Patience and time

People who see my weaving at events and Open Studios often react with “You must be so patient to do that.” I find this puzzling. I mean, I know they aren’t really commenting on my temperament. It is a way of saying “That looks awfully slow and fiddly and I don’t think I could do it” which is fair enough. But it still doesn’t seem to relate to my weaving practice, because I think of patience as something you need when you aren’t doing what you want to do. When I am enjoying what I do, the patience mode is not activated.

On the whole, though, I am not a particularly patient person. I like to be actively doing things and making stuff happen, rather than waiting for things to happen by themselves. This is my main reason for preferring weaving to dyeing! And now here we are in this strange in-between-world of waiting for the sky to fall, and wondering what life will look like after the sky has hit the ground. We are being called on to be patient indeed, in a state of anxiety and uncertainty which is the very opposite of the relaxed state of enjoyment I think of when I think of threading up a loom. But so it is.

At the moment my working time is divided three ways.

There is the normal content. This week my main task is marking a set of assignments. The usual deadline applies and I am plodding along towards it.

There is the unravelling content. Events are being cancelled and postponed, and my diary is emptying out. I am working through the slow, sad business of cancelling workshops and sending out refunds. It’s frightening and depressing, but it must be done.

And there is the restorative content. The work of the loom. I haven’t shared much work-in-progress on this blog for a while. I find it very difficult to write in real time about my thoughts and challenges, because I have learned that I need to conserve that energy for the work itself. Then, once the work is done, the thoughts and challenges are wrapped up and I find it just as difficult to unwrap them again. But I am going to try and post a little more while we’re in this suspended place, though I hope you’ll excuse me for withholding details I am not ready to share.

My priority for the next few weeks is the Shift Canada project, which has continued to develop out of our trip to Nova Scotia. My partner and I have been meeting regularly online, sharing ideas and experiments, and my first samples on the Toika have been woven with this project in mind. But our deadline is approaching, so it is time to get serious and get a weave on.

For my ground cloth I am using some of this lovely wool singles from Uist Wool. It’s a beautifully subtle blend of natural creams and greys. Quite a chunky yarn, as you can see from the photo. You’ll have noticed that I am calling this a ground cloth. Yes, I will be adding things to it! It’s going to be a slow, steady weave. Quite appropriate for the time we are in.

Stay safe, stay well, weave if you can.

Patience and time” was posted by Cally on 17 March 2020 at

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