Creativity, Life

More Thoughts on Gains and Losses

I often think and sometimes write about gains and losses. In my life, globally, as God’s people, and even across the breadth of human history. Maybe especially across the breadth of human history, and specifically post-Industrial Revolution, when oh so many things have radically changed.

I suppose, as one who engages in centuries-old handcrafts, it’s only natural to compare the ancient and the modern. In any case, I just spent a wonderful weekend of creativity and learning at Mary Berry’s Fiber Retreat, and the whole experience brought me once again to these thoughts of gains and losses.

While I am quite glad that spinning wool for yarn and thread is my hobby and not a daily necessity (gain!), the weekend reminded me of the need to purposefully seek out groups that nurture us and foster excitement to learn and create. We can be so isolated in our lives (loss!), and the handcrafts that used to be so very necessary for survival and function are all automated now. Come to think of it, not just handcrafts, but so many other vocations have all been industrialized–from barrel-making to horse-shoeing to iron forging to silver smithing …the list could go on and on.

It’s the slow leaching out of daily creative efforts and the benefits we lose when that happens that gets me. And I do mean slow–such that we might not even notice. The progression has a frightening end, as we are now witness to and a part of — the elimination of the arts from school curriculum and the resulting general neglect of creativity and artistic expression. Which reminds me. Go see The Monuments Men, the WWII movie about the art scholars/architects who became soldiers and went to Europe to protect and restore stolen art. During the last year of the war, they recovered and then returned over 5 million pieces of art that had been stolen by Hitler and the Nazis. This movie will remind you how important art is to the world and to each of us.

 

Creativity, Life, Peace

Spinning = Happiness

My, my, my … how the time does get away. Life intervenes with plans … and even hopes and dreams. The necessity of earning a paycheck often takes up the time we romantics would rather spend spinning, knitting, creating, or otherwise engaging in activities for which we do not get paid. Thankfully, we have friends who can drag us back into the worlds we love!

Arabella encouraged me to go with her to Mary Berry’s Fiber Retreat over Valentine’s weekend. I am so happy that I went! The entire experience was such a reminder how much I need creative input into my life — and I believe this is true for all of us, whether we realize it or not. It can become difficult to set aside the time, but the peace that a creative experience can bring into your life is so worth the effort.

various fibers for spinning
All happily spun during the fiber weekend

 

I LOVE spinning! But I haven’t done much of it in the last two years. The weekend was an immersion in luxurious and delicious fiber–so many types of wool, silk, camel, alpaca–it felt so good to get them running through my hands again. The retreat also included a multitude of workshops on knitting techniques, spinning, weaving and even dyeing. It was a lovely group (I think around 90 women) with knitting needles, spinning wheels and portable looms.

I was able to spin this gorgeous teal skein (top of pic) that I purchased from Christine, who owns Spinning Straw into Gold. It is a 50/50 blend of silk and a material called tencel, which is fascinating! Tencel is a fiber made from wood pulp, it absorbs dye beautifully, blends well with others, has natural breath-ability like cotton but can absorb a lot more moisture, AND it makes beautiful yarn!

I was also able to finish spinning the fabulous Jacob wool that I got from Cindy’s farm (Jacob’s Reward), and a wonderful art batt that Arabella had made.

The silk/tencel was wonderful to spin!

silk and tencil batt
Spinning silk tencel blend