Why Do I Hook Rugs? Click on the image above to find out why!
Fighting off colds.
Reimagining my beginner kit designs.
Thinking about why someone begins to hook rugs.
Creating a beautiful Instagram Account.
I have noticed that young women are making things.
More often people come to the studio with young children .
They are reconnecting with their hands.
They are hooking rugs for the same reason I do.
I love my phone like a teenager but when I put it down after browsing I do not feel satisfied.
I feel the need to do something.
To make something.
Making things fills a need in us.
It unites us.
It makes us happy.
It soothes us.
It makes us feel like we matter.
Making is a big movement right now among young people.
because it is filling a need .
When I first started making rugs I felt like I had found a home.
I belonged to that one simple stitch.
And it changed me.
That is powerful to think that making things can change a person.
but it does.
and we need to share that
because we should.
I ‘ve decided on an anniversary pattern and it will be geraniums.
Well they are hardy, like you have to be if you have been in business for twenty five years.
They are a simple plant, no fuss, and there they are from May to early November, showing up everyday, still blooming. Sometimes I forget to water them, other times the rain pours on them. Either way they manage with just a little bit of attention.
They also remind me of how I see a community. I want to be the person who chooses to plant geraniums to make their community a little prettier. Somehow geraniums remind me of the importance of giving back. It is such a simple thing to do and it reminds me that small things matter a great deal in a community.
You’ll notice the four white houses in the background of the pattern. They are there to represent community. When I moved my business into town , one of the things I decided was that I would commit myself to the community. It has been good to me, and I must try to be good to it. Building and supporting my community is an important part of my everyday life.
So is beauty. I love to see the storefronts in our downtown in full summer bloom. It makes coming to work, walking the street, and driving by a little sweeter for everyone.
I think of geraniums as an old fashioned flower. It is traditional.
But it isn’t meek. It is quite showy. And I kinda like that about them. Plain but showy. I relate.
So this is a very simple pattern but it is meaningful to me and part of my celebrating twenty five years.
We have listed it on the online shop here.
Ok, it’s stewing time here in Amherst Nova Scotia
yup, in November I often simmer
on a back burner and I get a little bored waiting for the next idea
that could possibly become a reality.
Some of my ideas are bad, like this morning when I looked at the empty stone bank building and thought I should do something with that.
It would be a good idea if I needed a building but all I really need is a project.
That is why I simmer. I am not waiting for someone to give me an idea of what I should do next.
I just need to wait and see what I can do next. What motivates me and what I am inspired to do.
That is the simmer.
If you don’t simmer you never really get a well cooked , delicious stew. I know that.
So I came in to my office, unsure, thinking, if only I had an idea.
Then a little package came in the mail from a woman I met at 30 Church, my clothing store.
She said after coming to 30 Church and the studio she went home and read my blog from start to finish and that she was inspired. That inspired me.
Then I got a little thank you note from a lovely woman else for an event we hosted.
Then I thought, “Hey, maybe you just need to keep doing what you are doing.”
Two nice notes on one day. I posted them above my desk to remind me to keep doing, thinking and writing. To remind me of the kindness of others.
To remind me to do the same for other people who are good to me, or whom I enjoy.
Then I walked down to the bowling alley by myself and had a piece of pan fried cod. It was really good.
I got very little done today, and that’s okay.
Cause I’m on simmer.
There is no need to be on full boil all the time.
For two years I worked on a knitting book with Megan Ingman’s help. I started out as one idea and over time morphed. I had made all the designs with Megan’s help, done the knitting and written the manuscript.at some point Megan decided that she could not co author it with me and we agreed that I would go ahead with it alone. So the bookstarted out as one thing and morphed into something else.
I even had a publisher all lined up. Last week we were ready to the photography and I just felt that I needed to call it off. I felt as if in doing the book I was not following my spirit so I had to call a halt.
Everything was good with it. Megan and I remain good friends even though she does not work here anymore and the book was ready to go. I just felt that for some reason I could not define I did not want to go ahead with it. It was one of those things that was seemingly right but something was niggling at me about it so I let it go. I stepped back, and in doing that I felt relieved. Sometimes there is no answer about what direction you should go in. There is no arrow, or well defined path. You just have to sift your way through. I have learned that in saying no, or sometimes in stepping back I feel as much as freedom as I do in saying yes and moving forward with something that really excites me.
I cannot tell you why I changed my mind about doing a knitting book exactly. I can tell you however that when you say not to one thing it opens up room for more of another thing. Right after I decided to move on I picked out some lichen and lace yarn and started a new knitting pattern for a shawl to match my new boots. The colour is day lily, and really at night I just want to knit that shawl, and it makes me happy. Sometimes you just need to bring simplicity back into your life. Projects can be tempered and tamed down. Dreams can still happen they just might be different than you anticipated.
One of my favourite features in the recreation centre where I swim is The Lazy River. It’s a winding channel of water with a current. It swoops and curves in an irregular circular formation so you can float with the flow or go against it for more of a challenge. I start with a workout against the current and then I let the river take me. As I bob along I often think of how the experience reminds me of creativity and developing ideas.
