Wednesday, January 18, 2023


Before I started selling scarves in a gallery, a potter friend told me to never gift my scarves, nor to sell at "mates rates", because scarves where what I made to sell. I adhered to the first rule rather strictly, while the second, slightly less so for commissions pieces.  

I changed my mind about gifting five or so years ago when I discovered an Internet friend was dying of multiple heavy-duty illnesses, while being taken care of at home by his former-nurse wife. The timing followed Mom taking care of Dad, and quite a few friends and family being in the thick of it for their partners or parents. Anyone can guess how hard it is to be ill, but not necessarily how hard it is to care for someone 24/7 without a whole lot of help. 
Anyway, I withdrew a piece I called, "Mother of the Bride" from a gallery, (it was woven on the same warp as a bridal present commission,) and together with a warm, casual, short/wide, (perfect for under a cardi,) plaid piece, gifted them as Hers and His. 

I probably heard back from the Her right away electronically, but what I can't forget is a card I received sometime later, when she wore Hers at her granddaughter's wedding, reporting it became properly a "Grandmother of the Bride" piece. How sweet! 
She was great about updating His public, (they had lots of friends,) and they live/d life to the fullest whatever it threw at them for another half a decade.

* * * * *

Friends' mother had been unwell for a while, but declined rapidly in the last year. I'd never met her or her husband, but they live/d just down the road from me; even at my slow pace I could probably walk over in 15 minutes. I had offered our services during lockdown and afterwards, so this couple was always on my mind; so much so I often look/ed in the direction of their house and wondered how they are/were faring, even though friends had things so well-organized we were never called upon.

Anyway, she grew frailer last winter, so, again, I pulled out a comfy His, (similar style to the first His,) and finished a cashmere that had come off the loom but was left unfinished, and gifted them.

Not only did I receive a nice email from her, friends often told me what the mother said about her scarf, I almost felt as though I was there in her house. Apparently she wore it all the time, even in bed as I prescribed, and she treasured the lightness.

* * * * *

The first He, and the second She, passed away on the same day at the end of last year.
Awfully lot of friends, Internet friends, family of real life friends, and weavers I know (of) passed away in recent years. I miss them at different times in different ways. It's impossible to comprehend where they went; some don't feel gone at all. Come May, Dad will also l have been gone ten years, but I still imagine him walking around quietly, minding his own business, in our old house that's also been gone half a dozen years. In their absence, I must be good to the ones still around, and make the most of my time using up the stash.

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

When the Kids Leave Home

Very early on in my weaving life, I wove, probably on a rigid heddle, a spacy, gappy "shawl" using multi-colored fancy yarns with super skinny bits and large colorful bubbles. The ideas was to position these bubbles in a grid, although I couldn't articulate it at the time, let alone have the skills to execute the plan. 
I meant it for one girlfriend, who is tall, for one thing, but is more innovative in how she dresses herself than I would ever be. The moment I gave it to her, she scrunched it up and wore it as a scarf. I was startled, but impressed she knew instinctively what to do. The width of the piece suited her longish neck, certainly far better than my normal flat scarves; it was warm because of all the air pockets; and it was far too short for her to wear as a shawl. (I lengthened all my wider pieces thereafter.)
What a valuable lesson for a new weaver: once you give it to someone, it's theirs, and the piece takes on a life of its own in their hands, whatever I visualized while I made it. I imagine it must be like having your kids leave home. Parents do the best to prepare them for life outside the home, but once they leave, whatever success they achieve, even in unexpected (to the parents) ways, it's on them.
* * * * *
Every so often I like to watch the clip of Vincent being taken to Musée d'Orsay by Doctor Who and Amy. It doesn't hurt that Matt Smith is my favorite Doctor, or that Bill Nighy is one of my favorite actors. It is a well-choreographed tearjerker, made complete by Tony Curran's astonishing transformation into Vincent; I can't help feeling moved every tine.
But the episode doesn't end there. Vincent is dropped off at "Arles", (they combined Arles and Ouvers as one place,) and the Doctor and Amy rush back to the museum to see if Vincent lived longer and produced more paintings. Amy is disappointed he still died after "Wheatfield with Crows", (still disputed if this was the last canvas he painted,though.)
I see this as a nice bookend to maker's making. We can project anything we like to artwork or artist, even cook up an elaborate scheme like time travel, to try to convince an artist something they may not know, but we "know" though passage of time, but the artist remain true to themselves and will make/do what they see as best. I can't explain it better, except it's not just about tangible objects but writing/poetry/music/performance also. Something made takes a life of its own, independent of the maker.
* * * * * 
Of the five blue/yellow/gray tea towels I gave to friends, four are being used for different purposes; I was sent beautiful pics of two. The fifth, I bet, is super busy drying dishes and wooden spoons every day.