Progress, and Planning.

Things are pretty exciting here these days, as far as the construction of the studio goes. The back garden is transformed, and it has made me realize just how different something can look if you change one thing (or, in this case, a progression of small things that are turning into an entirely new view).

We began with this:

The day the Big Adventure started. The old garden shed is now gone.

And today, this is the view.

Window day! As cold a day as you can imagine, and the workmen were stalwart and hardy

Quite a progression!

It’s really quite something to see a building happen. Those men are nothing short of heroic – framing in sleet, roofing in snow, installing windows in frostbite conditions! I keep thinking of the lovely warm studio I’ll be sitting in next winter, but those guys must be cursing this weaver and her stupid studio, I swear.

My big disappointment this week was that they put the windows in and then nailed plywood over the doorway. I had been planning on creeping in there after they left, to dream about the layout of shelves etc. As disappointments go, this is pretty far down on the list so I’m not going to complain.

What my impatient desire to see inside it says to me is that I have, in a way, forgotten that there’ll be plenty of time later to be inside it. It’s a funny thing, magicking a building out of nothing – you get so caught up in the planning and process that you forget the reality of it – that one day (fairly soon!) they’ll tidy up and leave, and I’ll have whole new routine – walking out there of a morning to sit in a pool of sunshine and weave away the hours.

And a new routine is needed. These past grey winter weeks I’ve been very excited about the process of planning projects, but not so great on the follow-through. Kind of like, well, my feelings about the building going up out back. The planning has been terrific, but the reality of it means work.

Linen warp, wound on the reel. One of my favorite parts of the process – out of chaos comes order and beauty

It’s easy enough to feel like you’re doing something when you’re planning – researching, reading, winding warps…. These are the recent ones; busy work because I’ve been reluctant to get my arse on the weave bench and just do it. The weather isn’t helping, and I had a touch of the flu, and I just haven’t been dedicated. The current weave room is crowded and not entirely conducive to actually spending time in it, and the human brain is capable of a multitude of excuses.

But I think that we all go through dry spells, right? Times when we spend more time thinking about what we’ll do than actually doing it? I’ve struggled with this the past few weeks and have come to realize that it’s all actually part of the process. We aren’t machines – we need to take time to dream and plan, to make mistakes (cut off warps that just don’t do it for us, to flip through one draft after another, and find none that speak to you). This is fairly fertile ground – it’s a way to refocus, to experiment, and to visualize the things we make – be they scarves or tea towels, or studios.

We can’t beat ourselves up because we aren’t producing all the time. We need downtime to figure out what we’ll produce; to think and dream and visualize. We tend not to prioritize this part of it, because we live in a culture that privileges busy over calm. We can’t fit this part of the process into the interstices – we need to allow it, and use it, and wait until we feel that spark again, right?

So maybe it’s not a dry spell, but a fertile moment. A moment when we germinate ideas and our sense of what our practice is. In the Spring (soon to come) these seeds sown now will begin to sprout and grow. Like this idea that became a hole in the ground, then became a studio, good things come from these times when we are quiet and thoughtful.

I dragged my long-suffering husband through IKEA this past week, looking for storage solutions for the studio. I don’t want to buy anything until I can stand in the space and think about it, until I have exact measurements and a plan, so all I wanted to do was to look and touch things to help with the planning. He trudged, dead-eyed, through the store, while I learned this sort of thing is best done alone, or with a like-minded girlfriend. I have narrowed it down, though, so even though it caused him some distress, I have a better idea of what I’m going to do inside.

“Billy” bookcases with these lovely cubbies, as opposed to long shelves. Perfect for sorting fibre

“Gnedby” – I assume they’re actually meant for CD storage, but will be perfect for 8/2 cottons

I’ve settled on a mixture of “Billy” bookcases with “Gnedby” sections for the smaller 8/2 cotton. The ceilings of the studio are 10 ft high, so there will be room for Billy extensions. Billy can be installed either with or without glass doors, so some of it will have doors – the sections closest to the window with southern exposure, and those in which I’ll be storing inventory.

So, as with my weaving practice, the studio build also requires some quiet moments in which to plan the final products. It’s not about producing, but about producing well after contemplation and planning.

2 thoughts on “Progress, and Planning.

  1. It is a fabulous space! And I believe thinking is working. Mentally preparing for the new work area is exercise. Coffee helps with the process. Or wine. Depends on the process stage!

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