I think letting go is important to really see where an idea can go. That point in my creative process feels like going limp in the water where I let an idea push me around like the waves and currents. I let them roll me away from where I think I want to go. There’s no straight line or destination. I am adrift like a leaf that floats along the water’s surface: still, swirling; gentle movements, frenzied spirals. Forget strength and technique. Flailing is good. My jellyfish limbs move in different directions. No more strong, symmetrical, measured strokes. I invent new moves. The water is my choreographer. As I tumble and turn I see things differently; details, patterns, compositions.
This spring I was really honoured when I was asked to speak at the Baccalaureate Address for this years Grade twelve class at ARHS. Both my children and my husband, as well as many good friends were in the audience. Here is what I had to say:
Lots of times people ask you, “What would you tell your younger self?” That is , at forty or fifty if you could go back and give your younger self advice what would you say. To be honest I never thought much about it until I was asked to speak to you tonight.
As I wrote out what I wanted to say to you here in this place, as you graduate, and go out in the world I thought a lot about who I was as a young woman, both what I believed and what I needed to hear and this is what I came up with:
When I was young, your age, I knew some of these things, but some of them I have come to know later.
Know how truly beautiful you are.
They say beauty is wasted on the young because you don’t know how truly beautiful you are. To those of us in our forties and beyond, each of you is pretty, each of you is handsome. You have not been blemished by time and wrinkles, but you will be. Every day you look in the mirror appreciate the good you can see, your young skin, your bright eyes, and don’t take it for granted. Enjoy it for it is fleeting. Stop being hard on yourself, and appreciate it . Youthfulness is the gift you have right now, know that you will not own it forever. It comes and it goes and it is meant to be savoured.
2. Feed Your Spirit.
We are constantly told to feed our minds and our bodies but society has basically stopped telling us to feed our spirits. You , right here and now, are more than just a body in a chair. You have a soul, and spirit inside of you that is both sacred. It is the part of you that never grows old yet it is ancient. You will need to nurture that spirit inside you as you go through life. As we face challenges it is that quiet space inside of us that will rise up to meet us and help us along the way. Find the source that you need to feed your spirit. For me it is through prayer. You will find your own way, just make sure you remember that sacred part of yourself for you will need it.
3. Create the Life You Want
All kinds of people will tell you what you should do but no one really knows what you outta do. Listen to the advice of those you love and respect but always make your own decisions. If you don’t know what to do next, just do something. Learn something, be active and engaged. Do not go down your parents basement and spend a winter playing video games. Always work always learn, and take a few chances because all those turns in the road will add up to your life.
Most likely your future, what you end up doing, where you end up living will be a big surprise. Be open to the twists and turns that arise. Some of you are on a straight path and will end up exactly where you plan to go. But those of you are the gifted few. The rest of us are blessed in another way and we need to be open to the possibilities. We have to remain curious and learn and discover where we are going by being open to the possibilities that surround us. I was really impressed this year when a young business student I know took a job working with autistic children. I loved his willingness to follow his spirit and try something that was off the beaten path for him. Maybe he’ll discover something totally different about himself, maybe this decision will change his life. Or maybe it won’t. Either way he will know. I say to you remain curious in the next few years and through out your life. Curiosity makes like more interesting. Be open to change, because it to is interesting.
Don’t expect your path to be easy because for many it isn’t but still it is beautiful and we are put here to experience this beauty.
4. Honour your parents
Right now take a moment to honour them. Your parents are your home base, they are your compass. They are passionate about you and they more than anyone else in the world believe in your goodness.
Yes I know They may have made mistakes. My parents did with me, and I did with my children. Plenty of them. But I know that parents try hard, and that they do the best they can with what they have to give. So as you take control of your future, and I encourage you to do that, to make your own choices, not the choices of your parents, always repsect and honour your them for they have got your back.
…and when they text you at one in the morning answer them. They just want to know you are okay.
5.Remember Where You Came From
Never ever, never ever forget where you came from and the community that raised you. Always come back home. We are the community that loved you and we are the community that is waiting for your return.
Please , always speak well of the place and the people that rallied around you, always let your compass guide you back here, for no matter where you go, what you learn, how successful you become, this place here, is home, and with all it’s humility it will remain your home.
And remember this, wherever you go, this community loves you.
We love you now and we’ll love then.
My friend Aline filmed the talk and if you would like to watch it you can click on this link:
It was so well worn from a bygone era of worldly travels on ocean liners I expected to find something rare and exotic inside. Sadly, this lovely old steamer trunk could only offer a dense assortment of small fabric scraps. Within hours of jettisoning the mishmash to the charity shop pile I started getting flashbacks of everything I had just rapid fired into bags. I was seeing connections between those bits of fabric and other things we had discovered during my parents’ downsizing. Over the next few days, I came to realize that trunk held a textile record of everything my mother had ever sewn. The fabric bits spanned decades and included swatches from square dancing outfits when they were Tartan Twirlers to cozy flannel pyjamas I remember wearing as a kid. There were memories and feelings embedded in these scraps and there was an unusual beauty to the random mix. It was a palette of colours, patterns and textures that could only come together over time. They haunted me and by week’s end I was back in the garage digging to find the bags and snag a small sampling for my own stash. Crazy I know but it was a lightbulb moment.
