Wednesday, July 22, 2009

On Being a Student in Boulder

I found after returning from Boulder, refreshed, rested, smarter and wiser, how I would go about my next blog entry. Over the last days, I have spent reminiscing about the class on Spinning for Weaving with Judith MacKenzie McCuin at wonderful Shuttles Spindles and Skeins; spending time with my sister/friend Connie, and finding Peet's Coffee Shop, (sob, none in Provo!) and all the fun with the Boulder fiber folks. Not surprisingly, I learned another books worth about spinning and weaving. I found to my great chagrin that I had spun myself into a boring yarn corner. I can spin impeccable sock yarn, lovely hard wearing sweater yarn, lace yarn for anything light and lacy, durable yarn of all gauges for mitts, hats, stoles and shawls. I was happy that my finished yarn was perfect for the project in mind. It would be soft and long wearing and it would end up as a heirloom gift.
Then, as I listened at Judith's knee, (do you think she would mind if I rested my head on her knee while she spoke? Or would she pat this addled woman on the head and keep teaching?) I managed to keep to my chair or drift with the assorted students as she helped with spinning here or warping there, I learned a great truth about my own spinning. The magic of Judith is she is able to put everyone at ease and soon you think you are with a talented teacher and not the living legend that she truly is. One of the new ideas I took away was my spinning was in a rut. Oh I like my rut, it's comfy and I'm pretty capable but there is a whole world of new fibers to explore. My long repressed desire to spin and weave bast fibers stretched it's arms and clapped that I had recognized it's lure at last. In fact Judith called Connie and I the "bast" girls. Faint.
I have an antique maple loom and I am now thinking a great new loom purchase sometime soon would be a good thing. It is time to listen to my inner weaver, a quiet voice that I have ignored over 30 years. Life is short, and I have found to my surprise that hitting 50 does not mean the end of the road, but means instead that "my" life has just begun. I have done: the barefoot and pregnant, Homemaker, Mommy, Caretaker, and finally Craftsman and now ME. Weaving is going to be part of the best time in my span.
Judith mentioned in her quiet way to be adventurous, and think about what we leave behind. What do you want to be your legacy? I whispered to Connie "5 thousand spindles!" We both laughed but then I thought about 5 thousand spindles. I have easily made far more than that, and each one I am satisfied and pleased to send on its balanced way. While Judith finished her three day class, I held in tears of pride and sat a little straighter. I am leaving a legacy.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Peanuts, Boxes and Bubble Wrap, Oh My!

To someone who is charged with shipping on a regular basis, these three things are attractive, precious, desirable, and kind of addictive. I have several friends that remember me and my never ending quest for packing materials and will show up with a car filled with boxes and paper. The really special friends bring me peanuts and bubble wrap. For the latter group, if they do this often enough, they will be mentioned in my last will and testament for a share of my prodigious stash and equipment. (Now if this works as I am planning, I will never have to search for boxes or packing material again!)
I have a good friend that owns a photography studio and he will bring me dozens of boxes. Tantalizing, sturdy, double thick boxes that I can not use. They all have the dreaded black triangle indicating that the box held hazardous materials. Like say, camera film. I am sure you know how very deadly a box of film can be! When I tell him I cannot use the boxes, he poo poo's me and says the boxes are wonderful and perfect for shipping. Now if I can only get the post office guy to agree with him I would be happy. It does not help that when I go to mail my boxes, the mail room staff sing out with "Hi! Spindle Lady!" They are mesmerized that I am a wood turner, which funny as it sounds is a shock when someone calls me that. I am a Spindle maker, I spin, knit, and buy stash. Oh yeah, I also am a Professional Wood Turner. Ha. Still makes me laugh.
When I was growing up, living in a house with no less than two artists, and knowing I had not the talent of my very gifted parents, I determined for something else. I humbly decided that I would become a potter and live on Nantucket Island. I would be world famous and my pots and other pieces of work would be eagerly sought by a large group of pottery fans. Blush. Instead I walked into that Scottish castle spinning store and zigged more than zagged. I have not looked back once (although a house on the beach of Nantucket would be nice) and still wake with the thought that I will come in close proximity to wool and wood sometime today. And tingle.