For many many years, in my early adulthood, I spent time in a 12-step program. One of the key slogans in that program is One Day at a Time. It is basically how you get through life, and I am absolutely convinced it is how I got through the pandemic, which sad to say, is still not over.
But One Day at a Time, as important as it is, doesn’t or never did help me to deal with life as an artist/educator/writer, etc. It is in that role that I always always had to look ahead and plan ahead and make sure deadlines were met. There is nothing that I do that I can blow out in a sitting at the last minute. Trust me…
At this point in my life, most of the stress of traveling, planning ahead by applying to conferences, sending proposals, updating content, shipping workshop materials ahead, and meeting deadlines is mostly behind me. And yet, as I approach the fall, I’m kind of shocked at how parts of that former life have reared their ugly head. And I’m sort of OK with that. At this point in my life, any stress I put on myself is my choosing and I can’t tell you how much that makes a difference. Artist’s never really retire. They just change the focus of their creativity. My focus isn’t dependent anymore on earning a living at what I do. That is a huge deal. So, the hours I spend during the day are juggling all the cool things I’m inventing, investigating, and exploring.
It occurred to me though, in the past week, that I have a very busy fall, all doing stuff that I chose, but stuff nonetheless. And I find myself making lists, printing a weekly calendar and making an assigned schedule (which for me is really critical to reduce stress since it is all written down).
I have a couple of remote workshops and lectures to teach in the fall, which will need some tweaking and updating. One is a 260-slide presentation, given over two days. I can’t do that update in one sitting. So 45- 50 slides a day will get me there.
And I’ve been asked to rejoin an early music group. Which means practicing daily to get back up to speed on the recorder.
I’m in the middle of an extensive article, for a weaving publication, which isn’t completely contracted, but I’m writing it anyway, and I’m up to 30 pages. If the article doesn’t happen, I’ll just self publish it. But it is intense, requiring a lot of samples, and I have several looms currently filled with projects/yardage/samples for this particular article. I won’t get the final OK to move forward with all of it until mid-September, which is when I have Petit Jury duty. I will be on call in Newark, a dreadful city to drive into and park, for two weeks, which takes out half of September. And I’m not happy that NJ has just dropped its masking requirement for jury duty. I would really hate to have avoided Covid for 2 1/2 years only to get it while serving on jury duty. Please don’t tell me all the ways I can get out of it. I really don’t have a good reason for an excuse, and if I ever needed a jury of my peers, I’d hope that reasonably intelligent people would step up to the plate and give me an unbiased judgement. But I can’t be editing a 30 page article, with captions and 50 drafts and images while I potentially will be sitting all day in a jury box.
This requires some substantial planning ahead, just in case, and I’m doing my best to look ahead. Best case scenario is I won’t get called or will get excused. (I once was excused because the defense attorney didn’t want an artist in the jury… still laughing over that…)
One of the drafts I wanted to sample, is one from the Dr. Bateman collection, draft 110. It occurs in several publications, and requires some pretty varied yarns, which I searched through my stash to procure. That was a lot of fun.
I put on a short warp, 3 yards, which for me is pretty short, so I decided to use my small warping board. The sample was 16″ wide, but with a sett of 30epi, it was more than 400 ends. Leaning over the table to wind this warp, which changed with every end, was getting old fast. So I wandered around my house to see what I could invent to help make this more efficient.
I am a hobbyist musician, as noted above, and have a lovely wood music stand in my dining room with all my recorders and the piano.
The warping board fit perfectly, and I could put cones on a cone holder, changing them out with each pass, and the whole process was indeed more efficient.
I changed ends using tape, instead of spending the time tying the ends together. Since I warp front to back, I’m cutting the warp at both ends anyway.
Once beamed, I was ready to tie onto the front and dive in.
This is a pretty intense warp combination of varied cottons, from 20/2 to 20 weight pearl to floss, whatever that means. The weft is a merino tabby, and a 2/8 wool, so I’ll cut a sample and see how it looks washed. I still have another treadling sequence to try so I’ll keep working on a couple inches a day.
This is done on one of my 8 shaft table looms, which is slow going, but one of the treadling sequences requires 14 treadles, which my looms don’t have. So a table loom it is, but with two shuttles, there isn’t any place to put those shuttles because the depth of the weaving area in the front is so shallow.
So I wandered around my house trying to be resourceful. I found a rusted planter on the deck which fit perfectly, gave me a bit of a footrest, and held a plastic shoe box which gave me a place for the shuttles. I’m so clever!
Meanwhile, my guild is having its annual show and sale the beginning of November. That’s basically less than two months away, because the inventory sheets have to be in by the third week in October since we are moving into bar code tags. No last-minute entries.
That’s all fine, but I basically have to start thinking about what I have to sell, and what I can make between now and then. This is not the time to embrace One Day at a Time. I have several mohair throws, and some items left from last year’s sale, but I seriously need more zippered pouches from leftovers, tote bags, and greeting cards. I usually do really well with them, and God knows, I do have leftovers!
I pulled the Zanshi fabric I wove last year, made from all my thrums tied together. That will make great bags, and I pulled the samples from the eco print workshop I did last summer. I can do something with that as well.
My goal right now is to start clearing looms. I’m thinking that I can clear a loom a week. And I have a half dozen cuts of handwoven fabric I’m sitting on, and if I plan ahead, I might be able to produce a number of items to sell. The difference between now and back in the 80’s when I did this for a living, was trying to guess the market and having stuff to sell because I needed the income. Now, anything I make, if it doesn’t sell, I will either use myself, (what a concept) or give it as a gift. Or in the case of the really expensive items, donate them to an arts organization’s high-end fund-raising auction.
Meanwhile, I wove off three towels on a draft experiment, and then pulled the warp from the heddles, and rethreaded the entire thing in a new pattern.
This pattern is one from a book on my shelf, A Handbook of Weaves, a Dover reprint, from a weaver named G. Hermann Oelsner. I couldn’t figure out his draft notation, but a friend told me that all the drafts in his book were transcribed into handweaving.net. Which I have a subscription to… Jackpot!
I probably have about 1 1/2 more towels to weave on this warp, so it should be cleared in the next couple days.
I have my work cut out for me. Literally and figuratively. No rest for the creative soul, and that isn’t a complaint, I can assure you.