There are textile traditions from every part of the world that are solely based on the use of scraps: crazy quilts, hit and miss hooked rugs, Kantha cloth made from old saris to name a few. Scraps have a former life and when brought together their random associations can bring something new and fresh, as well as, connect to a history. After finding Mum’s collection I reflected on a few on my own experiences using scraps and leftovers.
I used leftovers from two very different rug projects to make these pillows. I created colour combinations and designs by responding to a sense of randomness and limitation. Even before I brought materials( and memories) from different projects together many of them had a life as a wool shirt or skirt. All those layers of history were with me when I made these pillows.
Using the “standing wool rug” technique I dove into a six month pile of leftover wool strings to create this piece in progress. There were lots of colours and widths that seemed incompatible but I played with them like a game of improv. I’m fascinated by the endless combinations and permutations that can come from this fixed group of materials collected by circumstance.
I have a new appreciation for a pile of scraps these days. Using scraps and leftovers can be more than just a practical gesture. A pile of textile scraps is unpredictable and pregnant with creative possibility. They are like maps encoded with our experiences and the life of our material choices. It’s a magical confluence when they are combined into something new. When I think back to that well traveled steamer trunk it did indeed hold something rare and beautiful and I’m glad I recognized the treasure in time to keep a little bit of it for myself.
Thanks for stopping in!
P.S. In my last month’s post I gave you the head’s up on my workshops for Newfoundland’s Fibre Art Conference this October. There was a computer glitch with their website. A few workshops including mine were showing as completely full when in fact they weren’t. So for anyone who tried to register and couldn’t there are actually a few spots still available.
it’s a cool morning
chances of frost last night
I decided yesterday to wait a couple more days before I transplant my sunflowers
I did transplant kale last week
my greenhouse is full of it
I like to let some plants go to seeds in the greenhouse
at the moment I have a carpet of young kale, dill, cilantro, and the odd lettuce
I woke up early this morning
sun right onto my bed
I finished a book that I had read a few years back
I like to reread sometimes
some books are like friends that you need to visit every now and then
I pulled the blankets off
– chilly –
I put them back on in a hurry
I assess the situation
t-shirt on the dresser, sweater near by, those cozy leggings that I could wear one more day
a farmhouse can be cooler in the spring then in the middle of winter
either you’re out of wood or you feel it’ll warm up soon enough, no need for fire
the wood stove is going on a diet
I visited my friend Jenn and her daughter Cadence a couple days ago
both will celebrate their birthday this week
one will be six, the other 35
I came to have this ongoing discussion about age
I was curious to know what Cadence had to say
she was thrilled to be interviewed
I have to tell you that Jenn is a potter
a few years back she left a secure job with Canada Post, build herself a cozy studio, and became a full time potter
she makes beautiful mugs, plates, bowls, vases, you name it
she started off selling at the local farmers market
when I visited her she had just completed a big order for a shop in PEI
Of course Jenn isn’t only a potter
she’s a mom, a gardener, a cook, she weaves, sows and knits, she teaches, she dances, she plays
she smiles and laughs easily
a lovely person
In a way it wasn’t much of a surprise when I asked her about age and aging that really, she didn’t think much about it. Here is what she had to say:
“My goal in life is to be in every moment, so to think so far in the future,
which is what I think when I think of age; it ends at some point, and that’s why people think about it … If I get ideas in my head about getting older I just roll down my imaginary window and I throw them out (laugh) like I’m driving a car.”
“I think that there’s so many things to do there’s no possibility that I will ever get them all done. So I trust in myself to be doing the things that I wanna be doing and that’s as good as I can get. I think that’s the best I can do, and if I start not doing those, I feel it, I just don’t feel like I’m in a good place, so then I change them (laugh).
I don’t know if it’s a good thing, I can’t make myself sit still.”
You’re an older lady; how do you see yourself?
“I wanna be a roaming around the world 80 year old … I wanna be fearless.”
“I think about attachment and I don’t want to be attach to anything”
Wiggly Cadence in her seat, mini cup of tea in hands gracefully answered my questions. She too doesn’t think much about age. Obviously there’s better things to think about when you’re five. Like her big brother not letting her play nintento at the level she’d like, how many friends she will invite to her upcoming birthday, and that hen that has been sitting on eggs for days… So much things to think about.
What does age mean?
“How old you are.”
What is old?
“31 is old”
Is there a number you’re excited about?
“ 12 “
“I just like that number”
Is there something special that happens when you’re 12?
“well … it’s my birthday”
Jenn: what are you going to do when you are a grown up?
“ I will visit you sometimes “
mama’s heart swells, we drink more tea
I think I will visit someone today.
