Long Term Goals

Speaking to younger friends, by email and chatting, I realized it's been a long time since I had long-term goals, realistic or unrealistic. I can't remember when I lost sight of them; perhaps when I started to weave seriously and decided I can only create my path by taking one step at a time. In a way it's a good thing for me, who suffers from destination addiction and has had only unrealistic, far-too-long goals. But it's also not a bad thing to have goals or aims beyond, say, this year.

I've none to share with you now; I have to think about it. On Day One, Randy Darwall asked us where we'd like to be in five years, and I can't remember what I thought, and I can't think that far now, because my life has been unpredictable since I came out of the weaving closet. And every year seems to have gotten shorter and shorter as I get older.

One thing for sure; even if we buy and win gazillions in Lotto, we're not going to build our dream house with a purpose-built studio and Ben's high-tech whatever room. Ever. We'll buy a suitably nice house, and NOT remodel. It's been a valuable lesson.

We just had the computer, the TV, the coffee maker and the lights off for Earth Day, and since Ben did not serenade me on his guitar, we sat quietly in the dark, thinking out loud, drinking Nelson Riesling. Not bad for a Saturday night.

Welcome Home, Mr Geodyne!!

Dear Mr Geodyne,

It's a long way from our neck of the woods, to up there, and soon back down again, I hear. We do appreciate the work you do. Put your feet up and enjoy spring!


Golden Ages of Art

I'm in that space where where I can't put my thoughts into words well, but I'll give this a go before I forget. On Wednesday I went to The Nelson Decorative & Fine Arts Society lecture. The presentation was far too cruise-ship-entertainment than academic for my taste, (and the presenter does a lot of the former,) but I've bee interested in the subject so I eagerly took notes.

The title was "The Mystery and Splendor of Golden Ages in the Arts", and she prefaced the lecture by stating not everybody's favorite era will be covered. (And these Society lectures cover mainly Western Europe anyway.) She selected 5C Athens, Renaissance Florence, Elizabethan London, and Impressionist's Paris. All these were, or have these in common:
  • Inherited an old culture on which their own is based
  • Had one or a few genius/es who represent/s an era and city
  • Were urban rather than rural
  • Had wealthy ruling class, particularly the new rich, who needed to advertise themselves for political/commercial purposes, (usually not nice people, but they patronized the arts)
  • There was general unrest, due to wars, regime changes, crimes or plagues, or amidst a dynamic change, which demanded value changes, which in turn demanded individual judgment and decision-making
  • Had an influx of outsiders coming into the community, some of the representative geniuses were such outsiders
  • Engaged in trade
  • Held general optimism, in spite of widespread poverty of the masses and the general unrest
  • Developed language/vocabulary to express the mood, changes, new thoughts
  • Their golden era flourished for a short time, and just once
  • Their influence continue to influence the creativity of later generations
She also mentioned two exception, the Gothic architecture (which sprung in many rural settings) and Vienna (which had two golden ages, the times of Mozart, then later Freud and Klimt and she spoke briefly of how Vienna was different from the other cities.)

I would have liked more depth in the lecture, and an unhurried conclusion, but I think she was beyond her time limit, and the presentation ended abruptly. Food for thought, though, particularly as I've been wondering about Reconnaissance Florence and Heian Era, and why arts flourished so explosively.

Who, Me?

A good word to learn, on a day Ben's sick and home, and I took a playing-along day, reading a Harris book in bed for hours. Come to think of it, this is me most days. Thanks, Taueret!

/slɔθ or, especially for 2, sloʊθ/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [slawth or, especially for 2, slohth]
1. habitual disinclination to exertion; indolence; laziness.
2. any of several slow-moving, arboreal, tropical American edentates of the family Bradypodidae, having a long, coarse, grayish-brown coat often of a greenish cast caused by algae, and long, hooklike claws used in gripping tree branches while hanging or moving along in a habitual upside-down position.
3. a pack or group of bears.
Origin: 1125–75; ME slowth (see slow, -th 1 ); r. OE slǣwth, deriv. of slǣw, var. of slāw slow
Synonyms: 1. shiftlessness, idleness, slackness.



Funny thing happened to me today, again. Usually it happens when I make a warp, but today it happened while I was threading.

Sometimes textures, colors and the anticipation of a project can overstimulate my brain and I become giddy and restless. In extreme cases, I can't sit nor stand still, and can't stick with the task at hand, so I rush around the house, start something, drop that and get back to warping, drop that and start something else. It feels as if my own body is in a rush, and my brain just tries to stay inside my scull. Which is very strange considering I was on the slow side when I was a child, not an overactive one.

Gardening can be worse. I always listen to a tiny radio when I garden so I can keep track of time. Sometimes I start remembering all the radio broadcasts I ever heard while I gardened, and it gets all a bit noisy inside my head and I start to get a tad annoyed.

Dr Eva and I used to joke about my schizophrenia, but I don't have that, and I doubt all the textures and colors would give me an anxiety attack. Does this ring a bell with anyone? Or does this sound a little extreme?

I finished threading 7 1/3 inches; 8 2/3 to go.

A Uniquely Texsolv Problem

I tend to go under, rather than over, which, sitting in a unique position looking up, makes it easier to spot.

I've also been contemplating the possibilities of such insanities as DLDL-LDLD and threading in opposites in this size; not planning, just contemplating the possibilities.

Can't do better than 2 hours per inch, however.


It's Getting Too Cold for Insomniacs

Prettiest pantry doors I've had; the only pantry I've ever had. Too bad they don't close easily, but it's probably a matter of fine-tuning. I used to joke about having everything finished by Easter; just now I asked everybody concerned if that's a possibility...

