Monday, August 31, 2009

Sock Season

I am gearing up for the fall and winter Wool Sock Season! I had a request to make three pairs of neutral and/or pastel socks, and they are shown in the three photos below.

"Lake Placid," wool socks.

"Morning Fog" wool socks.

"Sparkling Lake" wool socks.

On Sept. 25th, 1-4 PM, Artistree Gallery, in Land O'Lakes, WI, will have an Open House with several artists demonstrating what they do. I'll be there to demo sockmaking on the 1908 Gearhart Sock Machine.

On Sat., Sept. 26th, 9 AM to 4 PM, the Art Gypsies will have their annual "Art In a New Yard" art show/sale at Fir Tree Cottage in Land O'Lakes, WI.

On Oct. 2-4, 10 AM to 5 PM daily, the Fall Northwoods Art Tour takes place. Visitors are able to go on a self-guided tour of artists studios and galleries in a three county area.

Needless to say, I am really gearing up for making a lot of pairs of socks. More will be shown here at they are made, including "Up North," "Cranberry Harvest," "Copper Leaves," Colorama," "Christmas at the Cabin," and many, many more.

In between splitting and stacking winter wood (son Noah is doing the cutting), I'm trying to get back to my looms. There is a lot to be done both in and out of Shuttle Works Studio.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

August ~ Preparing for Winter

It's August, and more than time to get ready for winter. We still have a bit of wood left from last winter and that is what I'm working on. Shortly, more wood will be delivered and need to be cut, split, and stacked.

The woodshed needs to be filled, along with three or four very large outdoor racks (covered with tarps), as well as the large rack on the porch. A winter's worth of kindling for starting the woodrange fire each morning also needs to be split and stored in buckets and garbage cans in the garage to keep it all dry.

Yes, it's a lot of work, but there is nothing so warm as wood burning in the kitchen woodrange in winter, when snow is falling, wind is blowing, and you're listening to a weather report about the ice storm that is on its way. We have a furnace in the basement which in winter is set at 65 degrees at night, but almost all our daytime/evening heat comes from the woodburner from mid-September to mid-April.

All the wood now being cut/split/stacked will later be brought, throughout the winter, to the lakeside porch and stacked onto a large, easily accessible, woodrack right outside the door. The rack is filled two or three times a week all winter as wood is added to the range every 30-60 minutes from 7 AM to midnight everyday.

Today? I'm in jeans and a t-shirt, ear protection on, enjoying being outdoors while the sun is shining and now setting in the west. When I turn the splitter off to go stack the split wood, I can hear the breeze blowing through the pine, maple and oak trees surrounding our home.

Walking along the driveway, I noticed the last of the wild blueberries still hanging on, and the well-travelled deer path through the "island" in our circular drive (below).

I'm also keeping an eye out for a black bear that was seen by our neighbors, though I expect the noise from the splitter will keep him away. Now, time to split a bit more wood, then back to the quiet of the studio.

Postscript added Sunday, Aug. 23rd: Driving to town just before 8 AM we had a black bear cross the highway in front of us, on the way home a coyote, quite a bit closer, and on my way north, another coyote. It seems to be a wildlife day!

Life Changes

Changes are taking place in the life of my family. My oldest daughter is about to start at MATC in Madison, so we were busy packing, shopping, moving, and I was in Madison again for the second time this month. My two teens have been working jobs all summer, preparing for and taking drivers license tests and buying a car. All this meant my studio time was being seriously challenged! Things are settling down now, and when school starts I will have more time available for my weaving than I have had in 22 years. I am almost retired as family chauffer.

When I returned home from Madison, I was making the "Mom" adjustment of my oldest daughter living away from home, feeling very proud of her and all she has done, but still feeling a bit sad and missing her. Yesterday she wrote she had been wakened in the morning by a tapping on the roof, and a minute later, a big crow looked in down through the skylight. Well, laughing and picturing it, I perked right up and got back to work in my studio.

On the drive home I stopped at Barnes & Noble and added "A Year in Provence" to our home DVD library, and enjoyed watching it over two evenings, and trying to see how much French I could understand. Now, I'll be able to listen to it while working.