In 2006 I bought a new sewing machine. I didn’t sew but I had dreams of stitching things. When I wanted to turn some of my rug hooking into pillows it was a good impetus to take the plunge. I was eager to explore the wider world of my new found passion for hand made textiles so I opted for a basic mechanical workhorse I hoped would take me into more creative explorations down the road. It’s 2015 and my machine has served me well in the pillow making department and that’s pretty much all I’ve done with it. I used it sporadically so I’m always a little intimidated when I set it up. I still relied on the owner’s manual just to get it threaded. It seems my sewing machine and I have been driving on the straight and narrow together for a long time yet we’ve never really gotten to know each other well enough to deviate into the wilderness or go on a spontaneous adventure. I didn’t know what I needed to tap into this unfulfilled potential until an artist friend invited me to stay with her in Calgary where she was bringing the knowledgeable, talented and daring Karin Millson to her home for a small group session on how to abuse your sewing machine. It sounds like we might be running around like reckless rocks stars smashing our machines but in fact the session was about taking every mechanical sewing machine variable and breaking the rules to stretch and mine them for creative effect.
Ironically, I finally got to know my sewing machine by playing around with what I wasn’t supposed to do with it. Karin led us on a methodical, thoughtful, progression of experimentation with tensions, threads, stitch lengths, widths, you name it. It provided me with a view into the full potential of my machine to really understand how it works and responds. I felt like I was driving my sewing machine like my standard car with all the knobs controlling stitch length, width, etc. becoming different gears I could change on the fly. What I explored is but a small sampling of possibility but I already feel I can create stitches with character and free motion sew where my hand is in the stitch work even though it’s articulated through a mechanized machine. At the end of the session we had to put our machine back to a factory setting. I must say I found a great sense of liberation in taking things to the brink and then coming back to a perfectly balanced straight stitch. Suddenly my sewing machine looks far more inviting that intimidating. I think it’s about time we went for a spin and had some fun.
By the way…. I’m scheduled to teach 2 workshops based on my combination rug hooking/ knitting/crochet work at the Fibre Arts Newfoundland Conference this fall! Here’s a link for more information. It’s an international gathering to be held in the beautiful Gros Morne National Park. It should be a spectacular, inspiring event- hope to see you there! (If you’re interested in any of the conference workshops, please keep in mind that it’s better to register sooner rather than later to ensure the workshop you want has the registration numbers needed to run. ) Thanks for stopping in!
foggy morning, fishcakes and biscuits, company over
my blog is a little late today
I visited Gail this week
Gail, in legal term, is my mother in law
in my term she is a friend
I thought Gail would be a good person to interview for my age series
she will be 77 this year
you may think: she’s 76, don’t need to age her faster
no, but the thing is, Gail cares more about the sound of the number then the meaning we might associate it with
and so 77 sounds much better then 76
actually, really, Gail loves double digits
so far, in the few interviews that I have done, there have been reactions regarding age;
mind association that connects age with physical and mental abilities
beauty, energy, hopes and dreams, curiosity, interest …
often I hear concerns, at any age, be it 20, 30, 40
fear, unmet expectations
our own or others
trying to keep up with the time
and the time ticking
The interesting thing with Gail is that age seems like an irrelevant word.
“ 77, what about it ? Nothing ! I’m grateful; I love double numbers.”
When does one become old?
“ It’s a mental attitude, an outlook …
I find it’s enriching because the wisdom is with age,
because of past experiences …
You have great memories of past experiences and that keeps you young,
in thought, mind …
Then I am just grateful;
I’m still able to be independent, and that’s everything.
Being a woman, when you go through menopause that’s the beginning of getting old
and you know it, you feel it, you sense it
you know your limits little by little
and the thing is not to give into your limits because you’ll loose all that muscle
muscle disappears quickly and you want to keep your muscle more or less ”
Time or age never affected you?
“ No, I had a lot of desires so I just went…
I never needed a lot of comfort, I didn’t need to have luxury.
You can be very vain about your body, your face and your living style
and I don’t think I was enhanced with vanity. “
the conversation will keep going
what inspires me with Gail is her will power
whatever Gail wants, Gail gets some way or another
she has lived and is living her life just like she wants
she has embraced an innumerable amount of projects
art, travel, work
she is creative, curious, passionate
she is demanding to herself and others
and is incredibly generous
her life has been and remains full
Next project? : “ my goal is when I’m 80 I’ll go to Cuba “
I love it
it’s been one week today
one week actually yesterday, we arrived on a Saturday
the first two nights I’d wake up in the middle of the night wondering where I was
trying to figure out how our windows fitted in what I thought was my Moroccan room
then I slept better and slept a lot
jet lag I guess and recovering from the journey itself
as if I didn’t realize my batteries were low and needed a full charge
the weather has been wonderful and tons of snow have melted in the past week
I started cleaning up the greenhouse
pruned around an apple tree
got a piece of ground ready to plant garlic
the ice on the pond is still holding but there is an opening near the beavers house
I saw the beavers come out looking for grubs
I should bring them my apple clippings
I saw a couple deers in the orchard and in the garden
I was happy about that
I heard form my neighbor that there are three dead ones in our woods
winter’s been hard
I visited a friend and she has some work for me
I went to a community talk on wild edibles and met a few acquaintances
we’ve shared a meal with family members, made tagine and drank some wine
slowly, bit by bit, as familiar motions take place
I am getting home
it’s been a long journey after all
ps. people are asking about highlights from the trip, there are so many, here are a some visual highlights
pps. I am planing on doing a blog series about women and age. I want to keep that conversation going.