Slowly, Slowly...

Choices we make, changes we expect, by us and by others; time lap between grasping a concept and understanding what we grasped... I think this is supposed to be a start of another understanding...

Sorry, I'm not being cryptic. At 4.30 AM, I'm not even a good insomniac.


On Apologies

I've been thinking about apologies. I've always known, but hadn't thought about for a while, the fact it's built into the Japanese language. And false modesty, except they are ritual sayings and not exactly thought of as false modesty by the speaker.

"Sumimasen" or "Suimasen"(casual) is most often used in place of "Excuse me" or even "Hello", but it's also one of the most formal of apologies; "Dohmo sumimasen deshita." The even "higher" apology, "Moushiwake arimasen" can also be used as "Excuse me" when you are trying to get someone's attention, or just to start an inquiry with a stranger.

If you gets a crate of, say, apples from your home town known for good apples, you might want to share some with your friends or neighbors. You start by apologizing, "O Hitotsu desuga..." (There's only one, but...) or "Tsumaranai mono desuga..." (It's really uninteresting, but...), even if you think they are darned good apples and they should love you for them. Not completing the sentence is just as important as that gives your givee a chance to thank you, or for you to "switch the subject" and go into explaining how you got the apples. This one really bothered me, and I never shared my loot with my neightbours.

At the start of the meal, everybody thanks the cook by saying, often in unison, "Itadaki masu," (We will now receive the food,) acknowledging not only the cook's work but also signing to other diners dinner has commenced. At the end of the meal, everybody thanks the cook, saying, "Gochisoh sama deshita," (It was truly a feast,) to which the cook responds, "Osomatsu sama deshita," (Sorry, it was only a frugal meal.)

Except in my family. Dad and brother always started the meal by saying loudly and cheerfully, "Osomatsu sama" whenever I cooked.

Geez, guys, sooooo-reeeeeeeee!!!


Dragged out of Stone Age

I have Skype now. Just so you know. I have too many young friends in over-developed nations. Look me under MegWeaves if you like. The excuse the Antarctic had Skype before Nelson doesn't work any more... Darn.

(But I can only speak Skype to Skype or else my ISP? will charge me munny... )

Closure 3: Voldamort Dissolved


Thank you for indulging me and going along with my latest identity crisis. It's been one tumultuous almost-week, typing and trying to say out loud a name I dared not think of in 29 years.

I'm feeling worn out and old, like those dolls with apple heads. I have no skeletons in my closet any more. Nothing to run from. No mystery. If it weren't for Ben, I might have dusted off my passport and maps for a fresh start.

Maybe not. I can't imagine lugging the big loom and managing to travel like the wind. (If I could draw, I would seriously give this one a go.) Nor, for that matter, this old body.

In a few hours, a new week starts.

Closure 2: Growing Up Belatedly

Thursday, I mourned, for what, I can’t put into words. I felt sad for me.

My closure seemed simple; I only had to decide the saga was over, to see that it had been over for years. I’m tired of being angry, hateful, in doubt, and most of all, of apologizing for things I may not be responsible. We chatted some more that night.

How serendipitous that I finished “Lollipop Shoes”, a novel about reinventing oneself, on Tuesday. People who stay keep living and growing and part of that involves forgetting, but people who leave sometimes remain stuck in a moment. But every time he typed her name, I felt a kick in my face reminding me “You weren’t good enough.” I regretted not having been less self-absorbed, so at least we could have had a semblance of a parting.

Ben is my soul mate; he is calm, stable and unflinching, my opposite. The boy was passionate, competitive, volatile, the same as me. Though I sense he’s mellowed, and hope I have as well. My life has been cruisy since I met Ben; straight forward and upfront. Ben is more sure than I am I’ll come right in the end.

Friday, I was exhausted. I thought about departures, of reinventions. In my case, it’s never been about escapes, but to better myself, to try once again, so I don’t fail again. I grew up with parents for whom my best was never enough, and still isn’t. My first boyfriend gauged me against alternates for five years before dumping me. I, in response, tested and challenged and dared him to break “us” up. I got what I asked for. There was never much room for trust or blind faith in my early life. No wonder I mistrust compliments; no wonder I am suspicious of people to whom I need not prove myself. Like Liz. And Ben.

Saturday, I became tired of my own thoughts and words, and couldn’t decide if this is something I should publicize.

I did receive an email about Washburn Class of ’77 reunion in July, something I never imagined when I wrote about reunions on Wednesday. I still oscillate between wanting to remain an outsider, and wanting to reconnect, between wanting a normal friend with the boy, and having nothing to do with him, ever again. I know I opened that floodgate Tuesday night; pretending this week never happened is not an option.

These are my truths, and this has been my life. And I need more time.

Lest you think I’ve once again succumbed to a self-indulgent git-ness, I have, and I can only hope it has been therapeutic for me. But I shall close this with one of my favorite quotes, uttered by an ex-gang member turned youth worker generating freat results with little/ no funding somewhere on the North Island.

“Get off the cross; we need the wood.”

Thank you for indulging me.

Closure 1: I was So in Love


When I was 16, I fell in love with a beautiful boy. “Head over heels” didn’t do justice; I believed he was my epiphany. I didn't know his name, so I asked anyone who glanced my way long enough; then later, I asked just to hear his name said out loud. Liz rescued me and organized a birthday party; my 17th. And the dating commenced.

