What I had thought would be a minor procedure for our dog, Elsa, on March 23, to remove a cyst near her neck, turned out to be more than minor.   A four-inch line of stitches.  To prevent her from scratching at the stitches, she’s been wearing our old t-shirts, cinched at the neck; and we have not left her alone since March 23…  This morning I took her to the vet again, this time to have fluid drained from the site and a few stitches removed to help with this healing.  And I’m home with her.  I’ll apply warm compresses and keep her comfy.

Keeping watch over our dog while she heals, I haven’t had the kind of sustained focus needed for working on any felting projects — which would necessitate longer studio sessions.  I have been doing some spinning and some knitting: small items.  Usually I enjoy working on smaller projects, but not now.  Maybe like Owl, from the Arnold Lobel stories for children, I want to know what my upstairs is doing when I am downstairs, and what my downstairs is doing when I am upstairs.  And I am at the point of just sitting on the middle step and brooding.  When I have time for big projects, I often long for small and intricate work.  And today — well, I’m looking at the lengths of hand-dyed silks in my studio with longing to be working on an 8 foot nuno scarf.  Soon.

I was reading publisher Arlene Ciroula’s current interview, on her wonderful online publication “Spin Artiste;” and what fiber artist Manuela Brice shared in this interview felt like it came from my own mind.   Manuela was talking about the complexity of trying to figure out the business of fiber arts; about time management and how to price one’s handmade work.  After twenty years of spinning fiber, and efforts to build her fiber-related business, she completed her commissioned/promised work and accepted a full-time job.   Once she had a full-time job, and less time for fiber-related work, she gained a fresh perspective on her past efforts as well as a clearer vision of the work she wanted to do.

In Manuela’s words:  “I was relieved to have full-time work, because it took the pressure off from trying ‘to make it’ with the fiber.”   These words resonated with me: “trying to make it with the fiber.”  Moving from the experience of struggling, how does an artist recreate herself, so that her artmaking makes good sense — so that it is a real-time expression of her skill and her passion; and so that it makes sense economically, however this economical well-being might be defined for her?  I love Arlene’s interview with Manuela, and the honest, intelligent, creative way Manuela navigates through “trying to make it” toward deeper synthesis of her expertise and her passion.

Now, Manuela is focusing on designing knitting patterns that work well with hand-spun (and other) yarns; and she may be creating knitting kits in the future that will include hand-spun yarns.  That’s exciting!

So for today, again, I am home with Elsa as she heals.   We’ll take some long, peaceful walks and enjoy how the cherry tree blossoms are drifting to the sidewalks.  I’ll do the things I can do while at home, and draw on Arlene Ciroula’s and Manuela Brice’s inspiration to help me figure out my own fiber art work…

Published in: on April 2, 2012 at 6:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

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