Monday, July 24, 2006

I've been tagged by Catherine

5 things always in my purse:
Always? I've taken to not always carrying a purse in my dotage. So the things that stay in it, even when I leave it behind:
1. Asthma rescue inhaler (I keep an extra one in my pocket when the purse isn't with me).
2. A little Vera Bradley zippered bag w/ lip balm, breath strips, and toothplackers.
3. A small hair brush.
4. A few old pictures of dh and ds.
5. Caribiner hold keys (so I don't accidentally throw them into collection bins...see Dec. 16, 2005)

5 things always in my wallet:
1. Driver's license
2. Health insurance cards.
3. AAA membership card (road service, etc.)
4. Credit/debit card
5. punch cards for free sandwiches at various local lunch spots.

5 things always in my refrigerator:
(someone hasn't had a college age son living with them...nothing stays in the fridge very long these days!)
1. Skim milk
2. Orange juice w/ calcium
3. Fresh vegetables
4. Fresh fruit
5. Yeast for making bread

5 things alwasy in my closet:
1. Lint brush (cat fur).
2. Tripod for camera
3. Black slacks.
4. Black shoes.
5. Walking shoes.

5 things always in my car:
(I'm assuming you mean other than me.)
1. Insurance info.
2. Emergency kit.
3. Maps...some of them should be archived, but there are maps in there of the places we travel through most often.
4. A box of kleenex
5. A log book to keep track of mileage and gasoline purchases.

5 things always on my desk:
This is the desk in my sewing room. I have another small desk for 'quiet time' work, and the computer set-up is shared in the family room.
1. Dust
2. Account statements that need to be filed. (I hate filing.)
3. Weaving guild membership directory.
4. Two small hand thrown pots: one made by me, the other came from my dh's 150 y.o. farm home.
5. A few small sea shells and a dead piece of coral.

5 People to tag:
1. Cathy
2. Leigh
3. Jackie
4. Kathy
5. Sara

However, I don't think the last two read my blog...but you can go and check out theirs!

Just for kicks: this critter was on the top of a window frame this AM. I couldn't include anything in the shot for size reference, but its head was the size of the tip of my index finger. In my book, that's huge!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Short assigments and first drafts....

Leigh asked me to expand on the concept of first drafts referred to in my previous post. That caused me to pull down Bird by Bird and read through a couple of Anne Lamott's chapters which relate to any creative pursuit. Let me correct myself as a result of this refresher:

Short Assignments comes first. This is the concept that the Bird by Bird title came from. She uses the example of her brother who, as an elementary school student, had a huge assignment on birds which should have been completed over preceding weeks. He was understandably panicked as he sat down to begin the project the night before it was due having no idea where to begin. Anne's father sat down beside him and encouraged him to begin with just one bird: the only way to attack the project was bird by bird.

So a short assignment is one small thing that can be managed in the time available. It can be one small part of a larger project. It's a way to keep from being overwhelmed. It's narrowing the focus. Anne describes using a 1" empty photo frame as a totem when feeling overwhelmed as she sits down to write. She just envisions only writing enough to fill that 1" square.

Short assignment is probably a better way to look at Jeanne Williamson's journal quilts than first drafts. Jeanne set some specific boundaries in terms of:
- the size
- the amount of time to complete
- the format (whole cloth quilting)
Her purpose was to play, experiment, and give herself the time to create at least one small piece per week.
So, those boundaries were the equivalent of Anne's 1" frame.

I'm thinking of doing something like this with weaving. Am still playing around with the parameters in my head. So far, the look something like this:
- the size would be 6"x8" or less.
- the project would be created on some small, portable weaving format. This would include the lap loom from the last post, tablet weaving, frame weaving, Weave-It looms, etc.
- the ground fabric must be some type of woven interlacement. NO knitting.
- completion of the project includes finishing and mounting for presentation (because I am really bad about this).
- because of the immediately preceding rule, each project is allowed two weeks.
- begin this week and continue through the end of the year, at which point the rules and parameters will be re-evaluated.

That means 12 small, experimental projects by the end of the year. (gasp!) Okay.. I need to sleep on this....and forget about the 12 projects statement, reverting back to "Bird by Bird" thinking!

Now, on to First Drafts: I latch onto this concept because I see it happen all the time in myself and others. Having reached adulthood, most of us have a set of skills in which we are fairly competent. We use those skills on a routine basis and have a pretty high set of expectations for the things that we produce.