We must have shared lovely moments. I remember the first time he walked me home. But it was a teenage thing; tenuous, emotional, unsettling. He was a lying, cheating, two-timing bastard, and I was a drama-queen-snob-bitch. Still, we stuck it out for five years, because we were kindred spirits; insecure, proud, and strangely devoted.

Shortly before my 22nd birthday, he dumped me and married another, but there was a code of silence and I wasn’t to know for a long time. She had been the main, and I the alternate, but I had faith in the “us-ness”, even when his family made their allegiance known on Christmas Eve. I don’t remember a final good bye but I’m sure I went into a tirade more than once. I do recall the evening I went to pick up my things; in his dark empty apartment was a box marked “dishes” in her handwriting. His closure.

I spent my 20’s being a victim; anger, doubt and false bravado fueled me. I jumped into relationships, then regretted being in them. I drank excessively. I invested my energy into work, but my personal life was lonely. Everybody appeared to have mature, inner peace and settled personal lives and I genuinely wondered what was so unlikable about me.

From time to time I fantasized having a chance to get in the last word, of gloriously, triumphantly, yet elegantly rejecting him, but we lived in such different worlds I knew my chances were slimmer than none. Since Google, I occasionally searched in hopes of finding him in a humiliating predicament, only to read he's done well in his chosen field. As I knew he would.

When Liz suggested I get on to Facebook, and in the course of learning about it, I found him among Liz's friends. I realized there was a chance our virtual paths may cross, but thought I'd have months to ponder the scenario. This could be my "gloriously, triumphantly, yet elegantly rejecting" finale. My closure, of sorts.

Tuesday night, after I came home from work, I saw a Facebook message with his name. I was flummoxed, but found myself automatically clicking to be his friend. As I do. And then to acknowledge, I wrote a short condolence about his younger brother. Then came an email in response, and my flustered attempt to reply, loss of a long draft, and finally, chatting real time and catching up.

Wednesday, I was surprised at the absence of anger. There is acrimony I’ll never forget, but then I was equally mean, so we're even if we were to tally the scores. But it no longer seemed to matter. We had grown up. I heard Liz’s Mom’s rumbling tummy laugh from up above; “Well, it took you long enough.”

For the first time in 29 years, my life looked like a continuum, not a series of disjointed scenes. I felt as if I found my missing limb, not him, but my past self, and I was once again intact. I realized I was never ostracized from Washburn High School Class of '77, that I needn’t have felt apologetic about wanting to be included. Nor was I exiled from my beloved (except in February) Minneapolis. The sad girl who’d never been invited to school reunions was allowed back in.

(I have no artifacts from my high school days, except my high school diploma. The pic above and one of Liz in the next post were downloaded from his FB with permission. This one was taken by me and the car was old even then.)

Ahhhh, That Eternal Question of Men vs Wimin

I've been working on a heavy duty issue of mine, writing, rewriting, and wondering whether it's appropriate to post or not. Anyway, I needed some light relief, and Nancy and Taueret found Paster Mark Gungor of Wisconsin. If we ever make it to Minnesota, we'll jump the border to check him out, that's for sure. (Sorry if this is old news for you, but we've been watching these over and over and over and laughing our heads off.)

I now understand Ben much better and I'm relieved I've a license to ask him to do something over and over and over again.


Goodness Me!

Forgive me if this is very old news to you.

If you know the ISBN number of a book, you can go to Wiki and look it up, scroll way down to Australasia, then New Zealand, only to find neither Nelson nor Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology libraries have what I want. I could have guessed, but it's disappointing/humiliating on a global scale.

Feet / Concepts

* * * Warning: M Word in this post * * *

Yesterday in figure/life drawing we drew feet. Just feet for the entire morning. And the model was male, so almost nil lovely curves there, and since he walks around in jandals/flip-flops and bare feet, his soles were black. Ugh.

Ronette suggested me to read Australian art critic Robert Hughes' memoir "Things I Didn't Know". It apparently has a bit about conceptual art that she knew I would like. My understanding of her interpretation of what he wrote is, conceptual art is hard to appreciate because there is not much there for the audience to appreciate. I think it means so much happens inside the artist but don't quite make it to the final work that's easy to see.

Hey, I mean absolutely no offense to those who practice conceptual. I see how it can be a thrilling intellectual exercise on the part of the maker. But it explains to me why, often, I come away feeling I've just witnessed yet another creative masturbation. I think the concepts in the artist's heads don't often translate into something visual (in case of visual arts and ... dance?) which can easily be picked up by the audience who hasn't been inside the artist's head. Ergo conceptual art by friends (whose background or process I may be privy to) or artists about whom I've read a little are a tad easier on my head, if not eyes or heart.

And I don't discount the fact I've an unsophisticated/uneducated, stone-age, salon/art-society aesthetic, (OK, not "art society",) but I've never made a secret I want art to be beautiful, at least pretty.

I love Saturday mornings.

EDIT: Didn't realize he was main stream in New York since 1970, and of a somewhat controversial character, I see..

Jammy is No Longer

Just as I was slowly coming around to the notion of joining Jammy, rather than Etsy, I got this a minute ago:
In the short time Jammy has been online we’ve achieved a lot. We have raised our Artist's profiles tenfold & secured sales from around the globe. This effort has only been possible with the co-operation of our Artists, our Jammy customers and advertisers.
On a global scale times are tough and quite possibly about to get a whole lot worse. There is not the money in the marketplace for luxury goods and sales have been falling. People are more cautious and non essential purchases are being kept to a minimum. In these times of financial upheaval it’s difficult for a site like Jammy to operate successfully.
We have carefully considered our position and think it best that we discontinue the site as at 26th March 2009. Jammy is a long held dream. Now is the time to retreat, reflect and review.
Thanks to all of you for your support. Should you have any worries or concerns please do not hesitate to contact us.
I would have thought this kind of venture is easier than a physical retail store, but perhaps not. Artists without husbands with day jobs may need to suspend art practice and get real jobs, if they can. Sad, though. I was ready to support local in this case, and you know the name describes my lifes. I even emailed to ask if they were only temporarily closed, but all I got was the non-delivery notice.


