Sunday, 21 December 2014

deck the halls

happy holiday season, everyone! it seems to have crept up even faster than usual this year, but i'm definitely enjoying the festivities as they come along and trying not to stress too much about it all. this is the first year that i've not had a list of minimum one dozen people to make for (last year's 30ish knits cured me, or something), but i'm still a bit behind on making. i have one xmas wip and one design submission left to finish, after completing the others recently on top of a different secret design sample. the holiday season happens to be around the same time as summer quarterly publication submission deadlines, so it's a bit of a deadline crunch at the moment around here. conveniently (not really at all), i threw out my back this week and have been housebound for the past few days, with the exception of last night. this has given me a combination of extra knitting time, an inability to use my spinning wheel because of the motion until today, and way too much energy due to being stuck inside. it's a mixed blessing, i think. it also gives me way too much thinking time.

i have been experimenting a lot recently with different making practices, and thinking about my own artistic practice and how i identify as an artist, and how my official training does or doesn't feed into my current interests. my theatre life has been on the sidelines for a while, mostly because of practical reasons (i have a full-time job and spend my downtime on my fibre practice lately), and i'm trying to decide how that affects my life as a practicing artist. i miss performing, but i'm also really interested in design concepts and multi-disciplinary collaboration right now, and don't necessarily feel that pull to the stage that took me through two theatre degrees. what i do feel a pull towards is a more installation-based process right now, and collaborating with other performers (more specifically, dancers and movement artists) without actually performing with them. that being said, i recently committed to some community activism-based theatre training for next summer and may be involved in a local production soon, so theatre is still a part of my life.

i have also been thinking about working as a practicing artist within a capitalist society. i've been mulling over this for a while now, but it's been more at the forefront of my mind especially since my white rabbit experience. i've also been listening to the woolful podcast, which is so deliciously nerdy (to the point that my girlfriend - who helped me organize my knitting stash and gets excited about my projects because i get so excited about them - just laughs). ashley really focuses on sustainability in the podcast episodes, which i love and am very passionate about myself, but i also know that my own fibre practice sacrifices sustainability to an extent due to capitalism. at this point, i fund my fibre business with my own money, sometimes making enough from some aspect of it (be it pattern sales or a commission) to pay off another aspect. other times, i use the money i make from my full-time job to do that. having that job, making regular paycheques that allow me to make those decisions, is a privilege. class privilege, which a lot of people, and a lot of artists, don't have. it was also a choice i made to pursue a full-time job in order to be in a position of privilege and more freedom of choice. but i'm certainly not rich, and still live life paycheque-to-paycheque to an extent, and that means that the base fibre i buy for my naturally handdyed yarns comes from places i can't trace all the way back to the source, and it means choosing superwash yarns (which i do like, to be honest, but which are definitely more processed products) because they will sell better and be more versatile in the marketplace. we make sacrifices in a capitalist society because we have to, whether they are moral/ethical sacrifices because we don't have a choice of shopping for better quality/more wholesome items, or choosing a life that is not necessarily our dream life in order to still feed a part of our dream, or saying "fuck the system" and dealing with the consequences of trying to survive outside or beyond capitalism (hint: it's really fucking hard, and not always fulfilling). i suppose this ties in to an extent to my blog post about freelance life earlier this year. i haven't quite figured it out yet, which is why this is all a bit rambling. i don't totally know how to articulate it yet, but i think it's worth mulling about out loud. 

part of why i have been thinking about this so much lately is because i'm getting ready to start selling my handdyed fibre. i'm really excited about it, and i love love love the process and experimentation that natural dyeing has added to my artistic practice and to my life. it can't be rushed, and the results are pretty much always a surprise and teach me something new, and it forces me to slow down and be a little more mindful. i love that i can use compost to make incredible colours that feed my own artistic practice, and can feed others' as well. but i can't say that i know where my bases are sourced from right back to the animal, because that's not true. so i don't quite know at this point how to reconcile that desire for grassroots handmade process and financial reality. i think perhaps some day it can balance out, whether by making connections with a local animal farmer or indulging at times in really luxurious ethical fibre. right now, i'm still really pleased with my naturally dyed yarns, and i'm working on a design submission with some of them, so we'll see how things go. i'll be making the yarns available in the new year, so keep an eye out for when i launch them online and locally here in winnipeg! i can't wait to share them with you all! (along with my new branding, thanks to my super talented friend liz!)

also, a little holiday bonus for you all: i'm destashing a bunch of my yarn via instagram. after we sorted through my yarn stash, i ended up with three under-bed boxes and the glass cabinet full of yarn to keep, and still another huge tupperware tub of full and partial skeins that i don't have an immediate use for. and i will be ordering more base yarns soon for dyeing, so extra cash (hurrah, capitalism again!) and more space will be useful in that regard. check out my instagram account starting tonight and call dibs on what you like. first come, first served. payment is accepted via paypal and i'm happy to ship anywhere in the world. final cost will be listed price plus shipping and handling. i'm listing full and partial skeins of brooklyn tweed, cascade, local nova scotian wool, handspun, quince & co., drops, and more! anything bought before tuesday will be mailed out before xmas, and everything after that will go out after boxing day. if you're a winnipeg local, i'm more than happy to arrange a meet-up to save us both the bother and cost of shipping.

i will have photos for you all soon, and new patterns! i just have to get through this deadline crunch and be mobile enough for photoshoots ha. happy holidays!

p.s. i know i let the #pollinationkal fall to the wayside. sorry, folks. i will make it up to you all soon, and that naturally dyed yarn i made for the prize will still find a home! most likely partially through instagram. keep an eye out for announcements.

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