Dear Diary, It has been a while since I sat and wrote to you. It seems I have been talking in other ways with Facebook, Instagram, and Coffee with Deanne videos. There is only so much a girl has to say I s’pose. Today though I took a look at you, my blog and found you needed an upgrade. Isn’t it odd that for an upgrade I went back to simplest of themes again. No need to see every post and what has been going on for months here in the studio. Lets make you current, lets make you matter. I have taken to writing the diary in my newsletter because it reaches so many people. We publish it here too but I think now and again I’ll come back here just to tell you how I’m feeling. I work here at the studio six days a week and then I have a day of rest. Sometimes I hook but it is no burden on a Sunday. So there should be time to talk to you a little. To spend some time. Right now I am loving close ups of my rugs. They are little colour studies. I learn from them sand they make me see the whole rug in progress differently.
After a memorable stay in the desert (I missed last week’s blog for lack of internet but you will find a post on that experience here if you like) we are now in Taroudant, a town that the locals call “the small Marrakech”. We got off the bus two days ago after a long ride through more Atlas where stunning scenery of mountains and valleys, dry river beds, oasis, herds of sheep, dusty road stands with colorful potteries kept us entertained. The landscapes in these parts are rugged and beautiful.
As we got off the bus I started looking for a taxi when Thami, upon asking me where we were staying, offered us directions then took upon himself to lead us there and carry some of our luggage. When I offered Thami a tip for his service he promptly refused, welcoming us to his town and offering us to take a horse drawn carriage ride with him for a tour of the city the next morning at a very reasonable price. Why not. We’ve never done that.
If there is something I have to learn about morocco it’s to be open to whatever the day will give (or lead to). The ride with Thami didn’t last an hour as I had expected, it took most of the day. Not only did he show us the city rampart where here and there we hopped off to climb, get a good view and take photos (he knew of all the good spots for pictures) but he made us visit the souk and of course some shops. Now the nice thing about visiting shops with a tour guide is that you are made to feel that there is no obligation or pressure to buy anything. Have a look, ask questions, take pictures.
We visited a women cooperative where several products are made from the argan nut. I already had bought argan oil in Fes so there was no need for more. We visited a jewelry shop and there, since this region is famous for this art, and because we had not indulged yet, Charlotte and I splurged. We went into an ancient synagogue transformed into a art shop where I saw the biggest carpet show room I had seen yet on this trip along with several rooms filled with ancient and new art from Morocco and other African country.We might as well have stepped into Ali Baba’s cavern. I knew nothing there was within my budget but oh my, what a feast for the eyes.
We saw mountain of spices at the market, and several other small artisan shop. But what took the main part of our tour was yet another carpet shop owned by one of Thami’s relative. Soon after we got in and as a gentleman was about to show us some carpets (tea already on it’s way) we did let them know that we had already bought carpets and blanket earlier on the trip. In fact, that was the heavy piece of luggage that Thami helped us carry the night before. No problem my friends, just have a look, no need to buy.
Of course you know what is next. Next comes an array of beautiful thin blankets made of camel hair and cactus fiber. They are light and roll up to almost nothing. When will I ever have a chance to acquire such beauty. We ponder, we do not have enough cash, I plead that we must go back to the hostel and get a credit card if we are to make a purchase. I think that really we should finish our tour first. The gentleman doesn’t settle for that. It is Friday, couscous day, why don’t you join us for couscous. Finish the tour then come eat with us. Hum, homemade couscous is an invite no one should refuse. We agree, we finish the tour, we come back. I know already that we will get those blankets. After couscous and more tea we not only get three but four blankets.
Maybe because we are not good at bartering, maybe because we spend time, maybe because tourism is low at the moment, who knows, not only our gentleman lowers the price a little but he trows in a few cushion covers to go with the blankets and give Eric a Fatima hand for his mom. Hands are shaken, shukran (thank you) exchanged, we are all happy with our day. Moroccans depends on tourism and will do their best to give you a good time. I have seen here some of the most beautiful craft / art there is. Generation of men and women have passed down their skills from fathers to sons, mothers to daughters, and most of what you see has been made by hard working hands.
Thanks to Thami and extended family for a great day yesterday.
Here are some photos for you textile and art lover!
ps. one more thing, we visited Amoon, a collaborative of Berber women in Taroudant today, there was one rug that was hooked!
Here is their website: anmoon.com
If you ever visit Taroudant do visit their shop.
it’s been an interesting week
moving deeper into Morocco
new sights and smells
with other travelers
with a new host
we’re by the ocean near Casablanca
Dar Bouazza it’s called
there is a little port where fishermen bring their catch
there’s a few fruit and vegetable vendors
the beach in front of us is sand with the regular pounding of waves
nothing too big
gentle and steady
further along there are very interesting rock formations
their design make me come back for a photo shoot
it is busy this week end
the weather is nice and several cars are parked in rudimentary parking lots along the ocean front
you wouldn’t think much of it
unpaved dirt lot overlooking the ocean
but in the shade with a glass of tea
an attendant keeps watch
over the nice looking cars
I was looking to buy chicken the other day
on the main drag there are several small shops where you can find all the basics
for that there are meat stalls
I see a big side of beef hanging and a nice array of cuts in one of them
I’m looking for chicken though
I ask the man if he has any
I ask in French
turns out French is the unofficial third language in this country and is definitively not spoken by all
in the north more people speak Spanish as a third language
the two first ones you ask: Arabic and Berber
in Tangier for example, the first boy we met spoke Spanish, French and English aside from Arabic and maybe Berber
I’m thinking of my kids back home
the ones I used to help with french at school
who struggle with one extra tongue
back to my chicken; I am stubborn and ask again, in french, if he has any other type of meat
maybe mentioning lamb (but not pork) will help
the man graciously points to a nice piece of beef
he obviously thinks I want a particular cut
I understand that we will not understand each other if I keep on like this
so, I resort to a universal language and mime a chicken while clucking
that works, the man has a good laugh and points up the alley to another stall
I have been using this method daily with Mina the maid who works here
she too only speaks Arabic
on the first day after many “merci” for this or that
I muster the courage to try it out in Arabic
I can tell she is pleased
later she uses a few words in french
here we go, between gestures, a little of this and that we may understand each other
the photos were taken yesterday
fascinated I was by the various textures on my path
On the ferry we saw the edge of the Rif mountains
looking for a culture shock
looking for extra heat
we had been told many things
the cabs, the haggling, the food, the art, the hospitality
go to: Chefchaouen, Fes, Marrakech
do this, don’t do that
it won’t be much warmer
we experienced the cab first thing
an old Mercedes
the grand taxi
from Tangier port to the city
a good half hour drive
as soon as we step out a young boy is offering us direction
I know where I am going
I have my map
it’s around the corner
still he is one step ahead of me
pointing to where I am going
I tell him I have no money
which is true, I will need to find a bank first thing to get some local change
it doesn’t make any difference
one step ahead of me he goes
we’re at the hostel
still the boy and now another one are waiting around for us to be done with checking in
they want to take us to their uncle or other relative for dinner
we are exhausted and just want to settle in
it has been a long day
the clerk who knows them shoos them off
welcome to Morocco
Next day Chefchaouen or like people say Chaouen
the blue city
the Medina (the old city) is so pretty
just big enough to think you may get lost
but really, small, so you don’t
cats are everywhere
most of them look good
I think it’s a good sign
our hosts at the Riad are most welcoming
our house is your house
we venture around
I click away
every door, every step
every shade of blue
catches my eye
there are shops everywhere
everything is beautiful
I don’t dare let my eye linger too much
the vendors know
they will catch me
once your caught it’s hard to get out
eventually I get caught
come to see this carpet shop one says
I will take you there
innocently I go
sure, let’s have a peak
we are treated the royal way
the place is large
mounds and mounds of carpets and blankets
all of them absolutely gorgeous
two men are busy picking several out to show
unrolling them on the floor
tea is offered
it’s a ritual
it’s also a trap
I really didn’t have any intention of buying anything that day
I was going to be smart and inform myself first
I had been told to bargain
I was not going to buy anything big
we are backpacking
you see where this is going
a couple hours later I came out with a large carpet
two small ones
and two blankets
did I bargain?