Why Bother Handweaving?

I started threading last Thursday afternoon, so it's been a week since I last sat here. I can't go faster than two hours per inch, particularly when tradesmen keep coming and going, but that's a good thing; the tile man and the plumber were here today. Not so great that I worked at least a good half day and got only two and a half inches threaded, though. This warp at 96EPI is 16 inches wide, so 25 hours to go.

I'm trying this new thing sitting between the back beam and the back of the heddles, on a tiny fold-up fishing chairs. I find that even with the breast and the knee beams removed, standing or sitting on different height chairs, if I'm in front of the heddles, my arms are never long enough to work comfortably, and my eyes must work harder to focus. This new method seems to be working so far, though I'm mindful of the number of ends and the hassle of correcting mistakes, and I'm proceeding slowly.

And since this is such a slow process, I can't help contemplating once again what Randy Darwall asks; and I'll paraphrase in my typically simplistic way: "why bother handweaving?"

I might like the colors in this warp, though would you believe I'm not a gradation girl? And maybe this is not going to be a scarf, so it' doesn't matter these cottons have a steely feel, but it limits the use a bit. I'm happy for myself I'm finally weaving in the scale, (I think that's what I mean) I've always wanted to, but what's the merit of me sitting in that cramped space threading sewing threads for days on end? This could definitely be done quickly in a mill, and won't they produce a more evenly woven cloth? Why did I decide to weave this kind of a warp and what am I aiming to achieve? Better yet, what am I going to make? And I have no answer.

Some of Us Are Geniuses

Cally Booker: "But as far as medium goes, if painting is superior to music, then I reckon weaving has the edge over painting for simultaneity. It is the very nature of woven cloth that you have two threads crossing at point after point after point. And that is only single cloth. I see this as a doublecloth project: two warps, two wefts and a rich interchange between the layers. Yesterday and tomorrow interwoven and interacting."

More here.


I'm Being Kreativ

As if to reward me for switching my thinking towards alternative ways to salvage my cotton scarf, (instead of chucking the old and getting a new one,) Geodyne sent me a wee gift. Thank you, my friend.

Eight of you are requested to pick this up and run with it, so if you'd like, copy the wee lovely icon, (or ask me), and leave a comment so I can put your link in the body of this post.

Thanks again, Geodyne.

Different Alternatives

I rang Ronette, who is not only my drawing teacher, but an ex-weaver and ex-weaving teacher.

Her first suggestion was meth, second glycerin. The third suggestion was more acrylic. She initially meant for me to use a tiny brush to cover enough of the white spots. But then we started to talk about surface painting. And I wonder, has anyone used acrylic paint to embelish a cotton scarf? Do you think it will be very stiff?

The other option is beading and possibly embroidery, but I think this one is too netty to hold the weight of beads (unless I can find really tiny ones) or be the base for embroidery floss.

So now I'm looking for alternatives; instead of removing the boo boo, can I cover it in an attractive way?


It appears it is paint, possibly oil soluble. (EDIT: I had no rhyme or reason why I said oil soluble, other than that it didn't flake off like I expected acrylic paint to do. Donno....) I tried hot water, cold water, diluted regular laundry liquid, baking soda and gentle brushing, but the paint appears to have soaked into the fiber rather than sitting on the surface, and is not flaking off. I am thinking of testing turpentine and methylated spirit on a sample piece, but if the paint is in the fiber, it'll entail soaking a bit, won't it? Oh, Gwoowwd, why me?

Am I now officially the most post-delivery-accident-prone weaver, or do you have have tales to tell also?

The good news is, this piece looks stunning underwater. So shall I sell it as part of a bathing outfit?

PS. I have thought of steam iron, but would that soak the stuff further into the fiber or make it flaky?

PPS: Paint shop said meth if it looks water-based. Grrrrrr.......

PPPS: Spoke to the cotton supplier whose dad happens to be a painter, and recommended meth. I think the verdict is out.

PPPPS: Spoke to Jay at the gallery and she's offered to buy the piece, but I said I'd try meth anyway. Meanwhile, she's look up her book of stain removal and advise.

PPPPPS: Riki the tile guy and Taueret suggested superfine sandpaper, but I don't think the threads are thick enough to withstand it... But please read the next post.

Update: I dabbed cotton in meth, placed one under the mark, one over and gently patted. Absolutely nothing happened, except the warp around the area is getting much to fuzzy. I am disappointed, as I had envisioned the point quickly dissolving in meth.

Green Day

I so easily forget - some of you are still celebrating St Pat's Day... Connie, Sue and Alice are all green. I'm halfway through Wednesday now.

(I'm waiting for tradesmen, and procrastinating paperwork, but as soon as I finish paperwork, I can go and thread and sley!)

I AM a Speaker of English as a Second Language, You Know...

From the on-line Thesaurus...

Main Entry: pull
Part of Speech: verb
Definition: drawing something with force
Synonyms: cull, dislocate, drag, evolve, extract, gather, haul, heave, jerk, lug, paddle, pick, pluck, remove, rend, rip, row, schlepp*, sprain, strain, stretch, take out, tear, tow, trail, truck, tug, twitch, uproot, weed*, wrench, yank
Antonyms: push
* = informal/non-formal usage

I am only trying to write a tiny mini-paragraph-ette on the care labels, "mercirized cotton is slippery. If yarns pull, gently (insert verb) in different directions". What??? Shelepp?

