Yesterday, I took a nap.
A small triumph.
Back in the New Year!
One of the great things about comics
is that you can fit
acres of knitting projects,
dozens of looms,
and mountains of angst,
in a very small space.
Many thanks, all you lovely blog readers,
for your kind comments last week.
I love getting glimpses into your lives --
to hear what you're working on and discover how often there are parallels.
We makers are bonded by so many things,
most of us struggling to make sense of time and materials management.
From sorting ideas,
to sorting laundry,
how many projects can a person juggle in one wee, gynormous, life?
ps. A couple of questions answered:
1. The book I was listening to is Eligible, yet another modern Pride and Prejudice homage.
Will check out Magpie Murders! Thanks for the suggestion Marilee.
I do so love books-- of all sorts.
2. My six dyes: Cochineal, Madder, Weld (all three with alum/tarter), Indigo, and Walnut.
(Yes, that is five, but as you may have noticed I've been drifting back to my natural dye roots with lichen experiments, and since I'm trying a variety, with new ones waiting patiently in line, ahem Marilyn, the sixth dye is really more of a category and gets its own parenthetical aside).
3. While I won't subject you to my diary comics with every post,
I much appreciate the support for these bits of messy dailyness.
A graphic memoir-ish thing though -- golly, that'd be an undertaking.
Anyone else believe that the world needs more domestic and textile centric comics--
the ones about US-- the real superheros?
Cuz we know how to make yarn.
And cloth (in myriad guises).
Is that not a superpower?
Nancy and I have been running together
on the same three days
for..um...22 years? 23? More?
Long enough that
though I know we first shed our shoes,
for a block or so,
the doing is just...what we do.
The rhythms of yarn-making are also so fully integrated
that though I am trying to buy the odd skein these days
(there is such beautiful wool in the world, it's hard to resist),
yarn, to me, means handspun.
As for color --same six dyes have been doing the job
for decades now -- and I don't see that changing any time soon either.
With such a habit driven life
I've got to be super careful about introducing new things
(blogging, for instance),
because once I've carved out some dedicated time,
and trained myself for a bit,
I can't not,
and the days are a little shorter,
the weeks packed just a tiny bit tighter.
But having a structure
even a somewhat fluid one,
provides underlying balance,
so the things I want to do,
generally get done
and it feels good.
Until they don't --and all at once there are too many idea and no space in a day, or a week, for anything-- not only the things I already do but also the bliss of refreshing new things like learning tunes and getting better at drawing comics and writing up that pattern idea and making that thing for that special person and... and... and....
that bums me out.
If its all working -- there is no need for lists.
And if I'm living on lists --
It could be time for a major reassessment.
On the other hand,
It could just be time to step out of the structure entirely.
Knit something easy, listen to an audiobook (yet another Jane Austen knockoff),
And play a tune I already know,
I'm reading two compelling books.
The first is called Growing Gills by Cartoonist Jessica Abel.
At it's most elemental it is a book about how to make creative work happen in the midst of myriad contradictory commitments-- and for those who feel neglectful of their tantalizing but unrealized creative ideas, I imagine it would be most useful for this.
Making stuff happen however, is not my particular problem--
making is my job,
starting, persisting and completing
my stock in trade.
What can be a problem,
(as per the imagery in the tapestry in last week's blog post),
is making sure that I use that persistence
and my sometimes excessive enthusiasm,
to carry me, as the saying goes
to the top of the right mountain.
In other words, if I'm going to put the effort in,
why not be sure I'm putting it into something that is
1. engaging in the moment,
2. worthy of the struggle through the 'Dark Forest' in the middle of its execution,
and 3. rewarding/satisfying (at least in theory), once it is finished.
Seems obvious, but it is astonishing how often it is not.
To that end, though I'm not actually doing the exercises right now, it has been wonderful to give names to phenomena I've experienced and dealt with in a more nebulous fashion.
the aforementioned Dark Forest,
and the reality of Dilemmas.
Indeed, I was reading the chapter on saying "No" so you can say "Yes"
when an offer popped into my in box that would have thoroughly (and almost happily), diverted me from a truly compelling but overgrown path that is beckoning off to the left.
There is a decent chance I'd eventually have remembered to say no without that chapter,
but I would have been wracked with indecision for a good deal longer.
So if nothing else, Abel ideas will give me a context within which to examine said path -- so I don't take up my bow saw and loppers unnecessarily.
Abel discusses these ideas in depth on her website and in the kindle version of her book ,
which she is currently offering for free on Amazon to go along with her online book group (which I haven't joined either but still find interesting).
Not sure how long it will be available, but it is worth checking out if any of these ideas seem compelling. Apparently she has a facebook page too, but as I do not partake of that realm of social media, I've not checked it out.
The other book I'm thrilled with is Amy Twigger Holroyd's Folk Fashion
which I learned about from the compelling podcast
Mrs. M's Curiosity Cabinet.
She (Mrs. M), is most satisfyingly thoughtful about myriad aspects of this yarnish/cloth-centric making world of ours, focusing particularly on material integrity (if that is the right phrase), which is something about which I am passionate. So thank you Meg, for this and all the interesting thoughts and ideas to come.
But back to the book.
I've only just begun to read Folk Fashion, but am fascinated by Holroyd's very readable and scholarly approach to topics I hold dear, and look forward to delving deeply.
Again, I don't feel qualified to summarize, but already she has given me new definitions for some overused words (sustainable, folk, time, open ...),
and, surprisingly already helped me to notice that my passion for making and mending,
which began well before high school, is very much a part of fashion --
not a quiet way to avoid a mysterious and alien world I neither liked nor understood.
Indeed, as I've recently realized, my reluctance to shop
has as much to do with an overwhelming surfeit of unsatisfactory choices,
as with my self-perceived lack of taste or ability to make said choices.
In other words -- I DO know what I like,
I just rarely never see it in the commercial world.
This holds true, alas, both for stuff that goes on walls
and stuff that goes on bodies.
Give me a few clean fleeces though -- and shopping R us.
Somehow, this opens up everything!
Sarah C Swett