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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The old bear sees a light at the end of her tunnel.

Light reflecting off dirty wine glasses from holiday party
It's that time of year again when my bear instincts demand that I stay in my bed until the light returns (or Spring and/or paramedics intervene). Because my hypochondriac brain gets nervous when I become a hibernator, unwilling to do anything more than write lists of what I would do if I had more energy or a new body or if I hadn't eaten that last gift bag of rum balls, I start to worry about what will befall me if I continue this downward slide in homeless bag lady syndrome.  It only takes a quick glance into my past journals to realize that this state of mind/body slugdom happens every single year, probably on the same date. It is a curious state of my memory that I forget my wrestling match with bears, angels and daylight every year at this time in favor of sitting in front of the tv, cat on leg, popping rum balls and complaining on this "new" state of affairs.
Leon refuses to let me get off the comfy chair and at least change the channel to PBS.
Today is the Winter Solstice, the time of light returning.  It's time to get out the Manifesto Book - my book of changes (subtitled "If I Ruled the World") and the almost filled journal, gather a big pile of sticks from the garden and have a jolly good fire.  No, I'm not going to burn the books but just mark the beginning of my new year.

The Winter Solstice is the perfect time to reflect what I was able to do this past year although at this point in rum ball testing I will need to check the journal closely for those points of light. It is also that grand ole time of resolutions of which I must say, I don't even need to rewrite anymore, but pick any page of resolutions for the last decade or two. (lose-the-weight-walk-more-eat-more-veggies-get-a-dog-do-quicken-grow-my-own-veggies-clean-paper-files).  So Boring!

This year I'll try something that does not involve changing eating or exercise habits.

1. I will choose PBS as this year's donation.  (giving great gobs of money to the Apple Store is no longer considered a charitible contribution)

2. I'll start working regularly in the new dye kitchen, plucking the moldy pomegrante skins from their bowl and boiling them up into yellow dyestuff.

3. I will remain very happy to have gotten rid of my dryer and hanging my clothes up to dry.

4. As for my professional life (the one that pays the mortgage and buys cat food) I am making changes cutting back on the number of away workshops.  I need more time for my own creative endevours, learning new book forms, natural dyeing, paper making, writing and a few secrets. I have already booked quite a few workshops for 2012, but will start the cut backs in 2013. (sounds like our congress...)

5. I will be holding more workshops here at my studio, maybe even once a month.  These workshops will be two day classes as the expanded time will allow for longer study on the topic presented.  We can do the resist dyeing one day and make a book the next for example.  We'll go out for dinner on the evening between and be able to spend more time talking to each other and exploring ideas.  The class number will be reduced to only four students to allow more room and attention for everyone.

6. Most of my resist classes will be held here at my studio as hauling 5,000 pounds of heavy metal, dyes, chemicals and handouts is breaking my back.  Mercy!

7. I think I will only have two teaching venues where I will present my findings in natural dyeing and resist - and they are, of course,  places I love visiting - The San Juan Islands and Holland.  Well, given the chance I wouldn't mind England, Ireland, Iceland and oh...Italy in 2013!  Hmmm, and this is where I get in trouble with all my pronouncements and resolutions and manifestoes!! Ding dang it!!
I would think that this place would be a lovely teaching venue!!
 8. I will listen and watch my cats more, as they seem to have much more sense than I have.
Leon is reminding me to stop writing manifestos and look for the light.

Big olde Bear is rumbling and waddling from her cave, following those teeny bits of light - thoughts, ideas, plans, lists and new calendars on her ipad that make up the path to the tilting of the planet and the return of the light.  It doesn't hurt that I am doing a major wash of all the bed linen and without the dryer, those sheets will take about 3 days to dry!! 

I hope that all of you have a productive, enlightening and above all, creative time during your returning of light.


  1. The solstice is on my mind, too, as I had the grand fortune of going to Newgrange two weeks ago. Surely, in that list of places to teach you want to include Texas? :-)

    I am admiring a piece of your lovely work (purchased on Etsy) sitting on my desk. Inspiration will strike at some point and I will sew it into something useful and wonderful, but for now it is purely eye candy.

  2. Here, Here, Yes, Yes, and same all around!!

  3. Chad--I love this introspective post!! My therapist always plays the 'Let's review the last year' game at my first appt. of each new year, and I find it a very useful exercise!
    I wish you a peaceful and productive hibernation, a wonderful holiday season (still collecting those crazy ornaments?!?), and the best year EVER in 2012. Hugs and love--

  4. lovely post, dear Chad. So glad that you'll be out of hibernation in May, and that I'll see you in San Diego. Now, off to make some lists!

  5. hope those rum balls are being washed down with something suitable...

  6. I loved this post, Alice. I'm busy plotting out my year, as regards to felt-making, trying to figure out the balance between teaching and learning. The schlepping aspect of teaching is difficult and I've found that once you get a comfortable workspace at home it's hard to load it all up. I, for one, love the idea of you being around Asheville more; I"m pretty sure there's a lot I can learn from you especially as you get more solidly grounded in natural dyeing. Hope it's not too cold- we're relatively warm and sunny down here in St Petersburg for the next 3 mos and you are, of course, always welcome to come down for a visit. The dye pot is on out on the porch most every day. Happy New Year!

  7. Hope your holidays were grand. I just recently found your blog and entered in Google reader and at last I am catching up on reading. Love your way with words...good reading here...will be back.
    By the way Iceland is lovely in February...air fares are cheap in winter. Let me know if and when you decide to go to Iceland...I know a little about that land :)
    How does one find out about your classes?