I graduated from university, went to work in various libraries and pursued my fibre work in the evenings when I came home. Every night, from 7 until midnight, I explored weaving and spinning. I'd sleep for a few hours, sometimes weaving a bit in the morning before I went to work and began the daily cycle once more. Mr. DD and I bought a tiny house. I had a child, and quit my job to stay home with her. I practised my art when she napped. When she was 3 months old, I took her with me to Vancouver where I was one of the guest artists in the Saskatchewan Pavilion at Expo '86. She slept on the floor in front of my spinning wheel as I spun for people passing through the pavilion. Visitors to the site thought Ms. DD was a doll and were thrilled to discover that she was not. There are probably many photos out there of me on a stage, spinning, with a tiny baby being admired by hundreds. (If I was trying to educate the public about fibre arts, her presence was probably counterproductive, since everyone ignored me to fuss over her. And who would not?)
When we returned home, I was offered a residency at our local arts centre. The hours were flexible. I could quit selling my work, which I did not enjoy, and teach people of all ages, doing what I loved. Ms. DD could come to work with me. Eventually, Young Mr. DD arrived and he, too, grew up in the fibre studio at the arts centre. The studio was a busy place. Weaving and spinning classes were always full. People came from everywhere, even driving up from the United States to take weekend courses. Groups of fibre artists met on a weekly drop-in basis, as did artists working in other media. Every year, some of us piled into vans and travelled to conferences in far away places. Mr. DD and I bought a slightly bigger house. He built bedrooms for the children so that I could have a fibre room upstairs. I lived, breathed and dreamed of arts and crafts. My children thought everyone's house was filled with looms, spinning wheels and weird drawings, built of ink, cloth and string.
I stayed at the arts centre for 23 years. A few years after I left, the fibre studio was dismantled, the equipment sold off and classes dropped. The weavers' and spinners' guild meets there still, but there are no looms producing cloth, nor wheels humming away making yarn. Fibre artists meet on the internet, in Facebook groups, on Ravelry. An artist in any medium can chat and share information with millions of others, which is both a good and bad thing.
In the back of my mind, the idea of running an artists' studio sits. A lot of time has passed and I have neither the financial resources nor energy to manage such a feat. There are other gathering spots for artists now, several of them doing a much better job than I ever could. Dreams come and go, something you realize when you stop to notice the passage of time. Old dreams bring pangs of nostalgia, but not sorrow. I don't regret the paths I've chosen.
There is something happening here. Young Mr. DD has returned home. One of his band mates has joined him. Mornings begin with rousing discussions of books, movies, the current music scene and the state of the world in general. (None of us lacks opinions.) As I sit in my fibre room, weaving away on this small tapestry or spinning that yarn, the sound of guitars and voices drifts up from downstairs, as young men rehearse for an upcoming show. Evenings are spent watching music documentaries; the past two nights, it's been "The History of the Eagles," and "Searching for Sugarman." Tonight, we'll be listening to blues and jazz on CBC radio. People come and go at odd hours. The coffee pot is always on. Beer flows freely.
Sometimes you wonder where your dreams have gone, how time has moved so swiftly that it seems as if you can't catch your breath. In that moment, if you stop wishing for old dreams and start to pay attention, you might catch something else. Our dreams may not come true in the way we expect, but perhaps they come true all the same. Here, right Now, in the dead cold of a northern winter, in my cozy house, a dog on the sofa and an old cat draped wherever he pleases, are rooms filled with artists, each one absorbed in the work she/he was born to do - a couple of musicians, writing songs, playing guitar and singing in the basement, a skillful builder doing carpentry upstairs, and me, tapping the threads into place on my loom, weaving my yarns in and out, breath by breath, dream by precious dream. For Now, dreams have become reality. I think I'll go have some wine.
|'Chakra Roots," the current piece|