Looking ahead, full of respair
In this newsletter you’ll find:
Studio Deep Clean
Some linguists believe the geography of a language shapes its sounds, and those sounds in turn influence our thoughts.
The above quote is from an article by lexicographer Susie Dent in the Guardian last month — I am always intrigued by language, probably because I only have one (and ein bißchen of another), so I very much enjoyed this article on Dent’s mission to highlight “orphaned negatives,” words like unkempt, unwieldy, or ruthless that have lost their positive counterpart.
If you remove their prefix or suffix you’ll find a word outside of our usual routes — you can indeed be kempt, there is such a thing as a wieldy object, and to have ruth is to be compassionate.
Dent’s 2022 mission is to revivify a word that has only a single entry in the Oxford English Dictionary: respair. On the turning of a new year after two years of global wildness, I think it’s a good one to bring forward.
Respair: a fresh hope and recovery from despair.
If you read VÄV Magasinet, you’ll have seen my pattern for the Rag Mats in the latest issue (2021-4). This project was inspired by the sit-upons we made in Girl Guides (or Girl Scouts, depending on where you are). I remember these as being stacks of newspapers wrapped in plastic bags and taped shut — then we would sit upon them at wet campsites and cook potatoes in the fire or soup on our buddy burners (made from candles and old coffee tins). Are you shuddering? Yes, me too.
My woven versions use 4/8 cotton and rag strips to create a thick, water resistant surface to take outdoors. A little woven band keeps it rolled up for storage/packing — I pictured it tucked into one the water bottle pouches many backpacks have, but when I photographed the project, I was at my friend Deborah’s cottage, and I used one of her beautiful willow baskets instead (poor me).
We live five minutes from an entrance to the beautiful Bruce Trail, and I’m looking forward to bringing these with us on hikes and waterfall visits. The rest of the magazine is also excellent — I was particularly excited to read about Miriam Parkman’s couch project (the couch itself can be seen here!), the making of which has reignited a project I sampled for four years ago and then abandoned — hopefully I will be able to share more about that later this year.
I took December as the opportunity to clear my to-do list and make space for projects of my own. Weaving for myself, purely for fun, pretty much never happens, but in an effort to rid my stash of malingering yarns I wove what I’ve been calling my “reading blanket” — a textile support for my true love. M has taken to calling it my biblio-blanket, and I have spent a lot of the past few weeks inhaling a mixture of good (and bad) novels while under it.
I also made some of Arianna Funk’s Holiday Garlands and it was the MOST fun I’ve had weaving in a while. While the blanket proceeded very predictably, these garlands were the weirdest cloth I’ve ever made — and so deeply satisfying.
I was recently interviewed by Workshop Magazine, an online Canadian publication for makers and craftworkers. You can read it by clicking this fun image that they created. Thanks Kat and Corinna!
Studio Deep Clean
My January article for Gist Yarn is about putting my studio back to neutral. I made a big mess in December (not a new phenomenon), but the turn of the year is as good a time as any to reset your work space and do a little maintenance.
Read it here.
In January I am looking forward to getting deep into the sampling process for an exciting pattern commission that won’t be ready until December (I know — thinking that far in advance is a stretch).
I am also (virtually) attending a talk by Crafts Magazine titled Rescue Mission: Which Endangered Crafts Should We Save? While weaving certainly doesn’t need saving, I was deeply intrigued by the HCA’s Red List of Endangered Crafts when it came out last year. Seeing the scope of craft knowledge petering on the edge on one small island really made me wonder what’s happening closer to home and around — what sort of material knowledges are disappearing into swipes and clicks? I’m really looking forward to attending and learning more.
Wishing you a good start to the new year, full of respair,
New to weaving and love the idea of and look of the rag mat. Purchased Vav magazine to access pattern. Any chance it is easily adapted to rigid heddle? Thx.