Work Life

In which I think about my day job and where I want to be, and come up with a ton of metaphors. (And wordy, grab your tea, this is a real-life mirror biggie.)

It feels like a wobbly balance beam a lot, the play between working a day job, and working a joy job.

Having a life outside of the office, spending hours away from home to pay the bills in a short cubicle.  

Short cubicles are not my favorite thing.

Making in my studio is one of my favorite things.

 

I have a day job. It’s where I am right now (not physically, but life-cycle wise- you know what I mean.)

I have a night and weekend job too- creating in my studio. Leather bags, woven scarves, sparkling cocoons, this is the place that makes my heart sing.

There’s also this thing I like to call a social life.  I’m an introvert by nature, but I do love my people. I like spending time with my family and friends near and far, and take what chances I have to do so. 

The studio is where I recharge.  Where I am mostly alone. (I find one is never truly alone with cats in the house.)

So how do I find time to recharge when I get home, have to make dinner, talk with and enjoy my husband and kitties? Sometimes it’s the choice between drinks with a friend and time in the studio.  Others, my husband tells me sweetly to go work in there already.  Sometimes I stay on the couch and we watch movies together instead of me listening to them from the studio.

I miss that room every moment I’m in the office.

 

I take photos on weekends and late at night with crappy lighting.

 

Cocoons are stitched on during lunch hours, scarves dyed and woven in slips of time here and there. A little tap-tap of my maul on leather after dinner, painting early on a Saturday.

 

It’s hard.

 

I’m working to be more. More myself, more of a maker, more of an independent artist.

 

Applying to shows and galleries. Connecting with other artists online (hi guys!). Trading notes with local makers. Writing, drawing, working, photographing, posting shop updates.

Then I wake up, and drive to work.

My bills are paid, our home is secure, and I don’t have to worry about it so much. That part is nice.

The time away from what I love on the other hand… It’s getting harder.  It motivates me to work on my art more. To hone my skills, to take that leap and send the scary-exciting emails. I’ve made some rock solid big and small steps this year to move closer to becoming an independent artist.  It’s a long slog in low gear. I know I can do it, and I have help and support from my friends and my patrons. This slow roll is building momentum, and I am ready to move when the time is right.

And oh, when it is right!  

Sometimes when things are extra draggy in the office, I’ll spend a weekend working like it is what I do every day. Wake up. Tea. Paint. Tool. Weave. Dye. Stitch. Felt. Whatever needs to be done, is done.

Those days are the best type. Fun, soul-filling, it’s a rehearsal for the coming show. The steps are still being practiced.

I’ll be ready when the day to change gears is here. I hope you’re along for the long haul with me. 

A year in review

It seems like a lot has changed, in every nook and cranny of my life. 

So... let's talk about the creative side, it's plenty big and important. 

The Gratitude Project was launched

A loom was purchased

 

Three major bag projects were made, and plenty of fringe was cut

 

So, so many cocoons were made. 

Leather was explored

Plenty of experiments were done, results falling into learning and successes. Words were written, dreams spoken out loud and pinned down into actions. More dreams were imagined up from the clouds.  

Big steps and little steps, all taken, all moving forward to now. To the new year.  

I'm still swirling around what my goals would like to be for 2016, but for now, I'm enjoying the last days of this year with friends, family and studio all in my heart. 

Happy Holidays, may your soul be light and your heart be warm.

Thank you, for all of your support this year. It would've been much less interesting with all of you.

With Purpose

Intention. 

It's a major buzzword these days, thinking, doing, walking, breathing, all with awareness. It can get exhausting, if you're not in the right space. It's easier, some days, to go through the motions more robot than human. 

It is also an important word, any day, any era, any world.  How do you walk through life? With your eyes open and staring up, down, or ahead?  Perhaps closed? A mishmash of all of these, depending on the moment, whirling around trying to grasp what's flying past?

Me too. 

Lately, I've been making more of an effort to be aware of my seat in the universe, especially in my studio.  If I'm going to create beauty, I want it to be soulful beauty, as often as possible.  I know it's an energy flow, and it will ebb and flow with the tides, but I am aware of it.  That, for me, is the struggle/goal/inspiration right now.  To be aware of my intention when I sit down at the bench, comfy chair, or loom.  To work with an open heart, crafting each piece with care and love so that it will fit you the best it can.  The more I do this, the more often it works out.  Practice works- who knew? (ha!)