But seriously, would this do? I know some of the cashmere catches occasionally, so I thought I'd add it at the end of my default care instruction. Does that make sense to you? It feel soooo.... lame.
"If yarns/threads in this piece catch or pull, gently tug the area in different directions."


My List

I wrote this list on a paper napkin at Delicious this morning. It's hilarious but hopeful.


* A simple, uncluttered house.
* A lovely garden, full of flowers.
* A lovely design room with fabric-covered notebooks!!
* Productivity
* Lots of baking
* Lots of freshly painted/re-upholstered "stuff", inside and out.
* Bedroom with carpet, curtains and no dangerous piles of books. Maybe a bookshelf?

Gosh, if only all these things happened automagically, life would be wonderful. Nancy says I suffer from Destination Addiction and I'm glad there is a name to this tendency I've had for as long as I can remember.

If there is anything I learned from this renovation saga, though, it's a mighty valuable one. Even if we (buy and) win Lotto, we won't build our dream home. Life is too short. Not even a folly.

Oh, the second one; ain't gonna happen. No matter how much I try, (which I did in 2000 and 2001) Nelson climate is ten steps ahead of me.

What a Lovely Morning

I had a lovely day today. So lovely I had to write in my notebook, "What a lovely morning!" (So, Dana, not grumpy!!)

The day started with a blood test, about four months overdue. A new health initiative is trying to pick up potential heart patients, and Ben and I were spotted eating too much New Zealand cheese. We've been asked to go see a nurse and be sternly warned.

Usually there are only female nurses of various sizes at the MedLab, but today I got an All Black, John, (well, he was that big,) who plunged the needle in my arm and got the stuff out real quick.

Then I went to Delicious and had a late breakfast by myself. I loved it. I finished reading Joanne Harris' "Lollipop Shoes" this morning and got started on Geraldine Brooks' "March". Late last year I happened to pick up her "People of the Book" and absolutely cherished the experience. I emailed Carol the book artist, who recommended "March". In fact, I bought two more Harris books and "March" at the used book store for the price of one new book. Nice!

Going back to this morning, instead of staying with "March", I started writing. I don't know why but I was in that kind of a mood and what with the quick trip in January and the renovation since February, I'd not been in that space for yonks. Lovely and relaxing.

Then I worked at the Gallery and it was busy enough but I was efficient and got quite a lot done, and Jay was pleased; life doesn't get better than that. OK, if I could sell a piece for what a similar sized painting goes for, that would be really good, but I don't think that's going to happen. Yet.

I found one of my cotton scarves had some paint on it, so I brought that home to wash. You now I've had stuff stolen before, but never damaged or soiled, so Jay and I were a little surprised but it's not that serious.

The renovation, I'm not sure how much longer it's going to go on; my guess is three weeks intermittently. Tiles and wood burner is supposed to be finished tomorrow, fingers crossed. Ryan-the-chippie got married on Saturday and won't be back from Fiji for a couple of weeks, but I requested he finish the job. Nigel the plumber's baby was born yesterday morning, so he's a bit late but he'll be here tomorrow.

I had my last slot with the psychologist on Monday. At least two of the four slots I had, designed to for me to learn about anxiety and depression coping techniques, were spent on my recounting the renovation story, which she found hilarious and entertaining. So I'm not sure what I learned there, except, "often with women, depression is inner anger". Okaaaayyyyyyy... Plus I still need to find a new GP after my beloved Eva deserted us. Wait, GP resigning from medicine and Psychologist leaving town - is this a good time to get paranoid?

Anyway, at least for tonight, I'm back where I was at the start of the year when 2009 was going to be a colorful, preposterous, meaningful year. I can't really start my weaving year until the renovation is finished, but I think I can manage. "Cool bananas," as the woman from the framing supply shop said to me on the phone.

PS. Taueret rang me from Australia; said she gets good phone deals. She's a rather mind-blowingly fabulous person, and I had great fun talking to her. Technology is good when it works. And when it doesn't break your bank.


Friday the 13th

We've had two of those this year, haven't we? Friday the 13th, I mean. Never mind, it's not all bad for me; my sister was born on Friday the 13th; Ben's birthday falls on Friday the 13th every few years. Susan B gave me a treat on Friday, and I went to the dentist and after a grueling 45 minutes, I discovered I don't have to have a crown replaced, so that 45 minutes and another three hours of numbness was it for this tooth. Phew. I can live with that.

Meanwhile I got the first part of the building invoice, the builder bumped into the corner of the wall, and fire installation is not finished, and they want to come on Tuesday, which, I've been telling them for weeks, is not a good day for me.

I picked up Joanne Harris' "Lollipop Shoes" on Friday, and have enjoyed reading it. In fact, I cleaned the house for only half a day on Saturday, (was planning to do tons more), and read the rest of the time. I liked the film "Chocolat"; this is supposed to be a sequel/extension, but is much darker and modern. I must read "Chocolat". I also got her "Coastliners" book-on-tape from the library a couple of years ago and listened while I weeded; that was a good "read", too.

