Thursday, January 29, 2009

How to Create a New Direction

I tend to journal in fits and spurts, usually only writing when I'm excessively moody and turning out pages and pages of bitchy criticisms, mostly directed at myself, eventually trying to come up with some inspiring affirmations, but mostly ending on a pleading note for enlightenment from the higher powers that be. Absolute nonsense, for the most part, yet in amoungst all these ramblings is usually found a grain of truth, as was the case this morning when I wrote "there is this invisible barrier seperating me from the fullness of myself". It's not something I would usually reread, but later today this little light turning on in my head that exposed me, giving me new direction and filling me chock-full of inspiration! Amazing! And totally unexpected, but correlated to my morning writing. Of course, there are books and workbooks and seminars galore on this exact sort of thing (The Artists Way, to name one) and all sorts of 12 step programs to unleash your inner muse. If you have hours and days and years to wade through it all, that's wonderful, but for those who need to find a new direction soon, I would suggest this:

Empty your brain, be moody and mad, then relax your mind and your sub-conscious will do the rest.

I've been to 3 art related meetings in the last 2 days and managed to bask in the glow of some highly creative people. It has helped give me the uplift I have so desperately needed. I've been creating art without inspiration, and though still enjoyable, it can be tedious. In the last couple months, while my creative juices have stagnated, I haven't been particularly happy with anything I've made. Hearing the same thing from other artists brought perspective, affirmation and maybe even gave room for epiphany.

I finally feel true inspiration for this blog. Up until now it has been amusing, anecedotal, and probably boring. I can't say I've put much thought into themes or content. BUT NOW (dum dum da) my new direction for the blog is going to be based on "How to's". If you ever catch me reading a book (in my life it doesn't happen often), chances are it's going to be a "how to" book. It's part of me! I have always been aware of my strange choices in literature but perhaps never SEEN. And so, expect to read in the near future about my own personal how tos: teach beginners weaving, build a barn out of a school bus, drywall incorrectly, milk a kicky goat, catch an escaped rabbit, card exotic wool, spin for speed and softness, dye wool, birth naturally, breastfeed, potty train a 6 month old, make non-toxic disposable diaper wipes, get 4 bowls of popcorn out of one pot....
Honestly, I could go on and on, and I will! Won't it be fun! If you have anything your desperately dying to know "how to", drop me a line, I could use a place to start :)

As for weaving stuff, I have new inspriation for that too! I'm going to be using my facebook site for more studio photos and promos, etc. This new direction for my woven art is going to be AMAZING I just know it! But it's a secret!!! Ha ha!

Become a fan on facebook and expect updates (my apologies in advance, this site will take a while to get good lookin)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Happy Robbie Burns Day!

I'd like to take time someday to research this guy a bit more. The Ploughman Poet. There's something about him that just strikes a chord. Maybe it has something to do with working on a farm, trying to make ends meet, and at the same time, trying to fulfill an urge to create beauty and reach others.

Here he is described:
His person was strong and robust; his manners rustic, not clownish, a sort of dignified plainness and simplicity which received part of its effect perhaps from knowledge of his extraordinary talents. - Walter Scott

And I love his writing style:
I walk out, sit down now and then, look out for objects in nature around me that are in unison or harmony with the cogitations of my fancy and workings of my bosom, humming every now and then the air with the verses I have framed. when I feel my Muse beginning to jade, I retire to the solitary fireside of my study, and there commit my effusions to paper, swinging, at intervals, on the hind-legs of my elbow chair, by way of calling forth my own critical strictures, as my, pen goes. - Robert Burns

Here's my favourite poem by Scotlands Favourite Son (and why shouldn't it be!)

Yestreen I had a pint o' wine
A place where body saw na;
Yestreen lay on this breat o' mine
The gowden locks of Anna.

The hungry Jew in wilderness
Rejoicing o'er his manna
Was naething to my hiney bliss
Upon the lips of Anna.

Ye Monarchs take the East and West
Frae Indus to Savannah:
Gie me within my straining grasp
The melting form of Anna!

There I'll despise Imperial charms,
An empress or sultana,
While dying raptures in her arms,
I give an' take wi' Anna!

