Saturday, February 13, 2016

alone & together, at the same time...

I've been a faithful follower of several podcasts, but recently discovered The Sweet Georgia Show, an audio-only show produced by Felicia Lo, creator of SweetGeorgia Yarns. Episode 23, an interview with weaver Liz Gipson, was particularly interesting to me. As you know, I'm a geek when it comes to researching the history and techniques of anything I become interested in. Textile crafts have an amazing history because of how critical clothing is to humanity (basic necessity, at least in winter). As Gipson pointed out in her interview, the Industrial Revolution hinged upon the textile industry and universal need for textiles. Gipson went on to provide a snapshot of how the traditional cottage industries that had provided textiles were quickly (almost) phased out, but then emerged again and again as popular hand crafts and hobbies in the market place. Now, we are seeing a major movement to more mindful production of textiles and the market to supply hand spinners, knitters, crocheters, weavers, and sewists is incredibly strong, thanks in large part to the latest technology of social media. There is a world-wide community of hand crafters that may know each other by name and correspond online, but have never met face-to-face. Textile artists may be isolated geographically, but can find tutorials and advice to improve their craft on forums and YouTube. In the past, a physical community was critical to survival of these skills. Now, people like me, who struggle with social and general anxiety, can be a part of keeping a tradition alive and benefit from the expertise of others who share their interests. As Gipson says, we can be alone and together at the same time! Episode 16, an interview with Leah Churchley, also resonated with me because of how knitting became a part of her own on-going treatment of generalized anxiety disorder. These are the only two episodes I've listened to so far, but I plan to start back at the beginning and listen in order.

It's funny how things that seem opposite in their essential nature can actually work together to sustain one another, like a hands-on textile tradition and online technology that has engendered fear of losing true community. Instead, it may be helping us save an interest-linked community where traditions may have suffered if left to the old way of being passed down through family members.

Also funny (here's my attempt at a smooth segue, but I don't think it's happening) is how I like to see new places and experience new things, but suffer physically when I travel, even on short road trips. And yet, I've packed a great deal of travel into my plans for this year. Hence that sense of discovery that I was hoping to set for the new year when I made a short pilgrimage on the Blue Ridge Parkway (see last post). When I travelled down to Columbus, Georgia for the Georgia Fiber Fest last year (only about 5-6 hours of driving), I settled into the hotel room and promptly slept for about 14 hours. That set me up to enjoy the rest of the trip, but once back home, it was another round of marathon sleeping to get back into my normal groove. I have learned to build in lots of time for rest and for dealing with the unexpected. If air travel is involved, I definitely incorporate extra time. I arrive hours early, browse shops in the airport, buy a cup of coffee, and settle down at my gate to read and sip. I don't rush to get to my seat or to get out of it. I don't push to get in line. When driving, I stay away from crazy drivers and those folks on the four-lane who think its a race to see who can stay ahead of the pack. If I get tired of seeing the same vehicle on the road, I actually take the next exit and rest for a moment. If I know there's a Barnes & Nobel on the way to where I'm going, that becomes my pit stop. The bathrooms are generally clean, they have excellent coffee, and there's lots to look at. That's how I deal.

Last year, I gave up at least one major opportunity to travel because of fear. I don't want to do that anymore. That doesn't mean I'm going to plan travel for every weekend. I need to plan ahead for plenty of down-time for this to work. I've agreed to be a travel partner for a friend who needs help tending to her booth at fiber festivals. It's mad to try covering a retail booth for eight straight hours. Also mad to consider doing all the set up and take down by oneself, but it is done by these hard working entrepreneurs all the time. So, I've joined Ashley Eskew's Twist Fiber Studio 2016 Tour!!!

Here are just a sampling of the goodies that come out of the Twist Fiber Studio:
The fiber and matching yarn skein were left over from Ashley Kickstarter campaign and were dyed to match the project bag on the bottom. The other two skeins are "Lakeside" and "Dyepot Surprise".
Left to right: "Dyepot Surprise" on the Fairview Fingering base (75 SW Merino / 25 Nylon), "Magic Mountain" on the Pisgah Fingering base (80 SW Merino / 20 Nylon), "Lakeside" on Lexington Fingering (75 SW Merino / 20 Nylon / 5 Stellina), "Oooh Girl" on Montford Fingering (80 SW Merino / 10 Nylon / Cashmere), "Girl at the Rock Show" on Montford, "Roller Rink Disco Party" on Montford, "Magic Mountain" on Montford, and "Andromeda" on Montford.
This is the Piewhacket Shawl that I knit last fall, using Twist Fiber Studio Montford Fingering in the "Lakeside" colorway.
Here is the list of the events she'll be attending as a vendor this year. I've marked the ones that I'll be attending, too, with an asterisks. I feel honored to have been asked to help and be a part of Ashley's independent business.
**Carolina FiberFest, Raleigh, NC - March 25th-26th

**Smoky Mountain Fiber Arts Festival, Townsend, TN - April 16th-17th

Super Summer Knitogether (SSK), Nashville, TN - July 20th-24th

Into the Wool Fiber Retreat, Crossville, TN - September 1st-4th

**Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair (SAFF), WNC Agricultural Center, Fletcher, NC
October 28th-30th

We're awaiting confirmation for the following events:

**Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival, Lexington, KY - May 21st-22nd

**Fiber Feel Day, WNC Farmer's Market, Asheville, NC - June 4th

If you are at all curious about fiber and textiles, come out and join us on one these days. Fiber festivals are always fun, usually have animals, and always have tons of colorful inspiration. If you can't make it out to a festival, you can see Twist Fiber Studio items for sale online here:

I also have plans for a major, super-duper trip later in the year, but I won't spill the beans until all the details have been confirmed. It is so big, I'd call it a proper adventure. I'm so excited!! But you have to wait for full details...

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for reading my blog and providing feedback! I love to read your comments and I'll get back to you as soon as I can!