Shifting gears

Now that my last show of the year is over, and the remaining inventory of elegant scarves and shawls hung neatly in the back room of my studio, I’ve begun a process I especially love — cleaning up the studio after a long push of steady work, and beginning my work plan for the next year. It’s not that I’m an especially messy person, but there’s a pattern that seems to play itself out several times each year. I work steadily for some weeks or months, and pull out the yarns I want to work with as I go along. They stay out when that particular warp is woven off. Then on to the next, and the next. And so on. In addition, my big work table collects books, notebooks, magazines, yarns, a scattering of small notes on scratch paper, scissors, knitting needles, and lord knows what else. The end result is a small, perhaps two-square-foot empty space front and center, barely enough to open a magazine in. Time for clean-up indeed. I love it when I’m done; I even love doing it, as I invariably come across interesting items and ideas as I go along — which may or may not sidetrack me for a while.

The annual planning process is something I started a number of years ago; it serves several purposes. One is to keep me focused over the course of a longish period of time on what I really want to be doing, rather than dashing off on interesting but not necessarily productive or salable tangents. It enables me to sustain the steady discipline that promotes considerable production, keeps me pointed in the direction I want to go both aesthetically and technically, and it provides a framework within which I can best pursue the business of weaving. I like looking at the big picture of the next year, and thinking carefully (though some years not realistically!) about what’s possible, what will expand my skills and challenge me, what amount of completed work I’ll need to have ready for each of the shows I do.

So this is a time of transition in the studio and in my mind. I like it a lot. The very cold winter weather pattern we’re situated in this week pleases me; it’s the region’s transition time as well.

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