I park and step onto the street. Tea in hand, notebook, ideas, heart pumping a little. I take some deep breaths to abate the anxiety within me from being seven minuets late. More like ten once I get into the space. The windows are blocked from above head height to the base of the sill. The door is perfectly centered in the old looking brick building. I push down on the latch with my thumb, breathe deep, and embrace the excitement as I open the door.
Having just returned from a trip into the mountains, spending four days in a traditional Yurt, burning wood in a wood stove and snowshoeing around in the “Never Summer Wilderness,” this class would bring me back to city living gracefully. The Yurt experience really hit the reset button of my soul. Getting to spend some time with no obligations and nowhere to be gave me the freedom to just CHILL, in every sense of the word. Taking in the natural surroundings without a timeline, hours to draw just for the fun of it, space to embrace the freedom. A vacation into the heart of the cold, snowy mountains. I have never seen so much snow, but it has a hushing quality to it. Something so quiet and still, you just can not comprehend it. I kept having the sense of being in a painting from the 1700's, that kind of magic mountain landscape, somewhat sepia tone or black and white, the world devoid of color. What little colors were present made that much more vibrant. At first glance it might look like lack of life, but in truth, it is a beautiful cycle of recoiling into the hushed season of winter. What a beautiful gift earth gives us.... With all these feelings, thoughts and musings on nature, I am about to weave, an ancient (truly ANCIENT) technique of making fabric-taking resources and weaving them into something beautiful, useful, valuable.
I step inside the space and find it filled with beautiful light, people oogling at fiber. A lovely feeling of creativity and ease overtake me. Breathe. I look at the small lap sized looms, prepared with the warp thread, I would soon learn. I see strawberries on a table with croissants and goat cheese. Oh, yes, I think to myself. (I may have said this out loud, I can’t be sure).
I am greeted kindly, directed to a menu for lunch and settle in. I chat a little, gather some strawberries and cheese (happiness), and find the yarn bag with my name on it. I dig through. I find the perfect colors; deep turquoise, golden-rod yellow, warm woolly grey, creamy cotton, and a soft grey roving. I find a seat and prepare to weave, feeling the wood, which smelled of only recently being prepared. The teacher, a fellow artist sharing her experience, explains the basics to us, shares her experience, her repetitive motion injury (similar to what I am experiencing?) I think. Her pitch to use natural, recycled, vintage and organic fibers. A perfect reminder of why I love creating. With pure resources, art can be environmentally friendly, making it all the more beautiful in my eyes. We start weaving.
When I thought to start weaving months ago, I used a wooden picture frame I purchased at the thrift store. I stuck about 40 thumb-tacks all through the top and bottom of the frame. I strung some string around each tack. As I began weaving, some thumb-tacks fell out, some were crooked, and my weaving became odd and hourglass shaped. As I learned on that sunny Saturday, my misshapen weaving was struggling because I was not using the arch technique. When weaving, instead of pulling the working yarn through straight, you pull up at an angle, and pull only the end down to create an arch with the yarn. Then you push it down with your fingers or a fork. This gives the yarn the space it needs to “do its thing.” (Much like I needed my space to do my thing in the yurt). This way it has some give to it. It does appear to move in a straight line through the warp threads, but it’s like a ocean wave, and needs some space to undulate up and down, without becoming too tight. (We too need our space to undulate up and down, without becoming too tight. Massages are great for this. I hold so much stress in my shoulders, like so many of us. Take a deep breath, lower your shoulders, I remind myself, as I weave.)
I begin to play. My colors are so vibrant, and textures so intriguing I can’t help but use them all. I use the roving, the wool yarn loosely spun, I use the cotton, and the deep turquoise. I create something playful, something that strictly satisfies the drive in me to make this thing, adding some shapes and letting it be what it will be, no planning no controlling (besides the arches).
Space to create.
Since Saturday, I have two finished weavings and I have almost finished my third. I am excited about this new structure to create with. It is exactly what I was looking for back when I started my giant dream catcher! It is part dream catcher, and now, once I can figure out weaving in a round form, I will use the weaving within the center of the dream catcher, ultimately about three and a half feet tall and wide. This is more evidence of creations having the desire to take their own time, having their own life really. I thought my giant dream catcher was just a giant dream, and oh well. But isn't it amazing what happens when we give space back to our art...
I am reading the book Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. Her writing has given me so much perspective on what it means to live a creative life. What it looks like to give things the space they need to be created and the drive we must have to push through and follow these creations to the end. We follow through simply because they want to be created. We have the choice to accept these creations or not. We have the power to agree to take on these creations, or not. It is a choice. Ideas are their own entities, and we are simply vessels for their creation. Both parties need to be involved, agree and work hard together. We do not act alone. We weave these creations as a cooperative pair.
The trip to the yurt allowed me to be with myself, totally. Even though it was a social experience, I still felt that I had ample space to get back in touch with the true artist within me. Not the one buried in social constructs and false beliefs, the purely playful artist in me. I have been breaking down beliefs left and right these days. A beautiful gift, however difficult and painful this process can be.
"I can't be successful and a cool, hip, interesting artist,"
"if I am successful, I will loose my soul,"
"If I do something that isn't totally creative and artsy, I am selling out."
"I come from somewhere that does not support what I want in my life."
"Shouldn't things be this way, not this way simply because of love?"
And I am learning to forgive. Forgive and forgive again. I am so grateful for the support around me that allows me to learn so much so fast. Groups, and loved ones. I am so lucky.
But, where do these limiting beliefs come from? Where do these walls get their go ahead for construction? The secret? They don't have the funding. It's like loans taken or given with no intention of paying it back-they take up valuable space and energy in our minds, our programming if you will, and we live with them for as long as we are willing to believe that they are somehow right, then we get the shit job of ordering them to be taken down. Some of them we don't even notice taking up space, holding us back. That is the worst!
Part of it is growing up, like being 20 something has everything to do with it. Am I right?
We're figuring out that school doesn't exactly buy us a ticket to "Perfect Life Town!" And we are so not the only human who has upstanding morals and a drive to make positive change in the world. This is a good thing! So, school gave us something to do, a way to learn, while our parents are did their thing. It gives us tools and resources to figure out ourselves. But once we're done with that, we get to answer the question, "NOW WHAT?"
Now, we weave.
We weave together these experiences, we learn new skills (like weaving), and we incorporate them into our lives. We choose "A" and say no to "B". We learn learn learn and grow a lot. Hopefully we break down our limiting beliefs sooner than later.
And you know what, where ever you are, what ever you happen to be doing right now, it's only temporary, and you know what? You're doin' it. You're exactly where you are supposed to be.
Give yourself space to get back in touch with yourself.
Give yourself space to create what feels good to create.
Choose the perspective that creates opportunity in your life.
Work to break down your barriers and self destructive beliefs.
Forgive yourself. AGAIN AND AGAIN. Beating yourself up doesn't help.
Weave it all together.
Thanks for sharing in this experience with me. <3