Thursday, December 06, 2012

Turning Points

I was talking with some friends the other day about life's turning points: we all have them... Sometimes they are momentous, sometimes they are quiet, sometimes they are painful or uncomfortable, but they are inevitable.

I believe we should not fight them, but that can be hard: it is hard to leave places, pets, things, activities, little parts of ourselves, and especially people behind as we move on.

But I also believe if we fight these turning points, if we refuse to move on, bad things happen: stagnation, dis-ease, and dis-integration, death, even, in the figurative and literal sense of the word.

In a recent interview, I was asked about my ten year+ odyssey with weaving knotted pile. Learning this weaving technique was one of those turning points: unexpected, unsought, but exciting. I knew, from the moment I first had the idea to ask my teacher Duke for lessons, that the weaving would be fun and interesting. I did not know it would change the course of my life: I'd been a fabric weaver, banging out the yards for 20 years...

pile bags

I did not know knotted pile would absorb me for over a decade: Duke would hand over his tools, designs and yarns, along with the knowledge he shared with me. I did not know I would eventually teach this technique, would find a way to pass it on. I did not know it would lead to my first book:

book cover

I also did not know that this different way of weaving could teach me not only about fibers and weave structures, looms and tools. It kindled a deeper interest in people who live in cultures and places far removed from me, with whom I feel a certain connection, or kinship, based on a common activity, a common knowledge. I feel a frisson of excitement when I see a photo of women weaving these techniques in their own settings. I know something. I know what they are doing, not just intellectually, or from observation. I know it in my hands. I think this is a common, elemental response to learning, to knowing, things like these spinning and weaving techniques.

rug project7

Spinning does the same thing for me. Wheel spinning was momentous, many years ago: I stayed up all night when I learned, spinning bobbin after bobbin, hands and fingers, fiber and twist. Working with spindles was a shift, but I eventually succumbed. It took time to train my hands to the activity, but it is now my favorite take-along project.

spindle wool viking santas

Both knotted pile and spinning are very hand-centric: simple tools and fluffs of fiber...maybe that is the reason I feel calm and satisfied when I do these things.

So now, when I see a shift, in my work, in my life, I try not to fight it, to not be confused or angry. I try not to hang on, or rail against change (this is sometimes very hard). I may watch for a while, wait, to see if it's a real shift or a just a phase and things will settle down again.

wolf spindles

Old routines can be comforting, old patterns, habits, ways of working, people. But new and sometimes very satisfying things can be right around that turning point.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Sarah said...

Happy sigh. Wise words indeed hless.

3:03 PM  
Blogger Lynn said...

And sometimes it's worth kicking yourself out of a rut just so you can experience a new way of looking at the world. (After the screaming resistance dies down, of course!)

6:01 PM  
Blogger Freyalyn Close-Hainsworth said...

So ... what's changing this time?

10:09 AM  
Blogger Deanna said...

Blogger should have a Like button. :-)

9:56 AM  
Blogger Valerie said...

And the change you are telegraphing is....?

9:33 AM  
Anonymous nufflebutt said...

Thanks, Sara, I only just saw this post. Timely for me, as of course you know.

I am so glad to know you, even a little.

9:54 PM  

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