Going back to Susan's tag, my five obsessions... ONLY FIVE???
1) Breads - eating, baking, getting recipes for good bread; the more labor intensive the baking, the more enjoyable.
2) Weaving, of course. Reading about, talking about, thinking about, looking up information on, or handling textiles. Even preparing the loom, though this took years to like. On Friday, in fact, Ali who studied Jacquard weaving in France/UK last year showed me her samples and some photos of the loom and I think I finally have some idea of how it works, though now I'm not sure how Damask loom works. (Damask, it it, the other one??)
3) Bookstore browsing. I don't read nearly as much as I used to, but I like to go to bookstores just to see what's available, and what people are reading. I'm a sucker for books with beautiful covers, too.
4) Cleanliness and Order - to the point I can gauge when I'm depressed or not by how willing I am to clean and tidy. And it's a good sign I've been keen to do more of this (except this weekend) for the first time since early 2003. I'm not pleased with the amount of work which awaits me, though. Not at all.
5) It's a close tie between To Do listing, (nerd!) and blogging, but this morning I'm feeling lukewarm about both. I can tell you it's not gardening, though I wish it was.

You're it now.


Remembering 1961 / Tapa Goes to Melbourne

Monday night we got a telephone call we awaited for months; our friends Ron and Puffs arrived at Nelson. My dad worked with Ron at the University of Minnesota in 1961-63, so I was three when I first met them. We've somehow managed to meet up every decade or so, in Japan, Minnesota, or Melbourne, with or without my parents. They're the only ones we've managed to keep in touch from my parents' Minnesota days.

We spent Monday evening and all of Tuesday reminiscing, retelling stories even Ben knows by heart, and my discovering a few new or forgotten details, whilst visiting Nelson's wineries, potters and an eatery with a spectacular, typically Nelson view. And hearing about their grandchildren and telling them about my parents' grandchildren. It's interesting how the retelling never gets old, and how I am quickly three again, Ron mentally picking me up and putting me on his shoulders. On the other hand, they've lived in Australia for over 40 years, (they're originally from Liverpool,) and we in New Zealand for 14, so we did engage in a bit of Trans-Tasman bantering, and musing and sharing of implants' views of our adopted countries.

The cherry on top was Puffs, (whose real name is Elspeth, which I didn't know until possibly 1988,) selecting Tapa for her upcoming significant birthday present. Watch out Melbourne; this is my first piece to cross the ditch that I'm aware of. Well, Melbourne isn't that far, so it's high time we paid them another visit, really.


How do you Protect your Work?

I had a lovely day, and I'll tell you all about it in the next couple of days. But I had to show someone some of the big pieces I had at home, and she found one piece to have been eaten in several places by moths. Lucky it was one of the earlier pieces, and just the one only, not one of the ex-exhibition pieces, but I was quite shocked. My stash room may be messy, but I thought I was good with bug-prevention. I have to rethink this and use more chemicals possibly. Are all of your lovely past creations OK?

EDIT: TWO pieces, and not the most expensive yarns by human/monetary standards, but pure wool bits.


Mine or Someone Else's??

The reason why I've been procrastinating, for which I haven't found the right words to explain, boils down to a choice between weaving something I know will work, or something I like and want to weave and put my name on, even if it's the less successful (in a conventioanl way) choice.

It's so long ago I keep having to refer to my December post, but I wrote "the warp, in two chains, has 1536 ends, enough for 16 inches/40cm at 96EPI" in 25 colors.

When I made this warp, the end product was going to be a 3- or 4-sided hanging installation with a light shining from the bottom up on the inside of the ... hanging thing, but secured at the top and weighted at the bottom, so it could rotate. With that in mind, I created a few drafts that showed off the warp-wise color transition, without obvious weft-wise distraction. I wanted a continuum or a relationship from one panel to the next as the whole thing rotated. As drafts these aren't overly exciting, but as a hanging installation piece, I thought it would look... contained... not distracted... clean and simple. Perhaps like a "nice" interior piece. Here's an example:

This pic is in landscape, but the piece would have been about 2 meters long and around 40 centimeters wide, and I get the feeling the draft would have enhanced the main attraction, the colors. At least the changes of shapes wouldn't have competed with the color changes.

But I decided some time ago I was going to weave the warp into three or four shawls instead, and as it has become my (good) habit, I tried other threading. In the one below, the threading still advances, but the repeat is greater, so the change in the (... ok, I'm struggling with the explanation,) pattern is more gradual. And there is far more weft-wise design changes, or divisioins. I'm not sure how this will work with the warp color changes.

I inserted a few random colorchanges in the draft here and I was horrified how the colors overtook the shapes, though these colors are not accurate representation of the real warp.

In the draft below, I used the threading from the top draft, and the treadling in the second draft, and came up with a draft much too horizontally-stripy to use in a gradated warp.

Sometime ago when I was on the "inevitable cloth" high, I think I wrote that I wanted the color transition to... go hand in hand with the shape transition; at least not have one get in the way of the other. I see that I've been making many weft-stripe style drafts and worry these won't work harmonously with the current warp.

I believe the top draft and similar will produce the more harmonious, appealing end product, but I can't help feeling I've seen many pieces like these before. I love the second draft and similar because they are the indulgent, Geek Drafts which feel like "my" work. I am having to decide between weaving pieces that will probably be more successful but which I don't feel are uniquely mine, and pieces which are probably less successful but to which I feel more attached.

And I'm not re-threading 1536 ends mid-warp.



Watched the Peter Collingwood DVD, realizing I knew nothing about him except as a famous weaver and the author of the rug book, and another I have which he coauthored with Ann Sutton and Anna Jackson. And Mom's love-of-her-weaving-life. I'm sorry, but the bra straps of the interviewer in the first DVD really bothered me I was unable to concentrate; I shall try again and just listen.

