Monday, January 26, 2015

Shibori dyeing

Yesterday I had a chance to be a student, once again. I took a Shibori dyeing class, led by Bernadette Thompson at the Prince George Fibre Arts Guild. Shibori dyeing is a resist-dyeing technique, where you use stitched and pulled thread to create the resist areas on the fabric. It was a fun day, and I learned quite a bit. The most important lesson, though, was to pull your threads tightly, in order to get the shibori effect (i.e. clear designs). The cloudy designs were also nice, I found, but in some spots I had the threads so loose that no designs appeared, really. It is a technique I will be trying again in the near future, once the weather warms up. I'm intrigued by the idea that a person can also stitch a picture and have it resist-dyed into the fabric. I saw a photo of a shibori turtle and definitely want to try that!!!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Sew happy

Finally, I had time today to do some sewing again. Since I'm working my way down my "to-do" list, I tacked item number 5 on the list (the first 4 are finished): Peter's disintegrating quilt. It originally had a lovely brown herring-bone patterned batik on it which obviously was somehow damaged during the dyeing process, as that was the only fabric in the quilt that was falling apart. Unfortunately, it also made up 90% of the quilt. The ends were fixed last year, with fishing flannel, and I had time today to replace/cover up the center panel with Peter's other passion -- a guitar!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Perseverance, patience and pushing through...

Not too much activity to report in the artistic area of my world... at least nothing concrete with tangible "show and tell" accomplishments.

I ran a workshop on Saturday, a 5-hour workshop. I wasn't sure if I had planned well enough to fill the 5 hours, so started off with some trepidation. People appeared to be having a good time, though, and the 5 hours flew by, ending just as people finished their projects. On Sunday, I revised my notes and plans to reflect what we actually did during the workshop, refined my materials and packed everything away for the next year.

Needless to say, I did not get much done from my personal to-do list that day! Or on Sunday, when I updated my notes and spent the rest of the day planning classes that are starting this week.

During the workshop on Saturday, conversations ranged widely, but the ones that stuck with me most were about accomplishing what we set out to do. Our end conclusions were "perseverance, patience and pushing through":

- perseverance -- "sticking to it", "continuing to try", and "beginning again"
- patience -- with the Self, when things don't go as planned
- pushing through -- even when progress is not noticeable, keep on "keeping on" and it (whatever "it" is) will get better.

So... message to self... Patience! You do need to plan those classes coming up, so of course the time to work on projects will be less for the next few days. Persevere! Don't give up when the first (or second or tenth) attempt is not up to your expectations. Push through! Even when you don't feel like it, show up and do the work!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Musings on goal setting, a juggler, and New Year's resolutions

Happy New Year! We celebrated quietly at home on the 31st of December, but went out to see Cirque du Soleil's Dralion on the 2nd of January. What a wonderful event -- I'm so glad we had a chance to see it.

Every year, at the beginning of the year (or on New Year's Eve), I bring out the previous year's resolutions that we all made. While this used to raise many protests, my efforts seem to be paying off, as everyone around the table now looks at what they wanted to accomplish during the year, and sets out new goals for the upcoming year. Personally, I use this time as an opportunity to set out a path of action for the year, ranging from artistic endeavours to learning in other areas. My wishes for myself are often more than I can handle in only one year, but I'm getting smarter at setting the goals for myself. I'm also getting smarter at not knocking myself over the head for the goals I did not accomplish!

Recently (well, a year ago), I went to a talk by a world-class athlete who talked about setting SMART goals: specific, measurable, achievable/action oriented, realistic and relevant, and time based. Once the goals are set, the fellow said, it then is necessary to determine how to meet those goals and to set up a schedule of actions that bring you closer to completing what you set out to do.

I tried that last year with my New Year's resolutions and was amazed at how much I did accomplish, compared to years with fewer "smart" goals. I did read those Harry Potter books in German before the end of summer; the photos from 2006 - 2014 were finally sorted and organized by December 31st; and I am back in the pool again, swimming three times per week. In addition, I answered two calls for submission and was accepted into both exhibitions! However, drawing still took a back seat, as did my violin practice, neither of which got the daily attention I had intended.

While watching Dralion on Friday evening, I saw a couple of performances that did not go 100% as intended. The diablo spinners had a few issues and the juggler dropped a ball a time or two. I was impressed, though, at how they handled the situation. As in any performance, "the show must go on", and it did, despite the hiccups. The juggler in particular impressed me, as he was by himself on the stage with nobody to toss him the ball from the ground. He continued to juggle the balls still in the air, while looking down at the errant sphere, then caught everything, took a very slight pause, and picked up the dropped ball. Slowly and methodically, he set everything in motion once again, successfully juggling 7 (seven!) balls for a few minutes afterward.

There is learning to be had there... New Year's Eve is a time for a slight pause in activities, an analysis of where I am and where I'd like to go, and a chance to set everything into motion once again, perhaps with new balls, and see how many I can keep afloat.

My goals/resolutions for the upcoming year are now set down on paper, in an envelope to be brought out on December 31st and in a journal to be referred to over the year. I bought an agenda to help me set up a schedule for reaching those goals, and to keep track of my progress. Over the course of 2015, I hope to:
1. Continue reading books in German,
2. Read Anne McCaffrey's Dragonsinger in French (no mean feat, as I still struggle with the Franklin books at the moment,
3. Continue swimming 3 times per week,
4. Set up a self-study program for the year to improve and build upon my art quilt skills,
5. Dust off my violin (set up a 4x per week schedule for now, as daily was hard to do),
6. Work through my project "to-do" list by setting a schedule of realistic completion dates for each project, in order of priority (and whim),
7. Include drawing and watercolours into my weekly activities -- not sure yet how, but that will be determined over time.

Why set these goals, year after year after year? First, I enjoy learning, and second, to use the words of Anthony Bourdain, as quoted in the Prince George Citizen on January 2, 2015: "... I really deeply enjoy the process of sucking a little less at something every day".