I’ve taken some side trips the last few months, the consequence of which has been an unintentional hiatus from blogging. My adventures led me to textile conferences, workshops and even knitting shows, connecting me to creative people, opportunities and inspirational fodder to share. I decided that as my return, I’d update you on what I’ve been doing and what I’ll be writing about in future posts.
Last summer, I was thrilled to have a personal essay published in one of the (currently) three magazines to which I subscribe: Uppercase (issue 30, p. 67). It was a story of how my heritage strongly influences why–and how–I weave. This magazine is unique for creatives and is published independently by Janine Vangool in Alberta, Canada, who continually offers contribution opportunities for artisans. This particular essay enabled me to vocalize why I am pursuing a life in textiles–and was a confidence booster to see that I could get an article published!
At the local Mid-Ohio Fiber Fair, I met a newcomer to the yarn world–Sy Belohlavek of June Cashmere. Now this is a story I can’t wait to share. To give you a quick glimpse, I heard about the purpose and soul of June Cashmere on that day and immediately asked Sy if I could write about him in my ‘fledgling’ blog. He graciously agreed but as I began to write, I felt that my small platform didn’t do justice to the story of June Cashmere. I approached Sy again. Would he be willing for me to submit his story to another of my subscribed magazines, Selvedge? With yes as the answer, I submitted a professional proposal in early September. Not having done that before, I hesitated writing ahead of time about June Cashmere–on my blog or otherwise–because I wasn’t sure of magazine publishing rules. So instead, I submitted and . . . heard nothing.
In the meantime, I felt the urge to invest in ‘continuing education’ as it were by attending the 2016 Textile Society of America Conference in Savannah, Georgia. For someone without institutional financial backing, the expense was significant enough to hesitate. And yet, I kept ‘feeling it’–that calling that I should go, that I should see what this was about and if it was for me–for artisans like me. At the very least, I could get blog posts out of it, right? My supportive husband nearly pushed me out the door and well, am I ever glad he did. I do have much to share from this experience–from an analysis of the conference itself (like I can’t wait for Vancouver 2018!) to sharing my interview with an utterly amazing weaver and collector, Bonnie S. Carter, whose donated works make up an exhibit at the Savannah History Museum. It is a must-see for all textile enthusiasts, in particular weavers. There’s the post-conference workshop on Kalamkari fabric printing with Indian artist, Lavanya Mani, yet another wonderful post. And then there is the coup–my conversation with Polly Leonard, the founder and editor of Selvedge. Taking the ‘what-have-I-got-to-lose’ approach, I told Polly about the proposal I had sent and why I thought it was a perfect fit for Selvedge. It turns out she hadn’t seen it–and agreed with me! Which leads me to announce that I’m in the current issue on wild fiber with a full-page article about June Cashmere! I’ll so elaborate on this in my next blog post. . .
My local commitments are significant too. My weaving guild is 80 this year. To honor the milestone, I am part of a committee creating a book to be published later in the year. I wonder if we five on the committee will ever do this type of thing again . . . not because we don’t work well together–we do! It’s just one of those significant projects that takes f.or.e.v.e.r. But there is much about this process and the history of (weaving) guilds and woven samples that I want to share.
The holidays were tucked in there with trips to Illinois and Kitchener, Canada, giving me some beautiful tool and book acquisitions to discuss.
This all leads to my most recent week-long trip two weeks ago to New York City on a personal textile crawl. The first half of the week was spent with my dear friend Janet (highlighted by The Met and MOOD), while the latter part was spent helping in the June Cashmere booth at Vogue Knitting Live. The entire trip was amazing.; I broadened my network, experienced the studio of Hania by Anya Cole, and even received a give-away for the blog–a hand-made shawl pin by the truly kind Michelle of Michelle’s Assortment. I told her I would follow up with her to get an interview to go along with the give-away.
I have many take-aways from the last few months, one of the most important being a bit of advice I read often, especially for artisans and creative people who are trying to design a life they love and get paid for it (ok, also marketed by Nike). . .
Just do it.
That is how fiber•logue began–as an effort to try my hand at one of my textile interests to see where it might lead me. And while I don’t know the final answer to that, I can say that so far, it’s been incredibly good advice.