I'm procrastinating work, because I can't make up my mind about threading, and for a good reason, but I can't explain them in words just yet. I keep printing out drafts, sticking them on windows and doors and grunt and moan in front of them drinking endless cups of warm comforting drinks.

I know it's now do-or-die stage, but I can't decide or justify...

Thinking and Not Thinking

I've been happy I've not been pondering the Art vs Craft question, and just getting down to doing my thing. I almost blogged about it this morning, but there was nothing to say! So I worked some more on the Geek Drafts (I like this name!) and then I remembered something.

Back in 90's when I embarked on my flower arrangement/floral art phase, I bought tons of books on the different styles. Among them was a book by a potter, I think, who never had lessons but just loved making arrangements, and had a collection of his arrangements photographed and published. I thought it was the most beautiful of them all, until I started to take lessons, and after a few months I hated the book so much I threw it in the trash.

Japanese flower arrangement is formal, and for the first several years, depending on how strict your master is, you just plonk stuff to a formula. But these are tried and tested formulae, and follow the rules of aesthetics, and though the different schools may give them different names, the fundamental principles are the same. These formulae aim to make flower arrangements look beautiful. And once you know these rules, you start to look at arrangements in what I assume is a more discerning, learned way.

The arrangements in the said book looked so messy, unfocused, like, quite frankly, attractive women sitting with their knees apart!

I studied Western style flower arrangement as well, and though there are some interesting differences, (in most Japanese styles, the main/central flower or branch leans slightly forward so the arrangement looks like they're coming at you, making you take notice,) there are many rules in common.

While flicking from one draft to another, I was wondering if my Geek Drafts are like the potter's flower arrangements; I wondered if one day I'll know more about weaving and beautify that I would shudder to look at my undisciplined-ness.

And then we go back to the question of for whom we weave and whether I want a direct and immediate appeal to people who get me, or the approval of the discerning and the learned. (Both would be nice, but I can't think that far ahead.) Never ends, does it?


Finance News

I'm loosing the plot with this house project; I've begun to confuse the names of the tradesmen and request/report the wrong things. I'm on the verge of tears most of the day, but not when I need to talk to the tradesmen. If reason can't get through to them, I wondered if feminine tears would work, but I'm so not that kind of a Sheila, and I'll probably burst out laughing. I've always found it tricky to try to be stern and make a point across, and being nice and not offensive; I often send mixed messages this way.

National Radio was on while I made lunch. I don't pay attention to the finance news, but today I giggled twice. I'm paraphrasing, but here goes:

"(British Prime Minister Gordon) Brown's speech in front of the US Congress was interrupted upwards of seventeen times by standing ovations."

I can't decide if he was uncomfortable or secretly pleased; I've tried to watch him on YouTube but the subject being not the most riveting, I only got to the first applause.

"Every (Japanese) person will receive 12,000 yen (from the government) in the hopes of boosting the economy."

Yeah, right; that'll pay for one really nice lunch, an OK-but-short night out, or grocery for one day for a family of two to four. Some T-shirts cost more than that.

Then I watched 20 minutes of the American version of Strip Tease, where young muscular men bitched and moaned and threw tantrums. Those blokes made me look composed in comparison.


Trying to Make the Best of My Day

Didn't see the front of the hearth until I peeled back the carpet today to wash the tiles. GRRRRRRRR!!!!!

I got one draft draft. C'est tout. Not exactly productive, but nothing like a fussy draft to calm this noisy mind. (Not exactly "funky", however.)

You are Your Soul

Just heard on the radio, while scrubbing the kitchen ceiling; CS Lewis supposedly said, "You do not have a soul; you are one." Nice, don't you think?


Benefits of Facebook

I shudder to think that without Facebook, the previous post would have been much longer! It's nice to have two places to whine and rant and get sympathy. Though certain people get repeats of the same whine. Sorry, H.

Bloodless (Comparatively) Tuesday

The house saga continues. This morning I was ready to kill a few big blokes. I had to sort things out once and for all, so I didn't go to work and asked (told?) Ben to stay home, because some of these guys are big and I was more than a little terrified. The lesson of the day is a recurring theme for me: talk to the person who can remedy a situation, not to folk who are nice or easier to get along with, or the one who will never get it. I never seem to learn this, but today we came to an acceptable compromise. I hesitate to think it was because Ben was here, and I hope we're not going to be charged for their error.

Neighbor Neil came over and cut some branches; they were sticking out over the fence (not a big problem) and clotting his patio gutter (problem.) I started tidying the area a couple of months ago, and left the high bits for Ben and forgot all about it. It's pleasant talking to Neil about.... stuff. He's a proactive calmer-downer, a solution guy, whereas Ben's a contagious calmer-downer, which doesn't work on me sometimes.

Joinery guys came to measure the pantry; they're from an old, reputable company; the main guy had an Irish (?) accent, (guilty of noticing accents!), the younger guy looked like Tolkien's elf in dreads.

Still needing to get some morning yuckiness out of my system, I started scrubbing the kitchen cupboard doors. Which was silly considering not all the work in the kitchen is finished, but I had to physically get rid of yuckiness. If I'd washed the insides of the cupboards, it would have been far more productive, and I knew this then, but sometimes I find it very hard to be reasonable.

Lest you think I've nothing weaving-related, I posted a few weaving pics on my Facebook. (There I have two photo albums named "My Life as it Is" and "My Life as it Should Be" and the weaving pics are in the latter, of course.) All these years later, Lalla, who now lives in the Middle East, finally got to see my weaving today, and she approves. To me, it was like tracking down a kindy teacher or a nurse from the maternity ward where/when I was born!

