Last week, my local fiber guild sent an email about an estate sale of a member who had recently passed away. Her family was offering an early sale for any guild member who wanted to purchase some of the woman's bountiful collection. I did not know the member, and it felt a little weird- the idea of going through her things and buying her tools. However, it was wonderful that the guild was given the opportunity to make sure her things stayed in the community and went to loving fiber oriented hands. So, I guess I am trying to say I was conflicted.
I decided I would go, not rush out in the first wave of early access but see what was available after perhaps people closer to her had an opportunity to bring pieces home. The woman lived alone, her daughter had traveled in to take care of her local affairs. However, her house was clearly a wonderful, warm workspace of creation. Every room was a beautiful little personal studio. All of her spinning wheels had already gone, but her floor loom remained. There was a project still sitting, patiently waiting to be finished. I touched the cloth and was nearly overwhelmed by emotion for this woman I had never met.
We are all going to be in the middle of something when we die.
She was clearly in the middle of a charming twill hand towel. It will likely never be finished. I am in the market for a floor loom, but that particular loom was not for me. I really wish it had been. I would have finished her towel.
As a maker, it really struck home. What is it that we leave behind? Tools, certainly. We can't take those with us. Supplies, for sure. Hopefully we leave more, though. A legacy of knowledge, a piece of community, a continuation of history perhaps? That way, even when we go and still have projects unfinished, our work will live on in new hands. I hope all of this woman's things went to good homes and that they will continue to be used in creating countless more pieces of art. In that way, it won't matter that the twill towel was never finished, it didn't need to be.
The thought has crossed my mind (more than once) that maybe I'm just taking up space in an already crowded creative world. (Confession: This thought usually is louder when my internal weather is a bit cloudy or rainy.) There are quite a few fiber artists out there. Many of them post projects, patterns, tutorials, host classes...does it make sense to take time to do the same thing that has already been done? My answer is always yes. Yes it does make sense, at least a little. And not just as applied to fiber craft; I feel that way about most things in the art/creative world. And not just applied to myself. If you have something to share that brings you joy, share it. It will bring someone else joy, too.
Everyone is different. Every mind has its own special way of ticking. Every person has their own way of learning. I like to post tutorials- obviously warping a loom or steeking in knitting are not new. There are many teachers that have come before me and there are many people demonstrating the same exact techniques I use at this very moment. But maybe my voice speaks in a way that someone understands just a little bit better than when they tried before. Perhaps I take a picture that just makes it all fall into place for some weaver just starting out. That is such a super feeling and it makes it very worthwhile to share. Having many voices keeps a craft alive. Allowing being to really find what "fits" is a very powerful thing. And often what fits isn't always the same everyday. It's good to have choices.
As for patterns and finished objects? What inspires me does not inspire everyone. But that is true for everyone's creations. Having a lot to look at might be overwhelming, but it also makes room for what inspires you. We assimilate the world around us and as artists, make it our own. We share what we experience in our finished projects, whether they be patterns or items to wear or display. In a way, it can help someone else find their own voice by hearing ours. It is a balance of listening and sharing- we are inspired and in turn inspire others. I think it important to reflect here, though, that one must listen to be also be heard. If you enjoy my website, I promise there are many more out there you will find equally (or more) inspiring and useful. (I am trying to be more active in this space, and I have a tab for "Things You May Like." This is where I am adding a collection of fiber and non-fiber things that I have absolutely nothing to do with creating but really enjoy. Maybe you will, too.)
There is room on the field. I guess that's what I'm trying to say. Having more than one source to learn from is wonderful. The internet can be a dark and dangerous place, but it can also be a powerful tool for good. People can connect, learn and create using the tools and teachers all around the world, and that is a marvel. I think we do still need to be mindful that we are not appropriating cultures or taking what is not ours to teach. But as far as there being too many? Never. There is always room for art. And allowing that room will make space for the truly great among us to emerge- and hopefully by our example they will reach their hands back out toward us and share what they create and help others feel the joy or success that shines on them.
It is springtime where I live, and with that comes the blooms and hopes of of a new season. This year, in particular, that seems really important. Many of us have spent the last year tucked away, unable to connect in person with those that we love. Far too many people have lost loved ones and the whole world mourns. It is almost too much to process. This is layered with issues of social injustice, meaningful political shifts and human rights. In many ways I feel helpless in the face of all of this. I feel unable to contribute, unable to help, unable to find a meaningful path forward.
But then another thought crept in to my mind.
A small one.
But one that shouldn't be ignored.
Perhaps I cannot contribute in a grand way or affect sweeping change or even a visible one. But I can perhaps provide a connection. I can provide knowledge in a creative space. I can be more of a person in this online space, share more of myself with those that might need a little something to encourage them in their own journey. I am honored to be part of a crafting community. Perhaps there is more I can do in that space to...help.
So, here it is. The start. When I feel lost, I turn to my art. When I feel uninspired, I turn to my books and my favorite blogs to see how others are creating. When I want to learn, I take classes online, I watch videos, I read. I have tried to provide some of those things in this space, but I think I can do more.
There is beauty in the day to day. Even in dull moments, there is charm. I think this past year has taught me a lot in appreciating the present moment. Heck, I think it has taught me to see the present moment. I might have been missing it before. I think it is so easy to get caught up in what is wrong or what is stressful and where you want to be and where you'd like to go that is not where you are; it is so easy to miss the wonders of now.
Perhaps you may think it is cheesy, but I have discovered the power of positive affirmations. Setting a little intention for the day to carry you through and to change the perspective a little on your daily thinking has proven to be...dare I say life changing? The whole idea behind affirmations is to train your own thoughts. It doesn't always work, but if I find myself spiraling, sometimes repeating the affirmations I set helps to reframe how I look at my day. My affirmations for today:
I am where I should be.
I can do hard things.
I am strong.
I hope you can find a positive affirmation. And until next time, happy crafting!
Also, does anyone know what flower this is? I saw it on a walk and would LOVE to have one of my own. It is gorgeous.