Friday, December 10, 2010


December is the month of anticipation. First, we have the build up to Christmas Day then the build up to New Year's Eve. When I was a child, it seemed an achingly long time. It began with the preparation of the christmas cake, the checking of the outdoor lights and making of lists. Then there was the shopping, baking of cookies and decorating that seemed to go on forever. The buying of the tree and wrapping of presents meant the big day was coming fast. Even the purchase of the turkey was a significant milestone confirming the few days left to wait. Then a sleepless night followed by a day of mad sugar induced frenzy and it was all over. Of course, my parents still had the aftermath to deal with, the inevitable turkey soup to make, tree needles to vacuum up and lights to take down. Some where along the way I became the parent and continue to perpetuate the cycle. Now when I reflect upon it, I realize that the rituals leading up to the big day were probably more fun than Christmas Day itself.

So, what has any of this to do with fibre arts??????

With every new piece there is a long period of anticipation. It starts with the inspiration. You see something that sparks your creative side and you start to imagine how you might use the colours, shapes or textures in an expression of your own. New and old ideas merge in your head. The desire to see your idea in the flesh starts to build. There is a hint of Christmas music.

Research is your next step. This may involve consulting books. It almost always involves playing with your stash plus visiting stores. Many designs are thought of, discarded or put on the shelf for another day. Your idea starts to crystallize. As this happens, there is a greater sense of urgency to do something with it.

What you do next depends upon your fibre art interest. A weaver would create a yarn wrap or set up a sample. A tapestry artist might draw a cartoon. Spinners and knitters might produce a small sample. I think of this as the baking stage.

Now you are ready to commit. For me, that means making the warp and dressing the loom. Seeing the warp on the loom is a milestone for me, like buying the Xmas tree. If I like what I see, I can hardly wait to start the weaving. Putting weft to warp is like opening the presents on Christmas Day. I love watching the pattern emerge and my design turn in to reality. If it is a short piece, the euphoria continues until it is done.

If it is a big project like the cape in the picture, then I go through the turkey soup phase while weaving the yardage. However, I always have the promise of New Years Eve to keep me going while I put the pieces together.