C. and I met when our children were small, on a day when she came to borrow some spinning equipment from me. She was on her way to her first session of a spinning programme which would inspire her work and her life. As it turns out, she quickly became an inspiration for me. Years later, she still is. We have travelled together, swapped child-rearing stories, spent many, many hours talking fibre and spinning techniques and just generally hanging out.
It's an unusual friendship, in many ways. Where Ms. C. is methodical, I am not. She lives in a beautiful home which she and her husband renovated and decorated to perfection. I live in what one friend described as a "not quite grown up house." She wears pink and furs and exotica; I am not so fond of pink and I tear around in blue jeans and yoga clothing. Our spinning habits and tastes are night and day-she is currently rearing her own silkworms, the culmination of years of study and travel in which she's learned to reel silk from cocoons in exotic lands. Her work is fine and exquisite. Whatever she makes is perfection. I am all about free form and what calls to me in the moment. As the years pass, my spinning and weaving becomes more relaxed, bordering on sloppy, as I experiment with this and that.
And yet, somehow, these differences between us only serve to strengthen the friendship.
We disagree on our approaches to art, but we are linked by the belief that whatever we are doing right now is something that we must do. Fibre art holds and heals our spirits; it has bound us together for decades.
We made a pact at the beginning of this year, to meet once a week to weave together. C. has used most of her hand spun yarns for knitting; weaving is a new adventure for her. As is her style, she has jumped in with both feet/hands. She has decided to weave carefully planned miniature cut pile rugs, woven of her hand spun silk yarns, on warps sett so fine I can barely see the threads. I've been weaving tapestry off and on for years. I use whatever yarns I've spun and have hanging about the house to weave the tales that come to me in dreams. We've already broken our pact a few times this year-well, I have-but we met today for an afternoon of tea and jibber jabber (again, mostly from me) and a fine time of weaving. Here we are, separate, but together:
C. took this one as I worked on my Raven tapestry:
I like this one. It captures what I feel when we are weaving together, a solitary soul, working in harmony with a kindred spirit, alone in the world, yet together:
So, thank you, friend, for the lovely afternoon, on a bitterly cold winter's day. May there be many more.