A new tapestry diary... and is a practice like this for you?

A new tapestry diary... and is a practice like this for you?

I think any practice that gets you in the habit of creating is a good one. Only you can answer the question if doing a daily tapestry diary is the thing for you, but it is one way to get yourself going to your loom every day of the year. (Or make your own rules! Maybe you weave one bit every Sunday morning or once a month.)

I think the quesiton to ask yourself is do you have a practice of creating regularly right now? If you do, then another thing to do might not be the answer for you. But if you have difficulty making time to create on a regular basis, then making some rules for yourself around it might be helpful. A tapestry diary is one way to do that.

Got it! Intentions for a new year

Got it! Intentions for a new year

Before we know it, another year is upon us. It seems like just a breath ago it was the beginning of 2017. Last year was a difficult one for many people. But I think we can say that about the start of any year. I am beginning this new year with a short list of intentions. I have a general list that I always think about and a more specific action-oriented one. Here they are.

A way of being

  • Be patient
  • Take time
  • Love each other
  • Spread joy wherever possible

Let's start the year as we intend to go on

Let's start the year as we intend to go on

I decided that I'd start the year with some of the most important things: my family and making art. Today was the day to dive back into the big commission. It had to be redesigned this fall and the new iteration is better than the original. The piece is a little smaller, but still big enough to make me wonder, how long WILL this take me to weave? It will be 9 by 9 feet woven in three panels which will hang next to each other.

I am a continual optimist, but sometimes that gets me into trouble. I tend to underestimate how long things will take me to complete and thus often cause myself a lot of stress with deadlines that can't be met. I dropped all pretense of deadlines on this piece when we decided to do a redesign. Once it is on the loom I'll time myself consistently for a month and at the end I should be able to make a fairly accurate prediction of when I can have the piece finished... if I actually factor in the other things on my calendar of course. This is clearly not a fool-proof plan.

So today is January 1st and it was a great time to pull out the yarn samples that were dyed last summer and figure out the next steps in the dye process. I lined up the gradation the client and I agreed on and realized I needed some additions. I prepped the sample skeins and then started looking at the part of the design for which I haven't dyed samples yet.

Wishes, self-care, and a new year

Wishes, self-care, and a new year

Intention setting for the new year is a healthy practice. In my own life I am working to increase the amount of time I spend in a special kind of self-care. Making art is something that feeds the core of who I am and makes me a better person. Finding time to create something every day is the trick in a busy life and for the coming year it is at the top of my list of private intentions.

The short video below talks about setting intentions around tapestry weaving for the coming year. I am not going to tell you to put it on your calendar (though that might be helpful for some of you) or to beat yourself up if you don't touch your art supplies/weaving tools for a month. What I am going to tell you is to consider making an intention for the new year around taking care of yourself in this special way. As humans we are creative beings, so please make sure to make time as often as you can to let your creativity fly. 

Running a small business while having an art practice: fun or folly?

Running a small business while having an art practice: fun or folly?

I started this new phase of my life which I like to call Full Time Tapestry Person almost four years ago now. Before that I was mostly Part Time Tapestry Artist and Whatever I do to Pay the Bills Person.

Of course once I quit that job with the benefit of a paycheck every two weeks and health insurance*, I had to figure out how to pay all the bills with income from something related to tapestry. Because no matter how crazy-pants it sounds, I was determined to focus all my time on tapestry.

Fortunately for me, I love teaching. Therapists, at least the good ones, are natural teachers. And before I became an occupational therapist, I got an undergraduate degree in music focusing on piano pedagogy. I wrote a preschool piano method as my undergraduate thesis and ran my own piano studio to help pay for graduate school. I suppose that was my first business.

I realized I loved teaching and so it was fairly obvious that I could try to support myself by teaching tapestry. After all, many sorts of fiber people make a living by teaching their craft. Workshops, conferences, private students: they all help keep the lights on.

The thing is, I'm an introvert.

Holiday weaving!

Holiday weaving!

I have seen some wonderful holiday projects this year. Thank you to everyone for participating in this holiday challenge. You can still get the instructions in THIS blog post if you have some holiday time to weave your own project. If you use social media, tag it with #holidaytapestry17. Email me your photo and I'll add it to this post. 

It is really fun to see the variety of weavings happening even with the same subject. Different yarns, different approaches, different weavers all mean the results vary widely. Isn't that reassuring for art-making? Your particular talents will result in something different from everyone else on the planet (it is true of life too I think).

Below is an example of the real reason I do these weave-alongs. I get to see the wonderful things people make, and sometimes people tell me what they were thinking and what materials they used.