'Tis the Season to Ponder Concepts

This morning, I woke up to a bad dream. I was at Refinery Art Space at an opening of a exhibition/production, when Lloyd Harwood approached me to let me know the Fiber ("Fibre", here) Arts Award show "Changing Threads" is officially on again in 2011; there, amongst happy, excited school kids, the concept of "concept" started to wear me down.

Before I go on with this woe-is-me post, (not really,) let me spread the word that this show is indeed on again. I swear to the Weaving Goddess I found this announcement in Facebook this morning!

I've been struggling with my life of a weaver, being my own boss, in control of my schedule, projects, life. There is so much I can be doing, but I've been unable to prioritize, to focus, and frustrated with how long each task/project takes to complete.

Although I've been hoping to add to my stock at the three galleries in town, (because I wasn't able to get to work on an Etsy store yet again this gift-giving season,) I haven't had pieces coming off of my looms. Which partly caused the lack of sales this year, although, again, it's my priorities that is skewed because I've had a long-standing commission on which I finally started working after a friendly nudge from the client.  And worst of all, I haven't been lazy; I've been chiseling away at my mountain a little bit, every day.

As usual, I have theories. One is this "concept" thing: since I started thinking about art vs crafts, I feel guilty if I weave something not preceded with a drawn-out design process. I still feel I have to reinvent the wheel before every warp or series. I know it's silly but I haven't found a happy place of reasonable compromise.

The other is this. My dear mild-to-moderate depression started 18 months before I resolved to be a "proper" weaver; back then this meant since I was no longer willing to work in office jobs, I had to earn some money to finance my favorite hobby. Though I haven't been depressed for a year, I don't know how to operate when I'm well because I've never had the combination of not-depressed and being-a-weaver.

Though I have vague schedules, I am have become flexible, (which is a good thing for me in the scheme of things,) always aware that things may go down at any time. Pessimism? Maybe. Self-fulfilling prophecy? Not necessarily. As one learns to live with depression, we're taught to spot symptoms early so we are always aware, so it's pragmatism, (again, good for me.) The frustration of unproductivity hasn't been interrupted by depression meanwhile, so it's been building up like magma, occasionally spewing steam and hot rocks, but mostly turning into dread and foreboding quite different from depression.

While I was desperate to get better, I didn't pay much attention to my age other than as a number, but now that I've been better, I realize I'm 52 years old and seriously wonder how many good weaving years I've got left in me, what with all the minor physical problems tugging at my work shirt sleeves most days. How much time I have to learn and improve.

I know a good life. I live in a place where some folks call paradise. Ben is my rock and my soul mate, my provider and sometimes, cook.  And though I covet, I really don't have to have any more books, yarns, or equipment to weave happily.  Goodness knows I have plenty of books whose pictures I have studied over and over but never bothered with the words, and there are plenty more I can revisit and study. And though they are old and fragile, my parents in their early 80's still have reasonable lives; Mom and I still discuss our current and prospective waving projects every week.

I've been plagued by travel envy again. First there's the fact that we can't afford to travel, and if we could, we'd most probably go home to see my folks, again. I'm starting to wonder if I'll every visit places like Italy, France, Portugal or Croatia, or even Minneapolis and Maine (Halcyon!) in my lifetime. But this time the envy was triggered by the realization how many weavers travel long ways to attend conferences and workshops. That's definitely not on my dance card. The Internet has alleviated my sense of seclusion a great lead, quite remarkably even in the last five years, but I live in fear of being behind the times and therefore ignorant. So I read about your travels thirstily, and I study your photograph carefully. Then, some days, sadness descends.

And yet, most days, I want to be further secluded from the world and retreat to my cocoon and, yes, just weave.  So there's no pleasing me. And that frustrates me; I wasn't always this grumpy old ingrate.

* * *

I received Best of Weavers' Summer & Winter book; there's a few weeks of good read in that slim volume. I always liked Weavers articles where they showed drafts and photos of all permutations of one idea because that's how I think and they save me from having to sample likewise.  There are two more books I ordered before I discovered how really broke I am last week, ($1.83 in my account; I kid you not!) but these will keep me busy, potentially for the rest of my life.

I finished reading Donna Sullivan's Summer & Winter book the first time around.  Talk about a slim volume jam-packed with information.  I'm going back the second time and will do a post with what appeals to me.  But I have to share this with you.  I went and bought...

"Black barrel swivel with interlock snap, size 12" at the fishing shop for $5.  It's the interlock part that I need and I might have to cut off the swivel part, but they didn't sell just the interlock part.  Sullivan's book demonstrates how you can do Collinwood's shaft-switching with these little babies.     

* * * * *

I was sick from Friday to yesterday; nothing to do with my head, just a cold; the type of cold I get once or twice a year where fever creeps up on me and if I don't take care it knocks me out for a couple of days.  That must be why I was so uninspired over the weekend about stitching for the Indigo Evening. I stitched three pieces in an appalling just so I'd have something to dye, and ended up missing the Evening anyway.

India Flint's workshop in Nelson starts this weekend.  I hope everybody has a fabulous time.  Meanwhile, I'm going to put away my dye material for now and concentrate on weaving, with our without concepts.


Meg said...

Now that I got that off my chest, I can go exercise, eat breakfast, shower, then weave. Yay!!!

Meg said...

On envy: just so you know, I don't wish that any of my friend NOT travel, not at all. I just feel left out because I can't, as if I don't deserve to. So, travel away, chronicle away! I do appreciate your posts.

Anonymous said...

May I recommend the following reading, which, in my own case, I have found very helpful:

"Chapter 7: Gifts of Depression," in Thomas Moore, CARE OF THE SOUL, New York: HarperPerennial, 1992, ISBN: 0060165979, pp. 137-154.

Meg said...

Right-o, I might go look for it in the library. For a while, there, I thought you were recommending a 18C writing!