I couldn’t get myself to do it
the craftsmanship shown to me was so beautiful
how could I undermine it
later I felt a bit like a fool
my daughter and I, on another walk, got caught in a different shop
the vendors are so slick
like fine fisherman, they know how to hook you and slowly get you in
I am the biggest fish around
he offers prices that are way below what I just paid
I feel tired, I had enough
we manage to get out of this one empty handed
my daughter tells me what we got was way better
there is much to adjust culture wise
as a foreigner I don’t want to offend anyone
we are in Muslim country
what do I know
much to learn
we are in Fes today
biggest Medina in the world
this time we will get lost
here are some Chaouen photos
long days, short week
where does the time go
officially by 9am we should all start working
it’s about right, más o menos quince minutos
Alma goes to school
she is four years old
has curly blond hair
and the features of an angel
morning revolves around getting her to the bus in time
like any other household with a child in school
there is a breath of relief, a sense of achievement, when she is off
we did it again
we can go on with our day
a long list of various task is written on a large piece of paper pinned to the kitchen door
everyone has something to do
sanding, painting, fixing, building
ongoing maintenance of a restored house
very different from our house
this house has rocks for roofing
the ceiling of my bedroom is made of large beams holding a wooden structure that supports loads of rocks
the walls are made of blocks of cement covered with plaster
it enable a creative person to shape them as they wish
to insert rounded selves and small alcoves
I quite like it (I love it)
I want a house like that
it is snowing this morning
first snow we see on our trip
we are way up in the Sierra Nevada mountain range
it’s not unusual to have a little snow this time of year
although Christmas has gone by this snow makes us feel like Christmas
everyday we go for a walk
this village is tiny
it has a church, a bar (run by a gentleman named Jesus) and a handful of houses
most of the time you won’t see anyone in the streets except for cats
I have been thinking there may be more stray cats then people living here
I’m not too far off
the houses are all white
every year they get a fresh coat of lime wash
apparently it has antimicrobial properties
you can spot the villages from a distance
white slashes on the mountains
I like it here
every single time we go for a walk I end up picking either: almonds, walnuts or chestnuts off the ground
people grow almonds around here
I keep writing this word: almond, because it pretty much blows my mind
it’s a dream come true
picking almonds off the ground, cracking the shells with a rock and eating them
I can scratch that off my bucket list
but I don’t want to
I want to live in a place where I can have an almond tree
do you think I could have one in my greenhouse?
time for another cup of tea
it’s Sunday, it’s snowing, I might just go bake an almond cake
It’s tempting to talk about where I am at the moment but I may have to wait until next week for that
on Monday there was an amazing Kings parade in Barcelona
that could be a post in itself
the three kings parade is really the kids Christmas here
That’s who they write their wish list to and that’s when they get their present
the parade was magical
floats, carts, crazy rolling cars, masks, dancers
it was like a circus
Wednesday night we took the train to Grenada and arrived early the next morning
We had rented a room in the Albayzín district, I’ll call it the old quarter
from the shared roof patio of the apartment we had a fantastic view of the Alhambra which we visited the next day
What struck me the most with the old quarter was the stone work
the roads, sidewalk, pathways are all neatly laid with pebbles forming various pattern
some squares look like mosaics
everywhere you walk is like a beautiful stone carpet
it just amazed me
so much time and detail put into the common place
I felt so happy
sure I am on vacation
but I was pondering upon the effect of beauty in your everyday surroundings
the fact that everywhere you look is beautiful
that an artist, an artisan, an architect put some thought, time and effort into making something, the most common thing, like a pavement, beautiful
what does that do to one self
to walk amongst beauty everyday
it sure made me feel good
as if that was not enough
we visited the Alhambra the next day
The Alhambra is a palace and fortress complex
it is one of the most visited place in Spain
depending on the time of year you would have to reserve tickets weeks ahead to get a chance to visit it
The Alhambra is breathtaking
the outside of the buildings are rather plain
the views from the fortress let you admire the city and the snow caped mountains in the distance
eventually you get into the main palace
that’s when your jaws drops
walls and ceiling are ornate with what I thought was carved stone but turns out to be plaster
there is water flowing everywhere
there are courtyards with orange trees, pools with goldfish, palm trees that turned out to be date trees
we walked at a slow pace taking it all in
peace, beauty and serenity emanated from the place
we are now since yesterday up in the mountains near Pitres
the village we are in only has pathways, no roads for cars
we are up in the mountains on the south slope
our hosts are young artists with a lovely 4 year old daughter
I haven’t taken any pictures yet
I will save that for next week
all I can tell you is that I keep falling in love with Spain
over and over again
yesterday we went to visit the Catalonia art museum
I mostly spent time walking through the modern art exhibit
rooms and rooms of paintings, sculptures, furniture, drawings, metal work, photography you name it
the great thing was that I only knew very few of the artists
there might have been one Picasso and one Dali
of course there were some Miro
but otherwise I really didn’t know much
How refreshing and exciting to discovery all this art
here is some of it
Saturday at the studio is new for me. For years I have taken Saturdays off but lately I am working them, circulating between the women’s store and the studio. Saturdays downtown start with the market at Dayle’s Department Store. I got some great food and some vegetables, and some handmade soap. From there I sometimes stop at Manasseh Local foods for the Globe and Mail and a few groceries and then I head to work. For lunch I went to the Art of Eating Deli and had their breakfast sammie. So though I started working on Saturdays, I’d have to say they are pretty casual.
Today at the women’s store a woman said she was just heading out to Darthmouth to do some shopping but thought she would give us a try first. I appreciated tat so much that she took the time to come in and see what we had before she headed to the city. We were able to get her the outfit she needed and she looked beautiful in it. I know that it easy to just head out but I really appreciate it when people come in to see what we have here before they do.
Right now I am about to sit and hook for an hour. I am filling in a field with teal sari silk and it is looking very nice if I do say so myself. Now on to the next houses in the village section of it.
Tonight we are having some people over for pizza so there was lots to do to get ready for that. I ordered a dozen large pizzas so lets hope the crowd shows up. It will be casual to say the least, but there’ll be lots.