Awa, thou flaunting God of Day!
Awa, thou pale Diana!
Ilk star, gae hide thy twinkling ray,
When I'm to meet my Anna!

Come, in thy raven plumage, Night
Sun, Moon, and Stars, withdrawn a'
And bring an Angel-pen to write
My transports with my Anna!

The Kirk and State may join, an tell
To do sic things I maunna:
The Kirk and State may gae to Hell,
And I'll gae to my Anna.

She is the sunshine o' my e'e,
To live but her I canna:
Had I on earth but wishes three,
The first should be my Anna.

Robert Burns

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Cold Feet

yup, my feet are cold, and it is -25 and probably will reach -30 by midnight. Our pipes are frozen, which can be nice cause I have the day off from doing dishes, laundry, and showering! actually, I can't shower cause our hot water thingy froze, then broke. but, I have been called a hippie before, and I know just where to go. the swimming pool! the water pressure there is AMAZING! not at all like our rinky dink water savr shower head. so now dh is trying to thaw the vintage paloma, a propane powered on-demand hot water heater that was once used in a tree planting camp. good thing we got a ten ticket pass to the swimming pool :)

Sable, my black beauty, is here beside me farting and having doggie dreams. Gawd, what did I feed here today?! Oh yeah, a left over pig foot from our Solstice Celebration pig roast. It was a truely cold and celebratory time. You had to have Viking or Old Yugoslavian blood in you to enjoy the huge bonfire in -20 degree temperature. Owww, my feet are really cold, might have to melt some snow to cook and put in the hot water bottle. Going to bed with cold feet is the worst. Actually, no, going to bed with hypothermia would be worse, but at least you'd be laughing!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Heddle Meddle

Bonus points to whoever can say what's wrong with this picture. Actually, I'll just tell you! If you look Veeeeery Closely, you will see that there are approximately 50 threads left in the reed of this loom and only approximately 25 heddles, none of which are on shaft 1 or 4. Yaaaaaawg! Now, I could also show you another photo, yet to be taken, of a mid-sized pottery vessel filled to the brim with empty heddles, all of which are about 2 cm to big for my table loom. WHY does the SAME company make DIFFERENT sized heddles for table looms and floor looms? Yaaaaaaawg! I was so excited to get this peice up and operating on the loom, I tried a quick and dirty dye technique on my warp and I'm anxious to see how it worked. I also have numberous backed-up orders for colourful tea towels that this warp could easily be turned into AND I'm desperately broke; meaning I really need to catch up on my orders and make a few gaurenteed sales (before my next car payment is due!) Yaaaaaaaaaaaawg! Ah, the life of an artist! Who knew that strategy and problem-solving had everything to do with being an entrepreneur. I have yet to grasp this whole concept of planning ahead (just ask my animals, they KNOW). Oops! Scrap that, lets think of an affirmation. I am a highly organized business woman with a strong and reliable cash flow. Anything I need to learn comes easily to me and I have all the money I need to finance my artistic endeavours.

Next blog I hope to post some pics of my 4 new roosters. That's right! 4! Right now that's 2 roosters for every hen. I kinda thought my hens could handle a little bit of spoiling after a very long and lonely winter.

Friday, January 16, 2009


I have been trying like crazy to update my profile pics but my computer keeps kicking me out when I try to change the picture. Also happens on facebook and etsy, and it's #^$*&^()%$#@ infuriating! Must be one of those "old computer riddled with cyber-disease and on it's last legs" kinda thing. However, this old Mac has served us very well and out here in the sticks where we have no high speed, it's WAY faster online than any PC could ever be. Go Mac! We even bought it "second hand", scary I know.

I'll post my little photos here and if anyone wants to comment on which one makes the best headshot, it would be greatly appreciated :)

Monday, January 12, 2009

More Doula Stuff

I've been musing and waffling more on the subject of labour support. I think I was wrong when I previously said that alot of women don't want to feel empowered during birth. After having carried a baby for 9 months, dreaming of seeing baby's face and holding them, how could a woman not feel empowered by the birth of her baby The knowledge that she carried, nutured and was physically connected to that amazing being, it's empowering in and of itself.