We forget what it's like to be a child with no previous experience of the task at hand. As a child there is extreme joy to just create something, anything! The fact that the drawing, or pinchpot, or knitted headband exists is cause for great satisfaction. Kids are okay with the quality of those first attempts. And if they enjoy what they are doing, the go back and do it again and again, thereby gaining practice and experience which improves the quality of those things they create.

So when we learn to knit, weave, spin...or an adult, we don't give ourselves permission to create something less than perfect. It's okay to have uneven selvedges, a broken warp or two, or unfortunate color choices in a project as long as we learn from them. Too often, as adult crafters, we give up on something because we don't permit ourselves to have what Anne call's "sh*tty first drafts".

This is one of the reasons I hated seeing new knitters getting sucked into those crazy eyelash novelty yarns as their first projects. Yes, anyone can knit a scarf that looks pretty good with those yarns. But then, the new knitter never learns about maintaining an even gauge, or the importance of stitch count in a pattern, or how to deal with the selvege stitches. So they move onto more 'normal' yarns and when their projects reflect this lack of learning, they quit.

So, if I should decide to pursue the plan above, I hereby give myself permission to try some new things and accept the fact that some of them projects not demonstrate perfect execution....they can be "sh*tty first drafts". But I hope I learn something from them all.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Here I am....

We spent the week after Convergence at the North Carolina shore. It was fun, not too hot, we watched July 4th fireworks on the beach, and ate lots and lots of seafood.

This week I've been trying to get my house back in order: literally and mentally.

During the long car ride I read an article about Jeanne Williamson's Weekly Journal Quilts in the summer issue of Quilting Arts magazine. (You may click to go read her artist's statement now, but don't forget to come back!!) I've done some quilting, but don't count myself as a quilter. However the concept of journaling by doing one managebly sized fiberart piece per week has caught my imagination.

Anne Lamott talks a lot about "sh*tty first drafts" in her book Bird by Bird. I'm sure I've blogged about this book before. Although it's directed at writers, it has wonderful suggestions for anyone trying to live a creative life.

I like to swatch, but I don't think they count as the "first draft" concept. And having seen the value of warm-up exercises in music, drawing, and writing classes, I've failed to find the equivalent of warm-up exercises in approaching my fiber stuff. Let's face it, mending is not a warm up exercise for creating great fiber art.

Enter this cute little lap loom, made by Tom Hockett, which I purchased at Convergence (click on the picture to see it larger and clearer.)

I happened to have it and some fancy colored crochet threads along in the car. So I warped it up and started to weave, picking up each alternating shed with a pick-up stick. That was about a thrilling a warm-up exercise as restitching the crotch seam on my ripped out shorts. There had to be a better way. Some sort of shedding device would make things go much better.

As I sat on the beach, staring at the sun, then the moon, drenched waves, I was mentally working over this problem. In the back of my mind I could vaguely see some kind of trinket or gadget that was back home and would help make a shedding device. At 3 AM on Wed. night I woke up knowing that the gadget I was thinking of were my son's old Kinex building set. (Apparently my 7th grade gym teacher was right, fish is brain food. That's the night I had mahi instead of shrimp or scallops.)

So here's the first thing I did when I got home:

Clever little shedding device, no? When it comes to weaving, I think I like the tinkering with the loom as much as creating woven fabric.

I think this little loom would be the perfect device to imitate Jeanne Williamson by doing a series of small pieces to explore fibers, colors, and techniques. There a couple ideas niggling the back of my mind: Tapestry techiniqes, finger manipulated weaves, and needle weaving techniques.

I'm curious to know what you think after you've read and looked over Jeanne's website. Also, if you want more details on the making of the shedding device, let me know.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

cartoon from

Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.

Bloglines used to have a button to "mark all feeds as read". It seems to have disappeared. After being away just a few days I feel.....overfed.

Convergence was good. Two of my four seminars were well presented and at a level useful to me. The other two were rather basic, and kind of....meh. Fashion show was...interesting. SS&D will have more than enough pictures.

Vendors were....okay. No Mirrix present and Fiberworks PCW were present but without product to take home with you. So I ordered Fiberworks PCW bronze and a manual. Perhaps by the time they arrive I will have time to play with it.

Must go pack for more adventures. Photo's later...maybe.

While I'm away, check out: Tiferet