Friday, December 23, 2016

Visions and Changes Therein

It was a few days before Christmas and all through the house preparations were making me tired and cranky. So when snow was predicted Thursday I envisioned a change of focus with part of a morning dedicated to a quiet session of snow dyeing.

While my newly mixed dyes cooled, I made the mistake of making what was supposed to be a quick call. On Monday night the oven refused to light in our range that is still new enough to be under a warranty and that night I was assured someone would call me back promptly to schedule repairs. Thursday I was checking why my definition of "promptly" seemed to differ from theirs. Two hours later I was still on the phone as the agent, who gets A for persistence but D for solving the problem, searched for a repair person--and as the threat of the snow turning to rain was closing my window of opportunity for enough snow to dye with.

With my stress level rising I took a deep breath and changed my vision. My quiet time all to myself changed to sharing, with the phone call becoming an annoyance instead of a destroyer. I discovered the cordless phone signal reached to the patio as one of the long pauses on hold gave me time enough to cover the fabric with snow, and, to soft strains of generic jazz (they couldn't even play Christmas music!), I poured dye on the snow mounds.

And today I have two pieces of snow-dyed fabric drying in the wind. Now snow dyeing always has an experimental zing and there is a puzzling part to this session: you will notice, above, that one of the bins is basically purple, the other black and those are the two dyes I mixed. But there is no black in either piece of fabric hanging on the line.

It simply washed away, leaving the tiny bit of purple I added to dominate and warning me that perhaps the black dye powder has lost its strength--or perhaps it was something else. They were both in the same soda ash so that is not the problem since the purple made a beautiful strongly colored piece of fabric. Something more to investigate--on a day when I can focus only on dyeing! 

(The oven is still not fixed and it may not be for at least another week.)

Merry Christmas to all of you who are looking for some focused time this busy season. May you find it--or something close enough!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016


I have been feeling overwhelmed lately--by endless reports of disturbing situations and decisions that will have repercussions that may ripple down the years, impacting my grandchildren's lives--and by trying to decide what I, in my seeming powerlessness, can do about them. So I turned to doing what was in front of me. I stitched on one of my current projects.

And at lunch I picked up the latest SAQA Journal that often leaves me inspired and motivated but today I read about how mastering the art of online video helps connect you with the world and then another article on new opportunities provided by the SAQA seminar, where we can watch videos of master fiber artists, interact with other fiber artists, and even join a stitch session and the list goes on. These are all good things, things that many people have spent much time on and that make a contribution to the arts community. But I am overwhelmed again--not too much bad news but too many opportunities.

And so I asked my spouse and animal companion if they would like to go for a walk on the beach. And both thought that was a great idea.

And seeing the actual waves, instead of the metaphorical ones that threatened to crash upon me, cleared my mind and gave me my perspective back. I cannot do everything but I can do something.