What’s it going to be?

I think after more than 40 years of doing what I’ve been doing, the most often asked comment I hear is, “What’s it going to be?”  or even better, “What are you going to do with it?”  I always smile, because, actually, I haven’t a clue.  I acquire.  It is an art form in itself.  Raw materials come my way, or I turn something into a raw material.  Old work becomes raw material, hand me downs, ‘willed’ stash (as in stuff you get when someone dies or de-acquisitions), and of course, whenever there is a big sale.  These are all ways of increasing the stash.  I’m really cheap.  It would never occur to me to purchase a cone of something for a specific project.  I am of the “Make it Work” school of creativity.

I got a couple letters today asking what I’m going to do with this fleece I’ve been dyeing in the crock pot all week.  The answer remains, “I haven’t a clue”.  I could spin it, and I can spin, I have two wheels.  (One was ‘willed’ to me.)  But spinning doesn’t grab me as something I want to spend a lot of time on.  I taught a jacket class a couple of years ago,  for the Felter’s Fling, which is every couple of years in Massachusetts at the end of the summer.  Although I didn’t initially grab felting as my new technique du jour, I have an appreciation for it since, well, it is cloth, and I sew.  What’s not to like.  I think the making of felt is tedious, and hard on the body (I’m talking big sheets here for making clothing), but then again, the same could be said for threading a loom and weaving the cloth.  I had a number of felters encouraging me to get into felted cloth, and one generously gave me a substantial amount of a celebration-bag-72celebration-bag-detail-72gorgeous carded dyed wool.  I did make a beautiful bag with it, with an inkle woven band as the handle.  It didn’t get accepted to any of the shows I entered it into, but I think it’s a damn fine bag.  Anyway, I’d like to make some felted panels to make a jacket or vest.  And I am toying around with the whole boa experience of last weekend, and needle felting some dyed locks onto the bands, especially since I own a needle felting machine.  But largely, I’ll just feel my way along, and for now, I’m happy turning a very dirty fleece, that won’t dry in my garage, (dirty white fleeces do not inspire me), into piles of beautiful colors of wool.  Now they will inspire me.  I don’t know what they will become, I don’t even know what medium I’ll use them with, but for now, piles of colored fleece, is better than a large dirty white one.  (Today’s color is a pretty orange…)

This must be long lost friend week.  First my friend Rita resurfaced, and we went to the Allentown Art Museum together on Wednesday, then yesterday I got an email from someone I had lost touch with, saw briefly at a church function a couple months ago, and then suddenly, they were in my life again.  Email is a wonderful thing…  Anyway, Jill is a poet among other things.  Another creative soul, whose views of life, the universe, and how things work, keep me fascinated for hours.  We had lunch today, and two hours just flew by.  I love those kind of academic dialogues, I don’t have a lot of people in my life I can have them with, and this was so stimulating, I’m looking foward to the next time we can meet.

I updated my keynote address for the conference next week.  I’m giving the opening address at this conference, no pressure, and once I get out the first sentence, the rest just flows.  But there will be the usual sleepless couple of nights worrying about it, that goes with the territory.  Since I largely do these kinds of talks extemporaneously, I need to have the visuals all lined up, and then the images become the outline so I stay on track.  I have the sequence all laid out and printed, so I can review at my leisure over this next week.

For all of you living in the States, Happy 4th of July.  A couple of months ago, I saw a very powerful production of 1776 at the Papermill Playhouse, which is about the four days leading up to the signing of the Declaration of Independence.  The original Continental Congress voted that all thirteen colonies had to be unanimous in its decision to sign the Declaration, otherwise it would be a no go.  It is hard to imagine, that those diverse 13 colonies found common ground on that particular day to totally change the course of history, and now, more than 200 years later, we are 50 states and a few territories, instead of those original 13 colonies, and it is a daily challenge to find common ground on anything.  That’s what’s so great about this diverse country.  But for one brief moment, July 4, 1776, our representatives came together to make the impossible happen.  So, here is to common ground, and diversity.  Long may she wave…