Tomorrow can only be better.


Bl@@dy Monday

Heaps of problems with the construction, but I'm in denial.

Australian Broadcasting Corporation sent me another form email reassuring me they received my email, and the reply will arrive in up to four weeks. So I have four more weeks of freedom!

Made up a "package" to non-line Marlborough Weavers about our blog. I used big fonts and included lots of screen shots so the thing came to whopping 20 printed pages. Goodness gracious me!! I edited some, but I felt I needed to give them essentially the same info as what the on-liners have been receiving, so out went the forest.

Received "Patterns of Life: West African Strip-Weaving Traditions" by Peggy Stoltz Gilfoy, a book I wanted for ages, in the mail; I bought it from Amazon marketing place man in Arizona.

Got the Collingwood DVD in the mail a while back, but haven't felt like watching it yet. Maybe tonight's the night.

Kinda got the gist of Facebook, quicker than I expected. Don't want to know too much, just as long as I can follow what my friends are doing.

Tomorrow is another day.


Thanks for Polling / Facebook

Thank you all for indicating your interest in SSVE. It was never meant to be a popularity contest but I worried Geodyne and I would have to weave lots had we been the only ones interested. I'm glad some felt comfy enough to vote "Hophum" or "No, Thanks," too, because it's not for everyone.

If you indicated to the affirmative or commented thus, thank you and I look forward. But SSVE is a casual affair, so if something comes up and you can't, don't fret. And if you hadn't indicated interest but want to take part, that's OK, too.

* * * * *

Yeah... Facebook. I now realize why Taueret thought Twitter would suited me; that compulsion for disclosure. Guilty as charged. But Twitter's word limit was much too short for the Long-Winded One. I can manage Facebook's limits. Most times. And I'm catching up with non-weaving friends who find Unravelling a bit too heavy going, so that's nice.

When I first discovered blogging, courtesy of Rosy and Liz, (who now got me into this Facebook mess,) I remember staying on the computer for hours, and I mean 7 and 11 hours every day for about three months. I had tendinitis on the right wrist, so I couldn't weave, and I typed with my left hand only. And that was just visiting photoblogs with few or no words! But I got over it after a while; I wanted to make Unravelling interesting so I had to weave. And lucky me, I'm still keen to make Unravelling interesting, so I don't mind working towards that. (Oh, yeah, then there's the tiny problem of Esty... and my web site content...)

I'm a Aries. I'm supposed to get stuck right into things, and then get bored soon after, aren't I? So I'm not sure how the Facebook phase will last, but it is a good way to connect. I see that now. I've had an interesting conversation with four people I've never met. Only one of them, Rosy, knows Liz, whom I know in person.

As your Prez might say, "How about that!"

I Just Heard from Lalla Jones!

Lalla has been teaching English all over African and the Middle East, and gave away her two looms last year to someone in Tucson. It must be the first time we communicated since... 1979? Facebook is officially very cool in my book now.

Is There a Name to This Feeling?

There was this man at the theater last night. In the audience. I couldn't keep my eyes off of him. He looked a lot like Harold Ramis, (huge crush, short-lived, but it lingers on and on!!) except possibly younger, (well, I didn't stare!), and with straight, short, dark hair; nice haircut. But his eyes were just like Harold's; you know the kind that's ready to smile any moment. And I know why I couldn't keep my eyes off him.

I was looking up my high school and college friends on Facebook all day. Some used their senior year pics for their profile pic, some used pics with kids or spouses/partners, and some had respectable photos. Dave looked respectable and he looked totally different and yet exactly the same as he did in our senior year.

Strange feeling. Blogging and the Internet has made Minnesota (and other places) more immediate in my life at the bottom of the planet. Now with Facebook, I can potentially look at photos and information they themselves put up, which is quite different from looking at photos of places I used to know shot by someone else. Freaky... Dave doesn't look exactly like Harold Ramis or the man in the theater, but all three kind of melted together to represent the closeness I felt to Minnesota all day.

Don't even know if the man at the theater was American or Kiwi or something else entirely. He could have been Canadian for all I know and take exception to my superimposing Minnesota upon him...

What if it was Harold Ramis and I missed my one chance to say hello? Didn't think of that last night! Now, if he looked like Mandy Patinkin, I wouldn't waste a second and go straight up to him. (He's been to Aussie, you know. He was on Rove...)

Will Interpol Come After Moi?

Very late last night, after having read an Artlink article by Marcus Westbury, I got curious about ABC2's "Not Quite Art" so Googled it. It turned out to be an ABC2 page Lynne recommended yonks ago. I tried to download an MP4 file, and a screen came up and said something or rather, so I skipped it the way I usually do these pages and downloaded an WMV file. (No screens popped up here, no other obstacles in downloading WMV.) But something about that skipped page kept niggling me so I went somewhere and discovered that, because of copyright laws, these episodes can be downloaded in Australia only!! Shivers. I freaked out a little, very quietly.

I know I've been a bit careless in posting the faces of friends without asking, but I'm usually careful and conscientious about other folks' rights, and usually only put links, and if I do post photos, they are by permission. So I deleted the vid right away without looking. But I was so worried I wrote to ABC telling them what I'd done, but it's weekend over there, too, and thus far I only got the automated reply. I hope they'll be forgiving, but if suddenly I stop posting, it will be because Interpol or the Australian police have contacted Nelson police and Nelson police confiscated my laptop and threw me in the slammer, or similar. And then I'll never ever be able to travel to Australia or the US, ever, again...

Please forgive me, ABC. And please consider making the program available to buy legally? And will the rest of you write to me in jail?