“THE BUMBLE BEE AND THE FLAX SHARE A DANCE”
I’ve taken a couple of days just to let this blog sift through my mind picking up bits and pieces in the time since the family all left and one by one reported back how they’ve all settled in at home, all agreeing that it was a wonderful visit!
One question that came up for me was “What would I be doing now if I hadn’t got ill?” I’m sixty seven years old (this won’t be a surprise to any of my Bella Vista HS friends who keep in touch), I’ve had a challenging career, raised a family and most recently written a book. It’s called Practical Weaving (in case you’d forgotten) and is available to pre-order on Amazon. It’s a bonus to all the years of teaching weaving and spinning, a resource I had been accumulating over the years and now it’s under one cover.
The editor at A.C. Black mentioned that as part of the publicity for they book they would be asking how it was I became a weaver and through this blog I’ve had time to articulate that.
In the past year, I’ve moved house, sorted through a lifetime of “things”, spent a lot of hours resting and recuperating, reading for pleasure and for thought, spent time with friends and planned the new container garden. So what next?
The answer – some empty space, getting rid of more “stuff” after talking to the family about what they would like and planning the garden, realising that I won’t be able to do the physical work, but I can still dream and visualise!
So if you don’t hear from me on a daily basis for a while you’ll know that in spite of the frustrations I am where I should be and everything is moving even as I stand still.
One thing that I will be doing is opening Fiona Doubleday’s studio on Saturday 27 April. Tea, cupcakes and lots of co-operative sunshine will be the order of the day, plus a chance to see what Fiona is up to at Hazelbank. Production is underway of butterflies in a range of fibres and fabrics to see in aid of the Butterfly Tree Project in Zambia which I’ve mentioned before.
I will be donating a basket of yarns from my stash of natural-dyed wool and alpaca, Finnish and Swedish linen and other beautiful yarns from shops like Tricoter in Seattle. Visitors to Fiona’s studio can take away yarn and a pattern to make crocheted butterflies to add to the range of work which will also be for sale in local shops.
In the early eighties at Silverbirch, my spinning and weaving workshop in Whiting Bay, we cultivated some small plots of flax and processed them by hand into linen thread. That is a chapter in itself which I will write at a later date. One story is appropriate for my situation just now and I’m sure you’ve experienced it for yourself.
In one of the plots the flax had grown to 5 feet tall with blue flowers. This meant that the yield from the stalk would be long and easy to process. What was significant though was the strength of the fibre. I was meditating one day, just looking at the flowers waving in the wind, looking forward to processing them. All of a sudden a huge bumblebee landed on the tallest stalk. It’s weight pulled the stalk right over to the ground bending it but not breaking it.
The bee gathered the pollen from the flower and then flew away. The linen stalk began to stretch very slowly back up to it’s full height again with no drama or jerkiness whatsoever. Watching the stalk was one of the most profound things I’d ever seen. At the moment my being feels like that linen flower, pulled by a heavy weight all the way down. Now it’s stretching back of it’s own accord to it’s full height.
“straw into gold – preparing flax for spinning”
To read more about my art and textile work see:
Websites I like: