there was enough weft yarn to make two 'squares'. They could weave one gamp in plain weave, cut off, re-sley and then weave one 'square' in twill.
A small group of people began to complain that the warps were 'too short' to weave four napkins. And made a point of letting everyone in the group know about their displeasure.
I responded publicly (because they posted publicly) and pointed out that nowhere had I ever promised they could do 4 napkins, only 2 colour gamps.
And then I stopped making the kits.
Because even when the customer is NOT 'right', sometimes it's just not worthwhile to continue to provide a product which isn't really profitable - it was more of a 'service' to the weaving community which some people chose to publicly complain about.
Another 'not right' customer gambit is trying to get 'discounts' by complaining a price is 'too high'.
It bothered me for a long time until I finally realized that someone else's 'tight' budget was not *my* problem to solve. I had my own financial woes, thankyouverymuch, and giving a discount because someone was trying to 'shame' me was not going to work with me.
I stopped doing special commissions because I had several customers request very particular items, which I did my best to produce, then renege on the sale, demanding I refund their money. Never mind the yarn I purchased to make their very specific requests. One person specifically wanted all white table runners, very specific in size, then when I delivered them was very cool. Two weeks later she phoned wanting to return them because her friends all said that the solid white was 'boring' - even though I had questioned her about the solid white and she insisted that was what she wanted.
In the end I returned her money and eventually the runners sold, but it took a long time in part due to the very specific sizes of the runners which had been custom made for the original customers end/coffee tables. There were other orders that ended in a similar fashion, leaving me in the lurch.
Instead of taking 'commissions' I began to tell a customer I would make 'something' and they could have first refusal, but no more did I take specific 'orders' for things. If I was going to make something, it would be what *I* wanted to make, not what someone *thought* they wanted - until they saw it in real life.
There are lots of examples of customers *not* being right. That's not to say that businesses are always 'right', either. But if you are going to be in business, you need to be clear about what you are selling, stick to your guns when it comes to price, figure out a way to proceed that allows for customer satisfaction as well as your own requirements.
Thursday, August 24, 2023
Yesterday I mentioned one (generally misunderstood) aspect of being in business. Another is your business 'identity'.
This morning I saw an article about how our brains 'see' symbols more quickly than words. And why businesses generally have a 'logo' - a symbol that people can use to quickly identify a business.
Like the Nike swoop, the golden arches, etc.
When I started out I had an artist draw me a symbol but it really wasn't appropriate, nor was my first business 'name'.
A great pun. But unless you were 'in the know' it was pretty useless. Of course with the rise of the internet and the absorption of so many textile terms into computer language, it would have been impossible.
However, I quickly realized that it was inappropriate and changed it to Laura Fry Weaving Studio. The first 'proper' logo was designed by me, and while it wasn't anything special, it worked.
However, when I had to re-tool my whole business, I asked another artist to design me a butterfly that I could use. So my new logo and business name changed. With more computer use I was able to design myself a letterhead, which I used for years (still do when I need to write a proper letter) and a local printer made business cards and hang tags. Those were edited when I 'retired'.
I have kept my website because it's an easy way for people to find me if they are looking for me, and there is a contact form which will send emails to me. I got my website in the late 1990s when the internet was primarily educational and only after I retired did I do a major re-working of my site. Because I'm not dead (yet), just not in 'business'.
That doesn't mean I don't want an income; it means I no longer apply for or submit things like sales taxes. I DO still claim the minor 'income' I make as self-generated income on my income tax returns.
Over the years since officially retiring I have been whittling away at income generating activities, but I *still* have inventory to be sold and I still teach.
And I still expect to get paid for those activities.
I know. Shocking, isn't it?
I mean, even in 1975 it was unheard of for anyone to actually earn an income from weaving. Oh, there were a few, sprinkled here and there, but when I listed my occupation as 'weaver' for the local directory, I found myself listed with Weaver as my surname. Because no one in the late 1970s was actually a weaver anymore, amirite?
The general public expected someone like me to be independently wealthy and weave as a hobby. Sort of like farmer's wives selling eggs for 'pin money'. I guess.
After 20 years of being a weaver, selling my textiles at the local craft fair I started getting 'ladies who lunch' coming by, seeing me in my booth, doing a double take and saying something like "OH! You're still weaving!" "Yes, I am" with a smile because yes, I was still weaving. Then they would get a pensive look on their face and muse "Oh well, I guess you need something to keep you busy."
At which point I would mutter something to the effect that yes, I was keeping busy and turn away before the expression on my face could betray my actual thoughts.
I've had people work as my studio assistants be told by their family members that they needed to get a 'real' job instead of working for me. As if the money I paid them wasn't real.
Choosing to weave as my career was partly an act of rebellion on my part. I wanted to do something where I set the goals and deadlines and had creativity as a large component of what I did on a daily basis. It turned into so much more and brought me experiences and people I never expected.
And while I have some regrets - usually about things I didn't do - I look back on these nearly 5 decades and realize that I made the correct choice all those years ago. And I am eternally grateful that I took that leap into the unknown.
But as a career path in the 21st century? Not sure I would recommend it as someone's sole income. But mine was multi-layered - weaving, yes, but also teaching and writing. I even took part time jobs when finances got really tight. I hated every minute of those jobs, so I would return to weaving more determined than ever to keep weaving as my major income.
But it was not easy. And it was never a 'hobby'.
Wednesday, August 23, 2023
If it was easy...
I started my business in the late 1970s when there was no internet. Since then, things have changed dramatically, in some ways not exactly for the 'better' when it comes to having and nurturing a small business.
With a very broad background (even at a young age), knowing a number of people who had small businesses and the general scope of what they dealt with on a daily basis, I at least had a clue as to what I might face.
But of course every business is different in their own way. And now, the internet, which both makes some things easier, and some things very much more difficult, needs to be contended with.
A business is not a 'static' entity. It needs constant care and attention and if you don't have at least a familiarity with what running a business entails, things can get even more stressful, especially if you have no cushion to catch you if things go badly awry.
Like constant wildfire evacuations. Or the building next door blowing up. Or whatever climate catastrophe is thrown your way.
One of the things that non-business folk don't understand is just how much you need insurance and just how very expensive that has gotten - and will continue to get - given climate change and all of the so-called 'natural' disasters. Which will do nothing but keep getting worse.
For as long as we ignore the driving cause of climate change, the more unpredictable the weather will become, the more the glaciers will melt, the more the sea will rise, the more the forests will burn.
Finally, last night on the news, someone actually pointed out that the boreal forest, long touted to be a natural carbon sink, is now contributing to the increasing levels of carbon in the air, as it burns to the ground.
I confess I snorted and commented to my spouse that I have been saying precisely that for months, ever since the current wildfire season began weeks earlier than 'normal' and we lived under an almost never ending smoke pall. The carbon was right there, in front of our eyes, and all I could think of was the impact all that wood burning, all that smoke going into the air, visible, and all the carbon *also* going into the air, invisible, was going to have. And none of it was going to be 'good'.
As I wound down my business I was able to compact it all into my home, but I continue to carry a rider to cover the studio. Because I worked for an insurance adjuster, and I *know* that there is no insurance company in the world that would cover what I have in my studio on a regular home ownership policy.
I also carried additional business insurance on the van because we were constantly driving to events - either craft shows, fibre sales, or teaching - laden with boxes and boxes of product and/or equipment for the class. Yes, it was an additional expense, but when I got rear-ended just a few days before leaving for a large sales event I was able to get a rental van and attend the show. Because I had the correct type of insurance. The insurance adjuster wasn't best pleased when I pointed out that I did, in fact, qualify for a van for the duration of the show in Edmonton. He wanted me to turn the rental van in as soon as my van was repaired. I asked him how he suggested I was to get me and my booth/products home from Edmonton (about a 500 miles journey) with no vehicle?
Being in business isn't all that much different from weaving, really. It is complex. There are a tonne of variables. You need to focus on your business, but keep an eye out for things that might negatively impact what you are trying to do. It's a good idea to have a Plan B. And not stay 'stuck' in what you have been doing when it becomes obvious that it is time to make some changes.
All lessons I learned, the hard way, usually.
Tuesday, August 22, 2023
Monday, August 21, 2023
After massage, I started to feel a bit 'better', enough that I could move around and felt less disabled, but no where near good enough that I could contemplate weaving. I still don't, to be honest.
With my personal hourglass slipping the sands of time away, this all feels very...upsetting. As time runs out on me, I feel like there are things I really need to, *want* to, do. And I just can't.
Fortunately I was able to sit at the dining room table and make puzzles, so I've been blasting through my stockpile, such that I opened the last of my 'special' puzzles last night.
