I went to a drum carder class earlier this month.
You heard that right. Drum carder. If you aren't a spinner you might not know what a drum carder is.
It looks like this. . . .
I spend a lot of time on my computer. My business is all about tapestry weaving, but much of the work is done online, primarily teaching. I think I was born to be a teacher. I remember as kids my sister and I had a double-sided A-frame chalkboard and we'd play school with our friends and sometimes, I'd play with my stuffed animals if the real kids were tired of being "taught."
. . . .
The problem with spending so much time interacting with people online online is that it sets up an expectation for myself that is unrealistic. I have created a screen persona that doesn't always mesh with who the flesh-and-blood Rebecca is. In an online business, you have to use images, video, and text to sell yourself and so you strive to present a picture of who you are that isn't completely accurate. Of course I don't admit the things I really screwed up most of the time. I hope, as we all do, that people won't notice I made a mistake and they'll remember all the good work I did.
I get inspiration for my artwork from many places. You never know when the carpet you're sitting on in the middle of the night at Dallas/Fort Worth International will start you sketching something that could become a tapestry. But a very direct source of inspiration this week was Jilly Edward's new book, Joy: Yellow is the New Blue.
This is the sort of book that makes me run to my sketchbooks, paint, and yarns in excitement. It includes essays by June Hill (curator), Jessica Hemmings (Professor of Crafts & Vice Prefekt of Research, University of Gothenburg), and Jilly herself. I especially appreciated Jennifer Harris's essay near the back of the book about tapestry as a contemporary medium.
Jilly is a tapestry artistweaver from the U.K. Her book is 200 pages of inspiring photos, musings, and poetry. And it is presented in such a gorgeous way. The book is sewn (with yellow thread!) so that it lays flat and it is printed on matte paper that is perfect for her weavings.
This time of year I start asking myself serious questions about the holidays.
Do I really want to spend half of my Thanksgiving vacation at Dallas/Fort Worth International potentially sleeping on the floor with thousands of other people who were trapped due to a freak snowstorm in New England and the resulting air traffic nightmare?
Do I really need another stack of things to take care of in my life or could Christmas money go toward helping others or purchasing experiences? (I'm no saint. Santa already told me he is bringing me a drum carder. But he needn't bring anything else. I have plenty of fleece, thanks.)
The holidays are certainly a time where I love cozy time on the couch, good food, friends and family, twinkly lights, and a mug of hot chocolate that might just have a little cake vodka in it. In my head it feels like it should be a time of love, expansion, and joy.
But in reality, the holidays are often a time of tension and of unattainable expectations from others (and ourselves if we're honest).
I think we should use making and craft as a gift to ourselves. Sure, we can make things with the expectation that the final product will be a wonderful gift for someone we love. But make the process of creating it a time for you to experience the joy of making. Have you ever experienced that state your brain enters where you lose track of time and are just enjoying the thing you're focused on? Some people call it flow. Tapestry weaving is especially well suited to creating this state. And we all need a little bit of this in our lives every day and more so during the holidays.
It has been one year since I opened my online class, Weaving Tapestry on Little Looms. The class has been enjoyed by many hundreds of people so far. My goal in creating the class was to make something fun and accessible for people who have never woven tapestry before but also provide information valuable to people who understand how weaving works.
As I look back over the last year of weaving from this class, I wanted to put together a video showcasing a small portion of it. There were far too many images for me to choose from, but this video is a start.
It is also a little Happy Holidays video from me. I feel that it is far too early in the year (though it be November 8) for a Carol-of-the-Bells kind of video, but here it is. Enjoy the beauty of the season, pick up a little loom, and make something fun. I have a holiday weave-along coming soon that will tell you just how to do that in case you're stuck.
I just got home from my last travel teaching trip for the year. It is fun to visit different places and meet new people, but there is nothing quite like home. Especially for an introvert.
I taught tapestry techniques in Las Vegas, NV and Las Cruces, NM. I was fascinated by the desert landscape and the amazing plants I saw in both places even in the city. I enjoyed hearing all the different ideas the participants had about fiber and tapestry weaving. And I'll admit that I enjoyed the warm weather (even though the people there thought it was freezing at 65 degrees).
Spinzilla 2017 came and went and I didn't reach my goal but I did have a great time and my spinning improved.
I showed you my pile in the "An Optimism Problem" blog post so I thought I'd better fess up and show you how the week ended.
I made a rather random goal of spinning three miles, forgetting that in the past I had only spun a bit more than one mile in a week. I came a bit short of two miles and nowhere near three. Next year, in case you hear me say otherwise in which case you should remind me, my goal is two miles.