Monday, March 9, 2015

Regaining studio rights

My workroom has sat idle for the past two decades. Well, not exactly idle, but it certainly has not been used to its intended purpose. About 30 years ago, we added space to what had been a laundry room with a pop-out addition. The washer and dryer remained at one end, but the rest was my workroom. It is being resurrected to its most worthy calling.
I've been calling it a workroom as I feel unworthy to call it a studio. Yet. I'm furiously working toward regaining the right.
As I clean and organize my space, which is very well equipped, I'm uncovering a treasure trove. Shelves and cubbies hold sketches, samples, and swatches as well as records and design ideas. So much inspiration that I'm a bit overwhelmed!
I have so many things on my want-to-do list that I think my biggest challenge in this new world order is to develop a master plan to allocate my time. An acquaintance who is also newly retired has decided to focus on one project a day. Not a bad idea. 
Knitting. Hand knitting is an evening task, for the most part, but I have a vintage knitting machine that currently resides beneath a large and ingenious worktable. Every time I knit a large section of stockinette, I think of that machine. M. designed the table for the rather narrow room to fold up against the wall. And, yes, you guessed it. For the knitting machine to become usable again, the table must be clear. It almost is.
Spinning. I've been spinning with my new Ashford Joy double treadle wheel, which was a very thoughtful retirement gift from my dear husband. I have made a personal commitment to the1764shepherdesscall to action for "15 in 15." Spinning 15 minutes daily isn't a huge commitment and strikes me as a manageable goal. I can already see progress. I'm nearly done with the Coopworth fleece. The Tunis is next.
Kumihimo. I've probably made the most progress here. Last summer, I updated my book, Kumihimo: A Systematic Approach to the Ancient Art of Japanese Braiding on the Marudai, and started teaching again. I had a class at the 2014 Garden State Sheep & Fiber Festival and will be with the Princeton Chapter of the Embroiderers' Guild of America in April. 
The challenge with teaching kumihimo is equipment. Although disks are readily available, they are make-do substitutes for a marudai and weighted bobbins. The advantage is that people can see if they like braiding before they invest in the proper tools. The disadvantage is that braiding on the disks is clunky and the resulting braid suffers from lack of uniformity. I'm still noodling how to make the introduction to braiding the best possible experience.
Weaving. My eight-harness Harrisville floor loom takes up most of the workroom space and has stood idle for much too long. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with the rug that is about two-thirds complete. Maybe I'll try to complete it, but the warp is wonky, so I'm prepared to cut it off and start again. It's a pity I didn't at least finish the rug. I still like my design.
I also have an eight-harness Schact table loom and stand for samples and travel. That may be my first foray back into the world of dressing a loom. I rejoined the South Jersey Guild of Spinners andHandweavers and plan to work up some samples for the next weavers' study group meeting. A good goal.
And more immersion awaits me at the MidAtlantic Fiber Association (MAFA) conference in July. I signed up for Su Butler's  course on warp painting, which is obviously popular. It's full! I'm looking forward to experiencing dyeing and weaving with a creative bent.

No comments:

Post a Comment