While I returned home from Madison, I found a package waiting for me. What in the world? I hadn't ordered anything. AAaahhh,... it was from LaVonne Stucky, Serenity Sheep Farm, MT. Opening it, I found this wonderful little loom with "Welcome" woven in. LaVonne had found it at a garage sale, and thought it might be a nice addition to my studio.

The little loom now sits on the table with my business cards and brochures. LaVonne and I know each other from the "Take Peace," (Tasha Tudor) yahoo group. Thank you, LaVonne, for thinking of me, you are a wonderful friend!

Knowing I should focus on one area, I am instead busy working on three things, cutting & sewing more colors/strips for the rugs, making socks, and tinkering with the drawloom. Tomorrow I work at Artistree for four hours and will see what has been happening there. They are asking for demonstrations on Friday, Sept. 25th, for Colorama Weekend, so will volunteer a sock machine demo if needed.

It feels so good to be back in my weaving studio, and now, back to my cutting table.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Organizing the Paper Blizzard

Yesterday afternoon was spent taking photos of socks, uploading pics, and updating my 1000 Markets shop, and now need to make and add more weaving and socks. The gallery needs more, too, plus an upcoming art show and the Fall Art Tour.

Today, I've finally decided I'm long overdue to organize the paper blizzard that seems to have enveloped my life,... business, school, bills, community, church, etc. I'm between weaving and sock deadlines, so this is a good time to tackle this project.

I hate paper, hate dealing with it, probably from years of working in an office and with files. In some areas of my life I'm quite organized, but the rest? It's past time to bring order to those areas, too. I've either reached the age where I don't remember things as well as I used to, or I'm so focused on one area of my life (fibers) that I'm shutting out too much of the rest, probably both, hence the need to organize. All I know is, I don't want to leave my kids with a mess.

Yesterday, I updated my calendar, worked on new lists of all I need to do including upcoming commitments and plans for next year, and began putting new systems into place for dealing with paper as it comes in or is created.

Today, file drawers were emptied out, and hanging files and file folders put back in place ready for current paperwork. Purging of paper has begun. A four drawer file is now in the studio and being put to good use. It's not attractive, but very useful. This project, taken as a whole, feels overwhelming, but a small amount each morning will be very manageable. I'm looking forward to getting this much needed project completed.

What does all this have to do with weaving? My business and weaving files are growing, along with study group newsletters and more. This area of my life is in good shape, and I want it to stay that way.

Oh yes, I stopped at a new (to me) thrift store today and brought home two sheets. My oldest daughter is moving away for two more years of college and has requested a rug with blues in it. Today I found a navy blue sheet along with a blue floral. I need to choose more sheets from my stash for her rug and get it woven, then when I go downstate to the WI Sheep & Wool Festival, I can drop it off to her. I've earned a break from paper, it's time to go cut and sew strips!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Investing in Your Future

I love quotes. They catch my eye, and at times I find something that really speaks to me. This morning, while checking in on Twitter, I found Clint Watson (clintavo) had posted a quote and link, passed along to you here...

"Every hour spent with your artwork is time invested in your future." ~ Lori Woodward Simons, watercolor artist.

Lori Simons has started a new art blog there, and I plan to check in on it often. I have a couple others, including Ancient Artist, that I enjoy reading. Though I am a weaver, I find a lot of good information and ideas on art sites that I can apply to my work/studio/time. In her post she mentions starting a 20 hours a week in the studio challenge, and how it was re-posted (or re-tweeted) and has become a movement.

It's not that I don't have regular studio time, I do, but I want to be even more deliberate about it. It's too easy to be distracted by family, friends, computer, and so on. There are days/weeks when I spent far more than 20 hours a week in my studio, and occasionally we all need a break. For myself, I want to be more aware of what I am doing, choices I'm making, and work even more toward my goals.

As I write this, I'm thinking, are you crazy, do you know what the next two weeks will be like? Yet this is exactly why this particular quote and post spoke to me. It would be so easy to blow off any time I could make use of. Not the choice I hope to be making.

For those of us who weave and sell some of what we make, studio time really IS an investment in our future. For those who weave because they enjoy weaving and want to learn, the same quote holds true. Time in the studio weaving and learning increases your knowledge giving you more to build on. Wherever you fall, growth is a goal.