September was a bit crazy on the work front, but I’m making up for it this week by working on the banks of the Adams River this week – taking pictures and video of the spawning sockeye and the activities at the festival for our web and social media presence. It’s one of the few perks I get – and it’s a pretty decent one.
After years of indulging in craft, I feel like I am ready to make art – though the distinction has always been a problematic one for me because I recognize how it’s used to minimize the artwork of women, of indigenous people, of “folklorists” from various ethnicities and so forth. So what I mean really is that I feel a growing curiosity about taking all the skills I have learned in the process of making beautiful but utilitarian objects (bedding, clothing, linens & home decor objects) – and turning them towards a different type of inquiry. Taking myself seriously is part of this process. At the moment that means engaging in ideas about textile arts, looking at textile and other found objects differently, and thinking of the narratives that most interest me (family, words and language, tactile histories). It also means setting intention to find the time for textile “sketches” and technique work in the nooks of my days, given the absence of large blocks of time/energy available at the moment. I feel like I am at one of those junctures where I can see all that I have done up until now as the jumping off point for the next thing I want to explore.
Last weekend was a road trip that included a visit to the cabin and a funeral. This week has been a litany of communications products, lectures, and small snatches of time for handwork – I’ve finished a cowl and started a sweater. I look forward to a weekend of small errands, friends, philosophy and music – though mostly what I want is to sleep in and catch up with Brian. I feel good today, as though I’ve been pushing through all week and finally come to a slow down. A rolling stop, as it were.
I’m going to a lecture tonight on using stitching as illustration. It all feels pretty good right now.
Whenever I experience stress or confusion in my life, I crave comforting words from my partner, sleep, and then craft – in that order. Locking myself in the sewing room to either start a new project or reorganize old ones has the same effect. The point is to be alone and imagining the making of the new. This weekend I did both – reorganized my sewing room, and made a new skirt. (That was followed by making a second skirt last night, which I am wearing at work today.)
The picture on this post is of a quilt that I made for some friends who got married this summer. Whenever I give a quilt I think of it as giving someone a hug that doesn’t end. For what else is it to wrap oneself in the hard work and time of another – than a multi-faceted embrace?
Sitting down at the sewing machine is often daunting, sometimes frustrating – but almost always I am rewarded by the small accomplishment found in the work of the hands.
My cousin died two weeks ago and since then planning has been difficult. I was organizing a meditation retreat for 20+ people, but now I won’t be able to attend because of the funeral. I thought I was leaving Friday and coming back Sunday but now I’ve switched everything around to make driving easier and the family visit longer. I had a September that was all balanced and organized and now a bunch of it has been thrown out the window. And yet I still try to make plans, because that’s what I do. I plan my life as much as one can which is ridiculous in one sense, but absolutely essential in another. My cousin did not plan to die, but she could have planned a life that did not involve the death she had.
After work on Friday we drove to our place at Link Lake to camp for the weekend. We didn’t know how far along the building of the cabin had progressed (if at all) because while our builder is great at building, he is terrible at communicating. So terrible that he had our building permit in hand for a whole week before he dropped us a line to let us know. Fortunately we hit the road early enough to get to our property before nightfall and were ecstatic to see that construction has started and the foundation, cabin platform and deck are done already.
We pitched our tent on the deck (which sits 8 feet off the ground owing to land slope) and used the cabin side to set up the camp stove. It was our first night sleeping on the land together – our first night in our almost-cabin.
This doesn’t look great yet because it’s mid-process but once finished and blocked it will be a gift worth giving. I started this yesterday morning on my way to work, but not before watching a youtube tutorial on something called “foundation double crochet” which is a better way of starting crochet projects that I’ve been putting off learning. For some reason it seemed too complicated, but once I watched the video and practiced for five minutes I got it together – and did 168 foundation double crochet stitches on the bus ride to work. It’s a rare day that I don’t learn a new thing, and some days the new thing I learn is really exciting to me. This was one of those things.
These cans are full of sockeye salmon from the Johnstone Strait – my first go at pressure canning after years of extensive water-bath canning. My basement has a special corner just for preserved foods – jams, pickles, wine, liqueur, spiced fruits and many other fabulous things. I got into food storage in a serious way because I was preparing for the urban collapse I was sure would one day arrive. Now I do it because I love having so much great, well-made food on hand year round. Love is a much better motivation than fear, and we eat really well around our place.
Two weeks of really intensive, high-stress, work have put my meditation superpowers to the test. Apparently I am now able to handle twenty tasks at a time, respond calmly to people who are having mini-meltdowns, and ask for things nicely during a crisis. Also no post-work breakdowns or excessive drinking needed to cope. Meditating daily for the last year has surely been worth the time and effort.