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Gratitude & Process, a seasonal reflection

Gratitude & Process, a seasonal reflection.

(originally written Jan 7th, 2020)
 

(Please note: I am finishing a blog I started more than a week ago today. My sharing with you all is an attempt at focusing on something normal and within my control during a time of great turmoil for my country. Please don't let this put you off, or give you the impression that I am unmoved by the events of Jan. 6th 2021. I hope you find some comfort or enjoyment here.)

Let me first start off by saying that you all have made this end of year exciting for me. In November I participated in my first virtual yarn festival, greatly encouraged by other natural dyers and fiber arts friends on Instagram, and it was possibly the best decision I've made all year. Through lots of nerves and some technical difficulties I did both a live spinning demonstration and a live vendor show and tell. It was definitely a learning experience and I'm really glad to have done it. Botanica Yarn Festival is coming back May 1st & 2nd in fact, and I've already registered to vend and demo again.
The long and short of it is that I've found myself more supported than I expected to be. Self confidence in putting my work out into the world as purchasable items isn't something I have a lot of. I come up against this strange conundrum where I both do and don't want money for my work. As if getting paid somehow spoils my ideals or something ridiculous like that.

But this year I've needed it, my ability to support my little family with wool has meant so very much to me, and I've even managed to reinvest in all of this so that there will be more millspun yarns, and handspun, and sock yarns all in the coming year. I suppose what I'm trying to say is Thank you. Thank you so much for your support of this little wool corner on the web, and myself - as the strange woodland dyer and spinner that I am.

I thought I'd give you a small peak into life inside my cottage at the moment. About the cottage: it is quite small, two main rooms and lofted sleeping areas, and was built by my spouse creatures family as one of the first buildings on the shared land they have here outside of Eureka. Jules (the aforementioned spouse creature) and I are both artists, (you can find their work HERE if you're curious, they are a multimedia illustrator.) and artists, it is known, accumulate stuff. Jules works with light boards and a multitude of papers, dried plants, sticks, bones, boards, paints and all the tools that go with that. I bring wool and the tools that go along with that into the mix - spinning wheels, drum carders, looms, dye pots and the like. This can make life a bit of a challenge, especially seasonally when both of us work here at home.
And I am working from home! Thanks to the holly-days, and Botanica Yarn Fest before that I am low on stock (what a problem to have, I know!) Most of the year I dye outside thanks to an electric burner and camp stove, only occasionally bringing pots inside, but with the winter in Montana I have rather taken over the house with the process. As you can tell from the photo at the beginning of the blog (and if you follow me on IG) I regularly have pots rotating on and off the wood stove any time there is a fire going, why waste the heat? and use the regular stove as well. At any given time I may have yarn soaking or rinsing or washing in the kitchen sink, or in a pot in the shower. I regularly use a broom stick handle hung in the shower to dry yarns and wool, or leave baskets of it mostly dry, to finish in the sun room in front of the fire. Jules weathers it all with good humor, and I endeavor to move things along as quickly as I can. You can add this dance of inconvenience into your image of my little world the next time one of my skeins comes across your feed. Social media can certainly make things seem to run more smoothly than they actually do! Still, it is a system of its own, and is a testament to my spouse-creatures sainthood. If they can handle me in production mode, surely we're meant to be together.
It is a little strange for me to be dyeing in this way right now. Winter is usually slower, more quiet than it has been this year. I'm trying to hold onto that, to both be productive and work ( I couldn't stop myself from doing wool work if I tried at this point, I'm a goner.) and allow the winter to be about rest. To let myself breathe in and process the success I've had and not just panic about how to keep it all going. The entire point of this was for me to do the work that I can do in a sustainable way, for myself, for these woods, and for anyone who comes across my yarns and are moved by their story and creation. I am leaning into this idea right now. I hope you all are taking care of yourselves as well.
I hope to have some new yarns and colors for you all to see here soon, but for the moment, here are a couple in progress. The top photo is a dye pot on my wood stove, the second yarn dip dyeing in an avocado pit dye bath, and the last is wool top and yarn in a marigold dye bath.