Here's where this path has taken me, lately. 

a bag and cuff, mellowing out together, soon to be finished. 

cocoons, hanging from the ceiling, waiting for their embellishments. 

the latest weaving project, color movement through tiny yarn of silk and wool.

In Gratitude Parts 1 & 2

A love letter to my fellow artists.

Dear beloved souls,

You are not alone, I see you.

Keep making, keep writing, keep struggling to express that push behind your heart, the spark in your mind, the good fight in your eyes.

Weather the storm. 

Wake up in the morning, stay up late into the night. Savor the afternoon. Greet your muse like an old friend, learn to lay fallow when she takes a vacation (perhaps... you need one too?).  Pour yourself some tea, drink some water, don't forget to eat.  Get out of your studio and doodle.  Rest. 

 

Listen.

Breathe.

Create.

 

So much love,

Cat

Trials and Triumphs

This scarf. 

Oh, this scarf was full of peaks and valleys. At the end, I did climb up to the peaks, though I will admit to spending a lot of time in grumbling, narrow valleys, that offered only slivers of sky.  Nearly everything was done twice for this beautiful frustration.

Here is diary of this green beauty-beast.

6/13/15

Winding the warp was a breeze after the last weaving projects.  Winding off the weft got a little interesting, but I've figured out a good system now, learning success!

6/14/15

The first time I dyed the noil silk yarn I miscalculated the acid needs (aka not enough vinegar for the dye to take, the greens fell flat, and so I dyed it again.  More chartreuse, more vinegar. More waiting for the yarn to dry as I paw at its cottony luxury, willing the dampness away. The two greens together reflect the lush greenery a North Carolina summer has to offer (especially after it rains... wishing it would do just that!) 

Once dry, I had to detangle the weft yarn because it felt like being trouble (but being dyed twice and not having enough ties around it would do it to any good yarn).

6/17/15

I began the process of dressing the loom with a threading pattern that kind of made my eyes cross (a red flag I totally missed). While winding the back beam I also managed to miss-read what was going on and cut 8 ends short thinking everything was awesome and ready to be tied onto the front beam… it wasn't, that group of ends had popped off the back beam and was merrily pulling forward. Walk away from the loom. Went to mom's for the weekend, glad and sad the loom can't travel with me. 

6/22/15

Home again.  Re-thread and fixed, begrudgingly glad I didn't try to fix it right away, but stepped back and returned with a better solution.  (thanks, late night thought rambles!).

Wound bobbins without issue, things are looking up! 

IMG_9067.JPG

Feeling vindicated, I started weaving the pattern, to find that the sequence caused one edge to be perfect and the other loose and sloppy.  I picked everything out and tried again, with something a little different. Nope, still wonky. Pick it out again. Try one more thing, still sloppy. Walk away from the loom.

The next step is to re-do the tie up on the treadles back as they were (familiar ground) to make something that works better, because, damn it, I am NOT rethreading this thing. Harrumph!

What keeps me from cutting it all off- the greens blending together perfectly, knowing the loom can take the fists I've shaken at myself with grace. There will be a scarf coming off this loom in the next week, because I have faith.  Faith in the loom, the yarn, and my ability to follow the thread out of the labyrinth of new knowledge mixed with experience.

6/23/15

Finally figured out what treadle pattern would give me nice edges! It's a little wonky, but that's how I work.  I think part of my block with this scarf was that I wanted to FIGURE it out technically, in detail, why it wasn't working.  And you know what? I don't know enough about weaving yet to know how to do that. What I do know how to do is to work out a system that gives me a beautiful piece of fabric, and I'm ok with that (...for now...).

 I wove 40 inches with a nearly constant rhythm, letting the treadle pattern lead the way. Sometimes I lost track, but the undulating pattern of diamonds looked so pretty, I kept going. I can't wait to get this off the loom and finished! Then I can offer it up to you, dear readers, which is why I make.  To share with you my view of color and movement, my imperfections, the beauty of fiber. 

6/24/15

Woven, cut off the loom, washed, and photographed. The noil silk has a light, cotton-like hand, it's a perfect summer scarf for those freezing air-conditioned restaurants, offices and movie theaters.  The pattern is made up of shifting diamonds and zigzags.  

In the shop now.