I've spent the last week... or two, feeling suspiciously like I was drowning. And consequently, not wanting to be a downer, not blogging. I think the crux of it is simply that I forgot how much less Must-Do stuff I had going last summer. Which is entirely due to the fact that our business has grown to the point of having a serious shot at putting food on the table - a truly wonderous and completely good thing, but it does mean that I have to be much more intentional and organized and even selective in order to make summer work for all of us. That's the job of the mom, isn't it? To hold in your brain the swirling chaos of needs, personalities, appointments and practical requirements of one's family and mold it into a coherent whole that is loving, healthy, stimulating, clever, comfortingly predictable, and doesn't feel stressful to any of them. (While running a full time home business) Except that, thanks to the boy-child's ongoing tummy issues, I have slept only sporadically for about two weeks now, which has done nothing to facilitate the higher brain functioning required to devise a brilliant summer strategy (not to mention the small matter of having been ill myself during that time.)
I choose to believe (however naively) that we are over the hump and the rest of summer will be fabulous. The scary newspaper interview is done (you can see the results of that here) and last night's ArtWalk reception was a resounding success, despite the 11th hour babysitter cancellation. Except for markets though, I'll be going to ground for a couple weeks in regard to face to face social functions, as I'm in dire need of recharging.
I even put up new yarn this week.... and never blogged it (Doh) - I will try to take a stab at that later today. Next week's yarn update will be Tuesday, rather than Monday, as there is something very wonderful taking up the Monday, only I'm not going to tell you until it happens so as not to jinx it.
Wanna see some of the new work I put out last night?
Here's what kept me busy yesterday once the yarn was out the door:
The bottle is handwoven sterling silver with little garnets inside, and a garnet briolette as accent. It's an auction item for the wine tasting/auction Rob's Rotary club is doing tonight as a polio fundraiser. Rob is off in a minute to MC the event (Can't Say No syndrome again) and I'll be spending the evening packing for the first show of the season tomorrow. Currently there's sheafs of checklists and tubs of yarn on every flat surface, except for the wee makeshift ironing board on which the man is sweating over his most(ly) decent pair of pants. (He really does iron well, one of several useful skills he picked up in the Canadian Forces.)
So, with all that going on, the colourway of the week will go up Monday, rather than Sunday and I'm going to take the coming week off dyeing and get caught up on a million-and-one urgent things that have become increasingly crazy-making from being put off for so long. And maybe steal a few quiet moments to fine tune, reboot, and re-scheme... again... how one person can raise a family, keep a non-shameful house, and run a home studio at a level of production that keeps us in the black without completely burning out. I swear it can be done, and armed with a great pen, my trusty Moleskine, and a sunny patio, I shall prove it. Really. (I wonder if a glass of wine would help...)
Well. The shawl pin idea has been gratifyingly well-received! I'm having great fun creating them, and it has been eye-opening to see how much more willing I am to take creative chances when gifting. Not that there are any substandard specimens going out - quite the contrary. There are many insidious side-effects to monetizing a creative activity, not the least of which is a creeping tendency to play it safe. It is easy to give into the fear that it would be frivolous and self-indulgent to risk and explore when you already have a marketable product, particularly when you are trying to put food on the table in a climate of doom and decline. Which is, of course, the worst kind of self-defeating thinking.
It's quite the journey, this - always circling back around, digging deeper, asking what I really love, who I really am, what I am truly connected with. What would I love to do if only...? Ferreting out the blind spots, the unchallenged assumptions. I love the paradox that digging deeper makes you bigger, not smaller - and I really have no defence against the pervasive doom save the fervent, blind belief that truth and authenticity will keep my feet on a viable path. Well that, and a modicum of common sense, propelled by love and a lot of hard work.
Speaking of hard work, St. Brigid got bumped by the stream of packages heading out the door and is running a day and a half behind.
