Sunday, April 30, 2006

This Too Shall Pass

Red Art Gallery on Bridge Street is one of my favorite places in Nelson. It’s a NZ art gallery cum picture framer cum Oriental antiques dealer, and has tastefully selected greeting cards and notebooks to boot. The gallery is housed in an older building with high ceilings and wooden floors, rendering a polished yet welcoming atmosphere I like in my haunts. I often daydream about having my weavings being on display there.

About two or three years into my “having a serious go” at weaving, I knew the new gallery had opened, but I hadn’t paid a visit, saving it for a special occasion. I also hit the bottom of my
financial barrel about then, and got a part time office job. As hard as my head tried, however, my heart wasn’t in it, and six months later I was asked to resign, which I did with relief. And that’s when I started to visit the Red regularly.

I don’t remember when I first noticed it, but near the staff desk in the corner of the gallery is a display of magnets with interesting sayings, and the second or the third time I perused the collection, I noticed a black one with white Arial type, which read, “This too shall pass.” Amidst all kind of funny ones I normally preferred, this one hit the spot.

It was head-down-bum-up from then on, and I liked chanting my new mantra while weaving, designing, reading about weaving and weaving some more. It gave me a gentle but steady source of energy and inspiration.

After a year, I started to gain small successes; I started to like my weaving; I started to sell my work to friends; I sent one piece to an exhibit and it was accepted and later sold; I got three commission works; and one piece sent to another exhibit was awarded First Time Entrant award. Now, I am a hopeless optimist, but I like my new mantra, “This too shall pass.” It reminds me to proceed with caution, when I am going at full speed.

My plans for 2006 include modifying the looms to suit my body; going to the gym to get fitter to prevent weaver’s back and hopefully slimmer so I can showcase my work; tackle the hap-hazardous accounting/business non-practice I have, and finish two projects I started long time ago.

I joined a gym at the start of the year. From early on, I observed one of the arm machines was not working well for me; where the stress/weight fell on the arms for everybody else, because I am so short, it fell on my hands. Call it what you will - Convent school mentality, American Puritan work ethics, or just being a Japanese female – the more it hurt, the harder I trained until one Saturday I lost the use of my right, opposable thumb.

I have been seen by a physio and an acupuncturist for a month now, and my right arm tendonitis is getting better, but the movement is still restricted. I have been extremely frustrated about not having woven seriously since January; I have a dozen pieces I finished last year that need ironing and labeling (I never thought I'd ever complain about not being able to iron, but here I am); I am disgracefully behind in my sample exchange group, and even more so in a course (although this tardiness started long before gym); and I missed an annual exhibit to which I had hoped to send one or two pieces.

Last week, when I could no longer stop hallucinating about the swish-swish of a shuttle traveling through warps, I went to the Red Gallery and bought the said magnet, and set it on top of my high, small window frame in my wool room. It’s reminiscent of a small cross one Irish nun drew on the centre top of the blackboard whenever she entered a classroom. And I like being watched by this saying.

Meanwhile, I finally sat down with my husband to get my web site up, (amazing how one can learn to type with just one hand), I’ve started to experiment with dyes, and I still try to get to the gym three times a week. And I know, “This too shall pass.”

But hopefully not all of it.


Red Art Gallery, Nelson, New Zealand, – visit it.