As a weaving teacher, I’m constantly reminded what an inexact term “beating” is. In weaving, we throw the term “beat” around a lot when what we really need to do is finesse. There are notable exceptions and we have explored some of those this year—weft-faced colorwork anyone?—but most yarn doesn’t really like being pushed about. It wants what it wants. I can relate.
I try to make it a general practice to be thankful for what I have and to be cautious of my wants. Easy for me to say, give me a loom and a pile of yarn and I’m pretty content. Although in writing this, I’ll admit to a certain disingenuousness about this statement. There is so much that leads up to my ability to sit down and weave—there are the very tangible, a roof over my head, food in my belly, loom, yarn, etc., and the intangible, such as time and state of mind.
We speak of weaving in terms of its calming and meditative qualities, but weaving is not just peacefully sitting down at the loom and throwing the shuttle. There is a lot of mess and all those other bits—project planning, yarn selection, warping, finishing, enjoying, using, learning, gifting, sharing.
Time in 2020 is either given to us in abundance or is almost non-existent. If we do have an abundance of time, we may not have all the resources—mental or physical—at our disposal to weave all the weaves we would like to weave.
This year has brought me long bouts of weaver’s block—when I sit down at the loom and nothing happens. The muse is just not there. It is a year when we feel loss poignantly, but not proportionally. This year has taken so much from so many.
This time of year tends to focus our minds on both our satifactions and longings. I count myself humbled to be a weaving teacher during this moment. I fully want all your time at the loom to be what you want it to be and I see you when things just don’t go according to plan.
There are some other things I’m grateful for:
- I’m supremely grateful for the ongoing robust conversations and actions around diversity and inclusion in the fiber arts and beyond. As someone who has spent much of my life trying to make weavers, the increased visibility of makers and mentors from all walks of life is doing just that.
- I’m grateful for indigenous communities that have always been the keeper of weaving traditions. While fads come and go, these communities make weaving a part of their permanent ecosystem.
- I’m grateful for the internet that allows me a great deal of independence and connection, and to continue to do what I do and to see more of what others do. I do not live in an area with very robust connection, so it makes me feel even more keenly how grateful I am to have any connection and the ability to pay for it.
- I’m grateful for essential workers, who deserve our full admiration every day and certainly don’t deserve to have our personal frustrations taken out on them.
- I am grateful that political engagement is up. Overall, caring about your local city council meeting and holding politicians accountable is a good thing, doom scrolling is not.
- I’m grateful for protected wild outdoor spaces.
- I’m grateful for health care that provides my mother’s cancer treatments and delivered my nephew safely to this world.
- I’m grateful for people who wear masks and take common sense COVID-19 precautions.
- I’m grateful for students and teachers, who are sometimes one and the same.
- I’m grateful for colleagues, collaborators, and contractors who make being a company of one far more sustainable and enjoyable.
- I’m grateful for a most astonishing and supportive Patreon community that has kept me employed during uncertain times.
2020 has been hard. It has wrought countless changes to our lives. Time will tell what history will make of this moment. Transcending the ‘tude—attitude, solitude, rectitude, certitude, aptitude—is not easy stuff. When the bouncing brain syndrome hits, the first step for me is to take a breath and practice some gratitude. The next step reveals itself.
Weave on through to the other side,