This past summer was a particularly productive spinning season for me. I processed a couple of fleeces, did some spin-alongs with the Ravelry family, and even read through a few books as I blissfully spun hundreds of yards of yarn on my spindles and wheels. Spinning yarn in all the various fibers is a true joy. I do it for my health. Yes, my vitality is strengthened when I spin.
As I washed up this year’s new spins and prepared them to be stored I had a bit of a reality check as I opened the already full storage bins. I have a lot, a whole lot, a holy moly lot of gorgeous handspun yarn. Now I could knit myself a few more sweaters, ponchos, and scarves but seriously how many more do I need. This yarn is so beautiful. So luxurious and precious it must be seen. It’s October and sure enough like clockwork my hankering to weave hit.
I just kept weaving and knitting. I’d measure out several warps at a time and just weave letting my intuition tell me where to place each color and fiber. It was invigorating, even liberating. This yarn was getting out of the bin and finding its life.
By the end of October, there were 23 newly woven scarves and 4 knitted lace beauties. I could finally store the yarn that once wouldn’t fit into the bins. Now what?? Do I wear all of these scarves myself?
I have finally reached that milestone that those seasoned fiber artists experience. That scary realization that your work is not just meant for you. That moment when you just know it’s time to share it with the world.
It’s terrifying. Could anyone possibly love and appreciate my work as much as I do? I would soon get my answer. In a brief moment of insanity, I signed myself up to vend at the City of South Bend Martin Luther King Celebration. It would be a new year and a time to reach new horizons.
What else? Well, that came easily. I just focused on making whatever I felt. The plan was to keep on making until the event date. I had purchased a spindle from an artisan in New Zealand over the summer. It is adorned with gorgeous painted pyrography.
I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be great to do this on some earrings. Sure enough, a whole adventure in wooden earring creations was the result.
My inspiration for the collection was, of course, all of my favorite types of fabric. My love for quilting calico, kente, adinkra, mud cloth, silk, and patchwork was merged into a collection of over 200 pairs of wooden earrings. In addition, I also made hair ties, wooden bangles, bracelets, necklaces, keychains, and mirrors. Is this love that I’m feeling? Yes, I’m loving it.
I also found myself digging back to my weaving roots. In the beginning, I was a college student with very little funds for the expensive equipment that I was shown at school. I found Tablet/Card weaving as a way to keep weaving. My body would be the loom and I could use cardboard to organize the threads.
I still find those colorful, narrow woven bands useful after all these years. I wove up a couple more to take with me to my first event. Perhaps someone else might be inspired to learn this beautiful technique too. Even in the complexity of today’ s modern textile technology this extremely durable, heavily patterned twined weaving has yet to be duplicated.
By the grace of God alone, I was able to put together a display with my creations and make my way to the event. My heart is overjoyed with all of the wonderful people I met that day. .South Bend Martin Luther King Day Celebration
I am also ever grateful for all of the friends and family that have encouraged me along the way even before I was ready to accept that it was time for me to share my work. So now I forge forward. A new chapter has opened itself up in my life. I must do my part to ensure that we honor, preserve, and practice our fiber arts heritage.
4 thoughts on “Moving Towards New Horizons: Yes I Can!”
Salaam Salaam Queen, Thanks for sharing your journey..
You are a real inspiration. Thank you for sharing. Now, I want to start planting, harvesting, and spinning my own cotton. I can’t thank you enough for sharing your wonderful story.
Peace and blessings
Go for it! Cotton has such beautiful foliage and blooms. Of course, getting that luxurious fiber at the end is an added bonus. I am so glad you enjoyed reading my story. I will be sure to continue sharing.
Your newspaper article linked me to this page. So nice to hear of your creative fiber arts.
I too am an African-American fiber artist, but no longer active. My expertise was in felting, but now I’m focused on complex weaving.
Keep pursing your passion.