And thought about how 'off' I still felt, how much longer it was going to take to feel able to weave without causing more damage than good. And went to the desktop and ordered six more...
On the other hand, I have been feeling 'better' enough that I've been dealing with some of the long ignored tasks that I need to get off my desk, so there is that bright shaft of light in the murk.
It had been my intention to take photos of the towels I talk about in Stories from the Matrix because I've finished more since the book published and list them in my ko-fi shop. I also have more in the processing 'tunnel' and I've managed to deal with some of that, too.
Yesterday I pressed another 15, and I've been picking away at the hemming pile, now that I can sit for short periods of time in the loveseat - my hemming station. I mean, one towel hemmed is still progress, right?
I have actually done enough stuff that I am left with just two 'jobs' that have been languishing. Since I still can't weave, I guess I'm going to have to bite down hard and tackle those. I'll do the 'easy' one first and get that off my desk. But then I will have no choice but to finally do the re-write of the workshop drafts.
Since the deadline for that is fast approaching, it is more than time I did.
And here is a friendly reminder from Monty Python...
Sunday, August 20, 2023
Saturday, August 19, 2023
Friday, August 18, 2023
Since Meta is blocking all 'news' content from Canadian media, I have been sharing updates on FB about the current wildfire situation here in Canada.
Yesterday, amidst the updates to the current wildfire situation, we were told to expect things to get progressively worse here in BC over the coming weeks.
We have had the worst wildfire season on record this year. Which isn't actually close to being over. Thousands of people have had to be evacuated from remote locations (the entire town of Yellowknife, now, as well as Hay River and Enterprise, all in NWT. Enterprise essentially burned to the ground and is now a pile of rubble and ash.
Last night the large fire across the lake from Kelowna began to jump the lake and is now threatening the larger town of Kelowna (population about 130,000) on the east side while it threatens the smaller towns on the west side of the lake. This is not a small lake, so the fact that the fire has grown to the size that it can leap over the water is, well, concerning would be a major understatement. This is also not a village but a sizable city with many elderly citizens. With at least one highway closed, evacuating that many people is going to be challenging - if it should come to that. So far fire crews have been able to douse the spot fires as they are ignited from the flying flames.
Oliver is now under evacuation alert and I don't think Osoyoos is out of danger yet, either.
Other smaller communities continue to be overwhelmed by smoke and the potential of burning to the ground - or at least sustaining some level of damage. Many are under evacuation alert, hoping like hell it rains - without further thunder storms to start new fires.
Fire crews are exhausted, sometimes forced to take a break because the smoke is so thick the planes can't fly to drop water or fire retardant, or to evacuate ground fire crews in remote locations. We are incredibly grateful that firefighters from other countries/locations have come to help.
Highways north/south are closed and people are scrambling to check alternate routes for safety. The town of Lytton, burned to the ground two years ago is in the danger zone. Again. And they only just this year were able to begin rebuilding.
People are losing their homes, pets, jobs. So far 4 fire fighters (last I recall) lost their lives fighting fires in Canada.
I keep hearing the word 'unprecedented'. Um, excuse me, but the climate science has been warning us for years, decades, in fact, that this *is exactly what to expect* as the climate changes kept accelerating.
We have sown the wind and now we reap the whirlwind.
Long past time to solve climate change.
And while I'm being a 'negative Nellie', covid isn't over either. If people won't wear a mask against covid, I hope they will at least wear one against the smoke that hangs over us all.
Currently we are in a bubble of 'safety' with no nearby fires, just the smoke that comes and goes with the wind. We hunker down and stay put, here in relative safety.
But it isn't just the wildfires. Hurricane season is beginning and it looks to be developing into a doozy. Time to address the problem instead of fixing things after the disasters strike? Unfortunately the problem is complex and most people don't like complexity.
Climate change is not a 'Canada' problem, it is a world wide problem. There is no Planet B.
Thursday, August 17, 2023
Heading into day two of 'back in spasm'. Yesterday I felt a bit better than today (so far) but thankfully I have a massage appointment already booked so I'm hoping massage therapist can get the spasms to let go. But I won't be 'fixed', yet. After being in severe spasm for days, the muscles will tend to spasm again at the slightest provocation (ask me how I know) so it will be several days of feeling 'fragile' and waiting until my muscles seem to be amenable to weaving. Or much of anything else. This is not my first ro-day-o when it comes to muscle spasms.