Eh - I've still got 15 days to achieve my purely arbitrary but increasingly cherished goal. A little sleight of hand with the calculator and I'll be all caught up, with a new daily benchmark that starts tomorrow. (I wonder if that's how banks get into trouble....)
More things that have to be done by the end of the month - new themes and collections, clarified direction, more focus... the nervous beginnings of an all important jury submission for the summer's livelihood:
Just one more thing: a successful dye day! It took me a couple of weeks to recover from the sting and self-recrimination of losing more than half of the Enchanted Forest, but today I faced down the fear of intensity, made plans, tested hypotheses and created a dazzlingly rich, dark colourway. I did not settle for less than I meant to achieve and it Did Not Bleed. So. Up from the ashes, and all that. (And after some consideration, I'm pretty sure the couch and its moose would love to have a dazzlingly green woven blanket. Especially since the yarn for a red one isn't materializing especially quickly.)
Since the demise of the monthly newsletter and its attendant coupon code, I've been giving considerable thought to thank-you gifts that would be: a) unique, b) interesting, and c) of genuine value and usefulness.
Every yarn order placed in the month of March will receive a hammered copper shawl pin - each one unique and crafted in a spirit of spontaneous playfulness. These are every bit as sturdy as their silver counterparts, and make excellent closures for sweaters & shawls, as well as lovely hairpins (for those of you with long, reasonably thick hair.)
The pins on St. Brigid above (doesn't copper look amazing with that shade of green?) are the inaugural seven.
why it is that 3 major kitchen appliances chose to fail all at once? We soldiered on without the dishwasher for several weeks, but good-old-fashioned-hard-work notwithstanding, dirty dishes are a dreadful time suck. A week's wait now for delivery....
Trying: to accept the ebb and flow of productivity as yet another fretful hacking cough takes up residence on the couch for snuggles.
Revelling: in a little more orange. I may only get as far as entering them into inventory today, but they are glorious nonetheless. It seems like ages since I treated myself to new gems.
Remembering: to play. To recover and nurture spaces for creative indulgence, expansiveness.... joy.
I've come to the realization that the only way to be productive over the summer holidays is to get up... first. Six AM on the patio looks like this:
Round about 08:00, the munchkins stumble out for sleepy morning kisses, and the day begins to gather momentum. I try to remember that this time is precious rather than unproductive:
As the afternoon slips away, we turn our imaginations to the remaining farm market produce:
Patio suppers are an exquisite summer pleasure, sometimes accompanied by just a wee bit more wine than is technically necessary. Rob and I linger at the table while the kids run wild in the garden, and a wee bit of knitting gets done:
Then the flurry of baths and bedtime, cleanup and last minute tasks for tomorrow.... it's invariably late, but sleep is postponed just a bit for a cup of tea and a half hour of mindless knitting.
Small steps, incremental progress - summer is a good exercise in choosing to live in the moment.
This idea seized me rather vividly one night last week, just as I was drifting into sleep, and I was extraordinarily gratified the next morning when the vision translated successfully into physical reality.
A graceful wave intersecting a plane, and what if..... what if it could be woven into three dimensions, yet still transparent, revealing its linear origins.... The creation of this form pleased me in the sort of mathematically tactile way that I often crave but rarely find. I think I have found the spark I need for more exploration. (The stone is fluorite, by the way, and I'm kind of in love with it.) The necklace may be found over here.
I've been in a bit of a creative dry spell with my jewellery over the last couple of months. I'm not sure exactly why - the compliments and the external approval were still coming, but inside it was beginning to feel stagnant, plateaued, safe, not going anywhere, not... driven. (Are artists supposed to admit those things?) Perhaps it is one of the hazards of successfully monetizing a creative activity, or maybe creativity is cyclical and this is natural.... I'm not sure. I do know that there is something percolating way down in the dim reaches of consciousness that needs tangible expression, but it is not articulated and I can only snatch obliquely at the echoes. Still, I forced myself to sit down with pencil and sketchbook the other day and try... and a few shapes made it into silver: