Monday, February 12, 2018

Always Learning

I sat in the hot tub this morning in a light misty rain, thinking of the leather bag project I am working on now. Time passed, suddenly a half hour was gone, and my tea was getting cold! I do love that kind of time, and the "making-in-my-mind" as I walk through the steps of the next thing. It occurred to me to wonder what people think about when they are not makers. Do they sit and ponder the world's problems, their own problems, their children's problems? Do they daydream about the next vacation, or the list of chores or errands? What occupies their thoughts, the way that making occupies mine??

I have been busy making. Christmas and gift giving necessitates that photos not be published before the gift is given, of course, and then, suddenly it's February and I have not posted here for many months! So herewith, in no particular order:

I went to Penland in August, to take a class in leather working:

The woman who taught the class makes cowboy boots (!) but the class itself was about inlay and overlay in leather, and I learned a lot! I think I might have been the absolute worst student, in terms of technique, but practice will make it better. I do love the samples I made, warts and all, and I am employing some of the techniques in my bags combining textiles and leather.


Next up is a bag I made for my friend Mollie, using her handwoven printed and stitched cloth for the front pocket. She and I have been weaving friends and personal friends for over 40 years, and we can still talk for hours on end whenever we meet. So, for her birthday, she got a bag! I think she likes it :).

There has been some weaving: two silk fabrics, the first is a scarf because it was a failure for it's intended purpose (part of a jacket, it shrunk too much in width). It makes a great scarf though, so no harm, no foul. The second is the fabric that ended up as part of that jacket, and it is a total success. Also silk, that jacket is in the process of being sewn up now.



Then there are the Christmas presents:


Small bags and a keychain (with a cardwoven tab!), way cute.


And a carry-on size backpack for my son. This was the major project, many hours and many things learned. It works! he's already traveled with it at least once. I love making stuff people will use...

This year, for our Christmas travel, we took the train across half of the country. What a treat! travel was at a human pace, not frantic, with no TSA-driven restrictions, and a leisurely 2 days and nights of scenery slowly ambled by. Meals were excellent, and I lost count of the bald eagles I saw while knitting, sipping a drink, and watching the world out the window from a cosy rocking train. Such a delightful way to get from here to there...this will not be the last time!


Last, coming up in June is the annual meeting for WARP. In September, I met with the organizer to see the venue and help set up the activities around the meeting site, which will be in Decorah, Iowa. As part of the festivities, we will have a reception and tour of Vesterheim, the Norwegian American Museum. We got a sneak peek in the vaults of textiles stored there and oh! be still my heart, I was even allowed to take some photographs:


There will be more textile posts of pieces from the collection, but I'm here to tell you: if you are a textile enthusiast of any stripe, and happen to be in Northeast Iowa, a stop in Decorah at Vesterheim is a must! The range of textiles is astounding, from rugs and tapestries to woven and knitted clothing, bands and mittens, handmade leather shoes! and stockings, socks and gloves. There is always something I can learn from textiles, and to be able to examine them up close? with a docent to put them in cultural context? Brilliant! I can't wait for the annual meeting and this tour!!!