I'm scrapping the word "support". It makes me feel like another cog an institutionalize machine. I would rather been seen as standing BESIDE a birthing mother, uniting in her struggle. Not carrying her through it, or serving up some chivalrous wisdom. I hear the word support and I picture a wounded soldier being supported by his comrades. I don't picture a healthy woman full of vitality and strength witnessing her baby's birth and cradling the little loved one in her arms. Looking at it this way, I don't like the word labour support, or even the word doula for that matter (which means female servant to another female). I'm going to redefine this whole thing that I want to be doing. Birth sister. Woman circle. Labour dancer. Blessing Woman, Courage Finder, Light Seeker. Mother to Mother.

Great. NOW how am I going to write the "The Purpose and Value of Labour Support"? *sigh* Maybe DONA is not the right thing for me. (more thinking)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Winter, Wool, and Woofing

The boys, Chiaki and I had a great trip to Banff recently. Looking out of the window of the Banff Springs Hotel, I experienced a surreal sensation of peace and beauty. The sunset on the snowy mountains was so moving and the lights of the hotel glowing in the foreground looked like they were straight out of a fairy tale. I wanted to capture the moment forever and thanks to the super high tech Canon camera I got for Christmas, I managed to get a pretty amazing shot. I think this will be my happy place for a little while. :)

The last of the Christmas decorations have come down and I have been craving a studio fix and the chance to try out my new spinning wheel. I'm dyeing and spinning a skein a day. It's been fun digging out bags of wool, I was so excited when I discovered the white alpaca wool that was given to me this summer doesn't need carding! I basically spin it right out of the dyepot. So fun! And so soft! As soon as I get brave enough I'm going to try some angora. I've been holding off for fear of not liking it, or something like that. Here I have all these bunnies and I still don't have a full skein of angora yarn. Next, for sure. Same goes for the llamas. Still waiting to work with that wool. Once again, I think I'm afraid that after all my time, money and love, I'm not going to end up liking the yarn having been spoiled by so much alpaca.

For the last month we have enjoyed getting to know Chiaki, our woofer from Japan. She is so kind and dedicated, happy to help with all kinds of odd jobs, including dry wall, milking goats, herding llamas, cleaning bunny homes, the list goes on and on. Of course, when Lucas heard we were mixing up MUD, he had to get his hands into it! Creative drywalling!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

What is a Doula?

I've recently attended the third birth I needed in order to complete my DONA Doula certification. Since the DONA workshop in May, with Elaine Montgomery, I have attended 5 births and I'm now venturing into the stage of literary composition, a large part of the certification process. The question is posed: What is the purpose and value of labour support (in 500-1000 words). Ack! I'm tempted to write from a purely professional viewpoint, basically quoted the mutitude of books I have read on the subject, and come up with a very formal essay that any university professor would love, BUT, I'm not particularly fond of professors opinions when it come to writing styles. My instinct is to take a more personal and anecedotal stance, creating prose that would be interesting for non-professionals to read, perhaps even humorous and emotional, BUT, I really don't want to flunk certification due to entertaining writing skills. Hmmmm, finding a balance would be nice.

I have found my experiences as a doula to be humbling. Mostly cause my intuition sucks, and I previously thought it was pretty good. AND although I beleive a doula's main purpose is to facilitate a positive birthing experience for the family, especially the mother, in my heart what I want is for all women to feel empowered by birth. Not all women want that.

I would say, as a generalization, that most women are content to hand the birthing reins over to the institution and bask in the pandering and control that most health professionals love to administer. There is a feeling of safety, and a transfer of responsibility that an instituion allows which, for many women, creates a positive birth experience, but without any large sense of empowerment.

And so, how can I, as an empowered woman advocate, liberally making choices for my own life that will further empower me, really be a doula who puts other womens agendas before my own. How do I maintain respect for that women and pride in her accomplishment? How can I portray to a woman that she is strong, beautiful, and dignified with sincerity?

I have a feeling that it is in the little things, in the small yet emotional victories, that I will see the reality and will give heartfelt praise to its beauty.
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