Our annual holiday studio sale is this weekend, which means the next few days will be a flurry of pricing and tagging products to sell, cleaning my working studio (which truly needs it), and transforming that space into a comfortable place to shop.
It never feels like I’m quite ready, but this year especially feels like a lot of things have slipped through my fingers. Including the typo in the image above. But after being gone for three weeks in October, I feel like it’s an achievement just to be wearing clean underwear.
This weekend has been our annual fishing camp, and my studio was temporarily converted into Fly Tying Central. But once the feathers and flash are picked up this afternoon, I’ll start spreading out natural dye materials to dry while I’m away teaching at Convergence.
Convergence is the Handweavers Guild of America biennial conference. Packing for an event like this is best done without any distractions — at least for me. At least if there’s anything that has to be counted. So I got all that done before our company arrived on Friday.
Having no close neighbors and an indulgent husband, I’m able to keep an old bathtub in the back yard. I don’t use it every year, but for soaking willow or retting bark it’s sure comes in handy. This time, I’m using it to soak some peeled willow I need to get split.
What generally drives you — process or product? I tend to fall strongly in the process camp. Tweak this, vary that, see what happens: That never gets old for me. But sometimes at the end of the day you crave tangible evidence that you got something done. So here it is: a lecture, a class outline, and an experiment working Broden stitch nalbinding from a rosette start, trying to push it from round to lozenge-shaped, then cutting the spiral (yes, one row was lost but the rest held).
I tend to work things out by making them. The same is true for my writing: I write to figure out what it is I have to say. This winter, with my dye studio on hiatus, I’ve been alternating my time between looping experiments and writing projects for the Daily Yonder, a blog from the Center for Rural Strategies. They just published one of the hardest things I’ve ever written — an article about surviving a crash caused by a drunk driver. The crash was 18 years ago, and it’s taken me a long time to work out what I was supposed to learn from it.
“Make hay while the sun shines.” We actually did make hay when I was a kid, and I still live pretty well tuned to the season. So back in mid-November, I was taking advantage of the lack of snow to gather material and do natural dyeing with fresh materials before winter set in. I thought the sun would shine, metaphorically, long enough for me to dye and get a bunch of new scarves photographed and listed in my Etsy shop for holiday sales before a short trip to visit my parents. Of course, you know what happens to a plan like that.
Good thing I blogged about it so I knew what that yarn was dyed with when I found it again six weeks later.
Today, I gave myself permission to ignore my to-do list (prep for Sievers workshop next week) until afternoon. By then, I should have a huge accumulation of laundry washed and hung to dry. In between trips to the clothesline, I need to download a huge accumulation of stuff from my head. Some are things I wish I had taken better pictures of, or better notes, or any pictures or notes, because I think you would find them inspirational. Others may be of no interest to anyone but me. But it’s hard to be tidy during a mental house-cleaning, so here’s goes.
Where snow cover and freezing temps are the norm for four or five months, you have to plan ahead to use local natural dye materials in the winter. I dry some things, press leaves for ecoprinting, and store bags of fresh willow leaves, rhubarb leaves and other materials in the freezer.
Nothing deflates the euphoria of finishing a piece quite like having to get it ready to ship to an exhibition. But it does feel good to get that job done. Here’s how I prepared “Shoal” for shipping and storage.
One of my goals for January was to make my web site work better for people reading them on mobile devices, and it’s finally done.
Some other things got updated, as well. When the Sievers site opens for 2015 class registrations on February 1 I’ll update the direct links to my Local Color To Wear class (July 27-31) and Natural Dye Retreat (October 13-17). Registration is now open for the Midwest Weavers Conference and the National Basketry Organization biennial conference. More workshop information, including links to eCourse registrations, is here.
There are probably other things I missed that should be updated. If you spot something, please let me know!
Since you may be working on taxes too, you won’t find it surprising that I’ve had a couple of sleepless nights lately. Not that there’s anything in particular to worry about, but sleep won’t come. And then you lie there, thinking. And sometimes, you think of something useful.