Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Cold Spell

Lately I've been writing, rewriting, photographing and revising new blog posts only to scrap the whole thing. I've said it all before in the last, what, nine years and two months. And unless I have a new discovery or a change of mind or new news, I don't want to repeat repeating myself. Because I do that. A lot. And when one works to focus on one thing and thus makes one's life smaller and smaller, one is bound to be left with few topics to ponder, even in this age of information and technology.

And I'm tired of listening to my own mild health woes, (although it was only just the other day I noticed I inherited it,) the garden, (winter half over and all kinds of bulbs, shoots and new leaves are coming out already,) and my problem with techniques. While washing two big pieces yesterday, I noticed something new-ish.

Because I'm less happy with the outcome of my pieces I've been deliberately slowing down, first physically but now my head follows. I try to concentrate on whichever process I'm working on at the moment and that only. Not that I ever tried anything else but I'm doing this even more deliberately. When successful, I can really stop "thinking" and just observe and absorb. No more thinking up fiction story lines, no more planning the fifth and sixth next projects, and certainly no more remembering all the other little stuff I'm meant to be doing.

What is happening, however, is not always what I intended. For e.g. when I'm weaving, I can't see both selvedges of wider pieces without moving because I'm concentrating on whichever side I can see, and also because my peripheral vision is not as good. While washing, I am more aware of how my body has shrunk; how much higher my bathtub is, (if you're short, you know taking down a mug from a high kitchen shelf may require a chair, but putting it back on the same shelf doesn't; I can't stretch as much as I used to); how my face/eyeglasses are closer to the water and the hot water steams up my glasses. And how uncomfortable and tiring washing has become. I'm not observing the cloth; I don't modify the degree of felting according to desired outcome like before. I know these things are partly physical, some to do with aging, but I also have a much "narrower" attention span, and I don't know how to remedy it.

The only idea I've had as regards techniques is this: my four-shaft weaving has better selvedges and shapes. This could be because I use different yarns and the structures are much simpler, but I wonder also if it is because I stand up to weave. So I might try a foot stool and stand up and weave of that, too; because the big loom operates with just one pedal rather than multiple treadles, standing and weaving is easier with this loom. If this doesn't work, I'll think of giving up wide pieces.

I can only hope I haven't passed the pinnacle of my weaving skills without noticing. But it is what it is, another curveball in my life.
"Wave" (?), not in a great shape but interesting because on one side the warp, and on the other the weft, stands out from the other set of yarns. Is that the right way to say it? It's... 2.5D.
I had high hopes for this, but I may have felted it a little too far; this one should have had fringes but I hemmed it. The colors are slightly more saturated. I haven't got a name yet.
"Nostalgia". Mom's old wool warp and possum/merino/silk weft, light and not so thick but very warm.
"Always". Mom's old wool both ways, and on rainy days it even smelled like sheep while I was weaving. Heavier and thicker and heftier than above, I don't think this kind of cloth will ever disappear. I once had a suit made of fabric that looked like this, (from Mom's stash,) but it contained mohair and I couldn't wear it. Silly me.

* * * * *

The technique thing has bothered me more than I imagined; I caught myself wondering several times what I would do if I quit weaving. Then jokingly I thought I'd garden. But I remembered the first winter after I left my last full time job, I gardened full time for the month of August, and I enjoyed it so much the following winter I gardened full time for six or seven weeks in the winter creating a rose garden for Ben. So now I'm contemplating giving myself a holiday; for a week or two I might garden all day and not worry about weaving, because there's nothing like weeding and pruning in the crispy mild Nelson winter. Except it's been 14/15 years since those wonderful winters; goodness know how my body will cope. LOL.

But I don't plan on giving up weaving just yet; I've spent too much time and energy learning this craft; that's ten-plus years of my life.

* * * * *

My short-term memory has become so bad, sometimes I have brilliant ideas and get pumped up, then blink or breathe and I forget. Some ideas that don't disappear are too good not to hold on to, but writing/doodling distort or direct them prematurely. I need a new way of saving my ideas.

6 comments:

  1. Oh dear, everything changes. These days I'm learning not to be attached to what I used to do, what I can't do anymore, what I had to let go of for one reason or another, how I conceptualized myself (weaver? jeweler? spinner? gardener? mixed media maker? painter?...). This means also letting go of the inner voices that tell us what we "should" do, what we "should" feel guilty about if we no longer do, etc. Also, it's okay to change your mind about something, even if you've put years into it. No, I'm not advocating that you stop weaving, just that you might think about following your body-mind's lead in slowing down, or at least weaving narrower pieces if it has become difficult to do the bigger work to your own satisfaction. Don't fight it, wherever "it" is taking you. Just go with it. xo

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  2. Connie, I'm ready to give up yet, but I am SO frustrated and even furious at the moment. I'm looking for perhaps a new or different way to continue. I think that's what I'm doing.

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  3. Did that comment get eaten? Oh bother. I was only saying that I think the kind of evolution you are describing is very healthy. We can't stay in one place, no matter how uncomfortable those transition periods are. I hope you can continue to find sources of satisfaction in what you're doing while you seek out the way forward...

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    1. But but but thought I could improve a bit (i.e. tons) more before I started sliding backwards. Yikes. I haven't even looked at my looms in a while. YIKES!!!

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  4. There are other directions besides forwards and backwards... If that makes sense...

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    1. Ummm, too complicated metaphorically for moi?

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