Something Fishy This Way Comes *

Just catching up on the news can be defeating and take a well-planned day and let it loose to skitter off like a leaf succumbing to a fall wind. I am learning to do some very specific and essential things for spiritual reasons. I have found that for the past year, since tRump’s election, I have experienced a vague sense of paralysis. But here’s the thing:

At the beginning of the year, I charged out on 2017 with fire in my bones. I was so furious with the 2016 election that the only safe outlet was my work. With this sparks-in-the-presence-of-gas energetic focus, I made huge strides forward in tapestry weaving, I read everything I could get my hands on, trying to figure out how I could get from what is in my head to an interpretive tapestry. This includes taking another online class in Botanical Drawing (Drawing in Color), ever in pursuit of internalized understanding of color and composition. And I am still at it (and will be for many years to come), but my point here is that the reason has shifted.

Before, making beautiful and functional things was a choice – more than a hobby, but still a choice. Now, it is survival. With the daily hammering of the relentless geopolitical skirmish in the hands of a few for “Having the Most”, the world is suffering. Focusing on my work is how I make sense of the fallout.

For me, the balancing act of being informed and allowing for creative space is becoming a deliberate act of self-preservation and -cultivation. Staying connected to the source of my person, to the things that I care about dictates everything in my life. With every action, every word, I work to fuel not only myself and my focus, but the change I want to see in the world.

∗ My latest sample of a new technique (pick and pick) from my tapestry course. My instructor, Rebecca Mezoff, liked it so much she asked permission to include it in the course description on her website. (If you scroll down, you will see that something fishy this way comes.) This was, and is, enormously encouraging and fun.

For interest’s sake: Artist work habits

As always, comments are welcome and encouraged.

 

The Fireside Effect

Fall is here. After a hot summer that seemed to go on, and on, and on, I am loving the cool. I feel best when I am cool, just at the edge of cold. At this temperature I can gleefully think of snuggling in woolies: handknit sweaters, hats, scarves, mittens, socks, handwoven shawls. The love of fiber comes raging into full body contact. This is the Fireside Effect, this desire to sit, wrapped in warmth basked in the amber air of firelight, hovering near the edge of cold, spinning and weaving through the long sleep of nature.

And in truth, wool and the feel of natural fibers worked by hand echoes back to my earliest memories. Prepare yourself. My mother had two Vicuña pelts. I know, shocking, right? She always had a very guilty pleasure of the pair, passed down from her grandfather. One one hand, she was truly distressed that the endangered soul-filled dark-eyed little creatures (wild ancestor to alpacas) lost their lives for the prize of their coat. On the other, her fiber inclined fingers sought out the fibergasmic feel of them. One of my earliest memories is of her laying me down on one of the hides, naked and just out of a warm bath. The utter comfort, exquisite softness, and weightlessness of that singular physical sensation is with me still. I feel it every time my hands come in contact fiber – whether it is sheep’s wool, alpaca, yak, silk, cotton, or a blend thereof. The feel pulls me along from my beginning. So, I recreate that thread, that tie that bound, spinning weaving knitting the fabric of my every day.

Somewhere between chilled and the too chilled state that sends me skipping for the closet for a wool wrap or a sweater, I am in seek of hot tea. Hot tea joins with wool in winter when the Fireside Effect is at its height a couple months from now, hands ever seeking warmth and texture. I yearn to look up and see fat snowflakes silently falling, gathering over trees and ground, the loudness of quiet growing, everything softening as the snow deepens. But for now, I sip my tea and watch the leaves turn, wondering at how to image in tapestry, how to imagine into wool.