I first encountered the truism, “If you want to be a writer, write” in a nonfiction work of Paul Theroux, although I don’t think he originally coined the phrase. This is true of weaving, too. If you want to be a weaver, weave. I hear so many people say, “I’m not a real weaver, I only…..” If you weave, you are a weaver.
It gives me great pleasure when people ask me what I do to say I’m a weaver. There are many ways to be a “weaver”. You can be a production weaver, a hang-on-the-wall art weaver, an armchair weaver, a wearables weaver, a rug weaver, a weave-for-my home weaver, a weave-for-gifts-weaver, a teacher, a therapeutic setting weaver, a community development weaver, a social activist weaver, a weaving-related business owner or manufacture, an editor of weaving materials, an author, a blogger, an historian, a clothing designer, the list goes on. All of these require that you have a working knowledge of how weaving works.
I came upon this life in a way that makes some sense looking back, but as I was going about it seemed haphazard. At some point in my journey, I read Joseph Campbell‘s writings on following your bliss with intellectual heart-felt enthusiasm. I wanted to know HOW to follow my bliss. Where was the practical information to get me from here to bliss? Now I get it. Following your bliss is not in the least bit practical. It take a lot of impracticality to make that journey.
The wise express great truisms in nice tidy phrases: “Follow your bliss.” “If you want to be a writer, write.” In them is everything we need to know, we just may not have earned the understanding yet.
So, why Yarnworker? Because that’s what I do. I work with yarn, more specifically, I weave with it. But Weaveworker didn’t sound quite the same. If you want to be a weaver, roll up your sleeves, grab some yarn, and weave. Following your bliss takes a lot of hard work and being willing to fail a lot. There is also a lot of joy. Good days don’t last, bad days don’t last. I’ve had to weave a lot of bad cloth, write a lot of bad words about that bad cloth, and work a lot of long hours to get even close to being a working weaver. I’m still on that journey.
I say this is as close as I can come to the practical advice I was looking for in my youth: Get as much formal education as you can stand, and know that education comes in many forms. Be impractical. Go ahead drop out of xxx, and do xxx. Take low-paying jobs that get you closer to the thing you love to do. Quit good-paying jobs to pursue that thing you have always wanted to try. Don’t forget the many, many ways you are lucky and honor the work of those that may not have as many options as you do even when it feels like you don’t. You will never regret eating your vegetables, exercising regularly, spreading as much kindness as you can muster, and not spending what you don’t have. Do your best, you will get better. Bliss is around the corner waiting for you, right after you weave back about forty rows.