This post is somewhat of a basic guide dedicated to those who have taken one of my weaving workshops and need a little refresher. At the end of each workshop, I give my students a little card with terms and things to remember when weaving. However, cards get lost, so for those of you who took my class, rather than dig around in your junk drawer trying to remember what you did with the thing, I thought I would post it here for your convenience. Happy weaving!
I recently had the privilege to work with Katie Ring, a student and employee of Herewith Magazine. I grew up with Katie and couldn't wait to see her again. We had so much fun doing this shoot and I mean, wow...how great of a photographer is she?! She is a lady boss and so ambitious. I know one day she's going to be famous and I just feel lucky to have gotten my picture taken by her. Here are some of my favorites.
It's January of this year, Michael and I have just moved into our first home. There is wallpaper hanging from the walls, boxes that need to be unpacked, and it's freezing both outside and in. It's late and we are laying on the sofa together, a fire is barely staying alive in the fireplace, and a candle and the flames of the dying fire are the only things lighting the room. We are quiet in the cold, dark house, staring up at the ceiling, entangled in each other, trying to stay warm. We start talking about goals, my goals. I tell Michael, my goal for the year is to have my work featured somewhere. Whether that be a coffee shop bathroom or a high-end art gallery, I just want it somewhere. We talked about how I need to have smaller goals to try and achieve my big one. We talked about timelines and how often I should be working. We talked and dreamed and thought of the future. Then I asked Michael, "What happens if I achieve my big goal before the year is up?" He replied, "Then you get a bigger goal."
Though it has been only six months since that conversation on that cold winter night, it feels like eons ago. I am proud to say that I have achieved and surpassed my "big goal". Not only have I gotten my work featured, but I have six pieces for sale in two separate locations, made multiple sales, and I can now announce that I am in the process of working with four different locations on teaching workshops and classes! When I was laying on that couch, thinking of myself passing that big goal, I really didn't imagine it like this. We all imagine success in different ways. Sometimes our minds get set on a path and we don't even realize all the other amazing paths our success can take us. I am thankful for the goals I've achieved and I am humbled for the goals I haven't. I know it may sound like I am super happy and positive about what has happened, but I have plenty of days where I feel like a failure. I get upset because I didn't post enough on social media, or I watched tv all day instead of working or didn't finish a piece fast enough. I've learned that goals are relatively easy to achieve, but it's the emotional side of things that is the hard part. Feelings of inadequacy, embarrassment, fatigue, self-doubt, these are all emotions I struggle with. There are some days when I feel so overwhelmed I don't even want to keep pursuing all of this. I think that a day job would be easier because then I wouldn't have to try. I would just go to an easy job and be able to come home and do whatever I want instead of always putting effort into building this dream. However, I know the pure joy that comes from doing what I love most. It's hard, it's exhausting, it's demanding, but it fills my soul in a way other things can't. So when it does get hard, I live with the knowledge that this crazy, seemingly impossible thing I'm doing is so, so worth it.
In my last post, I talked about my new found love for weaving. I'd thought I'd share what I've learned thus far, from a beginners perspective.
1. DIFFERENT LOOMS
When I first started out, I wanted to buy a loom (what you weave on) but when I looked them up on the internet, I got directed to giant (like the size of a smart car) sized looms. I was confused and eventually learned that there are several different kinds of looms. I still don't understand how the smart car looms work but I know they are for creating rugs, clothes, blankets, and other things that humans don't need to hand weave anymore. I eventually found what is commonly referred to as a "frame loom" or "lap loom". This is what I was looking for, and this is what most people who make hand-woven tapestries, weave on. My loom is from Lost Pond Looms on Etsy. If you're looking for a loom, Etsy is the place to find one. I've only used one loom so I can't recommend others but I'm going to add some of my favorite resources at the bottom of this post.
Tension has been my biggest enemy with weaving. Tension is how tight your yarn is stretched across your weaving. When you have good tension your weaving will turn out with straight edges and it won't pull in weird places; it should lay flat. Bad tension is when the weaving has curvy edges, has a wonky appearance, and instead of laying flat, puckers in odd places. I personally like weavings that have clean lines and look overall, very symmetrical. I've noticed that some weavers don't seem to care what their tension looks like but for me, it's a big deal. I'm still learning and experimenting how to weave in a way that will give me the best tension but it is a challenge!
Learning about weaving has been the biggest challenge with weaving. There just aren't that many resources. It's not a hugely popular thing anymore because like I said above, humans don't NEED to do it anymore, we have machines for that. But after lots of research I discovered a few people who also share the love of weaving and here's a list!
Over the years I've discovered I have a problem with not sticking to one medium of art (as I'm sure you'll see in my shop). I just LOVE being creative! Whether it's art, home decor, fashion, writing, cooking; whatever it is, if you can be creative with it, I love it. So that makes being an artist a little bit difficult sometimes. I'll start on one project but I have so many ideas constantly running through my head that by the time the next day rolls around I already want to start three other projects. My husband does so well with my affinity for so many mediums. However, I honestly feel for the guy whenever we venture into an art store. I'm running around like a kid in a candy store while he patiently follows me around, shaking his head no because I do not in fact need 5 different sketch books and 17 tubes of paint. Thank God I have him.
Recently though, I have discovered weaving. Some mediums will be just a phase and rarely I find one that I actually love, but, weaving was one of them. I always had a curiosity for knitting but lets be honest...knitting is one of those things that unless you've been doing it for a long time and you're super advanced, it never looks good. We all have that relative or friend that got into knitting and tried making you a scarf or beanie that came out looking like a scratchy, misshapen sock. Don't get me wrong, I'm not hating on knitting. I know people who knit some really beautiful things; it's just not for me. Anyway, since I didn't want to knit but I liked the idea of it, weaving seemed like the perfect alternative. So, I bought a loom (what you use to weave on), started weaving, and I absolutely love it. I've completed one weaving and I'm currently working on my second. Both are an experiment of sorts because I'm using different techniques on each. My goal is to have some ready for the shop very soon! In the meantime, here are some pictures of my weavings.
This past year has been full of one thing, and one thing only: change. In 2016, I got married, became a wife, (yes those are two separate things) left my childhood home, moved twice, bought a house, dropped out of college, and quit my job. I have felt thoroughly overwhelmed with the amount of change and the speed at which it has happened. Nothing can prepare you for the launch into adulthood; and nothing can prepare you for it to happen all so fast. Not only has my life changed, but I have changed with it. I am trying to find my place and asking myself the honest questions; Am I happy? Is this what I want to do with my life? If not, then what is? Part of me is figuring out that you never stop asking yourself these questions, you'll never reach a point where you "have it all together", and you'll never stop changing.
I was looking up change in the dictionary and saw that one of the synonyms was metamorphose. Metamorphose means, "to completely change in nature". Change is the end of one thing and the beginning of another. This year has been a year of a lot of endings; the end of my childhood, the end of singleness, and the end of a lot of dreams. I have achieved so much, so young, so fast and I should feel happy and successful but I've actually felt the opposite. My greatest dream since childhood was to get married to someone I loved. I did that. After getting married, I wanted a house for us to grow together in. I did that. I did these things, these things that take some people lifetimes to achieve, in less than 6 months. I was so happy, all my dreams were coming true, but yet, I felt something nagging me. That nagging helped me to realize, it was time for new dreams. The Northern Craft is something that I've wanted, tried, and failed, to do for a long time. However, dreams have changed, I have changed, and the time to start is now.
Hello & Welcome, I'm Cassidy.