I had intentions of beginning to edit the weaving drafts for the Mug Rugs and More workshop in October, and I got as far as lifting the rather large binder of drafts and samples up onto my desk and stalled.
I may feel up to tackling that after massage. Or not.
This episode has completely derailed me and I am left with my own thoughts. (Never a Good Thing.)
So I have been pondering.
Do people actually *want* me to keep writing and publishing? Or nah. OTOH, I have a ms currently being seen by a professional editor, and a couple of alpha readers who want me to publish.
While my focus was on creating textiles by weaving, the principles hold regardless of fibre process being used. Plus my teaching/writing - which was pretty much geared towards being published in some sort of media, right from the beginning. If nothing else, as workshop handouts. (Circling back to the workshop in October in 3, 2, 1...)
The Mug Rugs and More workshop (scroll down) will be the last in-person workshop I will teach. I'm 73 years old. I *almost* made the 'teach until I'm 75' goal. I didn't count on a crumbling body, as a friend expressed it the other day.
But none of us do.
And here I am.
So far I have not sold enough copies of Stories to pay for the editing. I *have* sent some copies to people in hopes of more reviews, so fingers crossed. When attempting to write for a small slice of an already niche market, I actually make *more* per copy this way than through the traditional publishing route. But it is on my shoulders to market the book. Every free copy sent out for reviewing or beta reading, is directly out of my profits. Because I am also the 'publisher'. Blurb is the printer and shipper if someone purchases directly from them. What *they* are is an on demand printer of documents, which they will also turn into books, either soft or hard cover. Plus I can upload a pdf to Blurb and people can purchase that and get the information immediately.
The next book will likely sell only a few copies, maybe not even in the hundreds. Will that cover the cost of the editing? Not likely. So my dilemma is - do I offer it in print or *just* the pdf. OTOH, offering something in actual print doesn't cost me much so perhaps both, like I've done with the other three?
And round I go again.
School of Sweet Georgia has three (so far) workshops with me, the fourth to go live in November. Will there be more? Doubtful. But those four topics cover much of what I really want to be seen by others. One was a direct request from SOS (sectional warping) and as with everything about weaving, what I show is simply how *I* do it. Others will have other opinions because they will be using different yarns, perhaps different equipment.
I am happy to be part of the SOS community and answer questions there should they arise. Head's up about an increase in fees for SOS beginning Oct. 1. If you join before then, you get the current price. Use the link I've provided (above) and they know you come because of me.
Long Thread Media (Handwoven) also has two workshops with me, taped in 2014. While I may have changed a few details, both are still pertinent. I see they now offer a 'Coles Notes' version of the wet finishing information. (Don't know the US equivalent, Cliff's Notes?)
I also hang out on the Handweaving Academy website. I'm not teaching classes for them, but am happy to chime in when I feel I can add to a conversation.
And of course this blog.
Have I come to any conclusions? Nope.
But sometimes the first step is to define the question...
Do I continue to write in order to publish or nah?
Wednesday, August 16, 2023
Welp, as they say, my body has pressed 'pause'.
I've been struggling with back issues for a while now but yesterday my body threw me a curve ball and my lower back and hip went into massive spasm.
I am now on 'rest' for - well, who knows how long? I sure don't.
I am frustrated, disappointed, generally discombobulated, because I can't weave, can't sit comfortably, can't stand from sitting without assistance, most chairs make the pain worse, pain pills don't work entirely.
I'm a mess and I'm feeling depressed and discouraged.
However, I already have a massage booked for tomorrow (routine maintenance), which will be an intervention instead of routine. But I also know that I am going to have to NOT do anything very much until whatever is going on in my body resolves.
I'm frustrated as hell because the current warp is weaving up very nicely and I was looking forward to the next going into the loom next week. Now? Who knows. I sure don't.
My next physio appointment is on the 23rd and I finally see someone at the local pain clinic on the 28th. I am holding onto a thread of hope that I will at last get some help locally instead of needing to travel about 500 miles to get it.
I can, however, sit for a time in my office chair, and as it happens, the next 'donwanna' job requires me to spend time at the computer. So I will be editing the drafts for the workshop in October so that they can begin to go out to anyone registered. Once I've got them done I'll be promoting the workshop and see if we can get more than 3 people signed up. :-/
Anyway, if you want to cheer me up and you've read Stories or my other two books, you could send me a book review so I can do some marketing of my books while I'm laid up...just saying...