Be sure to check out Atlantic Books today. Laurie Glenn Norris wrote an article about my writing and my studio in this beautiful magazine. It is a free publication that you can pick up at all independent book sellers in Atlantic Canada.
This summer I took it pretty easy because I knew the fall was coming and there would be a lot of action both in my studio and with Thirty Church, The Women’s Store opening. I am glad I did make those day excursions this summer. I am glad I walked on the beach, read books and knit.
After two weeks of extreme busy “ness” : we opened a new store and with in a week I had to buy for the spring season. My own studio is always busy in September as well, I am on my first day of “normal”. I actually had time to drink my coffee this morning. I wore my jeans. I feel good. Yesterday I started missing my studio. I had not worked here for two weeks. That has never happened before. Good to be reminded that things run without you.
Routine has been my mantra for years and it has been interesting to see it shaken up. I really liked it. It was good for me. Now as fall settles in I ‘ll work on creating some new routines but I think I will keep in mind that I do not need the same routine every day . Even as I write this I can hardly believe it. Me, a creature of habit, suddenly realizing that supper can be late, and a walk can happen later and it does not matter. There is such a thing as a new normal, and I can like that too.
Now with two businesses going there is no way I can be everywhere. Sometimes I am here, sometimes across the street. Well who knew I needed that. It makes me realize that things happen just as well with out me in the centre of it all, all the time. “My , My” she says to herself, ” things roll along quite good with out you. ” Isn’t that something we all need to know. How to step back. Who would ever guess that throwing myself in at full throttle and opening a new store would teach me that even if I cannot be two places at once, things can go really well.
We all like to feel important, it’s true. It is nice to be wanted but really we are all just passing through. Each of us has certain gifts that make us valuable, but not invaluable. It only feels like that. When we take a step back from things we make room for the gifts of others to emerge. We make space for new flowers to bloom. As much as I like a tangled garden, there is something undeniably lovely about a cultivated one too.
Shots from the last four weeks:
I am back from a trip to Québec (again)
my mom was giving me her old car (not that old)
I have been without wheels all summer (that was fine)
but the freedom of a car (even an old one that isn’t that old)
it’s an overcast day in Beckwith this morning
we started the day with some of the most amazing almond chocolate croissants I’ve ever had
I picked them up in Trois-Rivières just before I left yesterday in a traditional french bakery
One must love art and tradition
that bakery is the embodiment of that
I must let everyone know in Trois-Rivières
such places must thrive
it’s called “Les Gâteries D’Oli”
Look it up if you’re ever there
I went out for my Sunday morning photo shoot
it’s the end of summer with some things in full maturity and some fading already
I go around my property so often
sometimes I don’t see things anymore
it takes a little walking around to get into it and find a few images that I like
sometimes you must work harder to be content
my Charlie cat follows me around
I have two cats
Buster and Charlie
they couldn’t be more different
in appearance and in temperament
Charlie is the embodiment of the independent cat
yet, pretending he is not, he is following me around
we just happen to go in the same direction (says he)
it is drizzling now as I am typing away
there’s always a little melancholia that follows my return from Quebec
leaving family, culture, language, … new found best croissant ever…
I’ll make tomato sauce later today
time to harvest!
then there is the garden in it’s full mature beauty
I walked through parts of it this morning looking at patterns
closing in to borage
how velvety it seems
a friend of mine spent the week here working away at four short videos
she is a percussionist extraordinaire
it’s been fun helping her out
but the most exciting news at the moment
is our upcoming trip to Europe
this week more then any
things have developed
we now know for sure that we will be helping out for a month
harvesting olives in Southern France
it sounds romantic
maybe it’ll be brutal
I doubt it
I’m up for new grounds, experiences and challenges
on my to do list coming right up
is a blog site (shared with my daughter)
that will feature our adventures in Europe
I’d like to keep posting photos and make short videos
I will keep a post on Deanne’s Sunday blog
it will most likely be linked to my new blog site
must figure that out
for now my friend is waiting
today we must wrap up her video projects
lots to do
have a good week
So if you are wondering what I have been up to I can fill you in here! Today I bought the flowers for outside….I have been busy trying to get everything read for the new women’s store across the street. I bought some cedar trees just like a city store. The inventory has come in and we plan to open next week. We are getting so so close.
I feel like a child with a new amazing toy.
Thirty Church : the Women’s Store looks beautiful. You can like us on Facebook at :https://www.facebook.com/thirtychurch
We’ll have a website up in the next month or so we hope.
I did though sew some backing on the frame and finished a set of small rugs this week. I knit four rows today but my ball of yarn is tangled. Do you think that a sign?
Harry the Printer is on his way down the street with an opening soon sign. My goodness I am so excited. I just had to tell you that I am thinking of you and that I am still hooking and knitting and creating beauty everyday.
I hope you are too.
With a title like that you might be thinking this is going to be about some wild party or a cautionary tale but it’s not. It’s starts with a safe, responsible drive home though the countryside. On this drive there was a beautiful quality of light where a sunny summer prairie sky was transitioning to evening. My husband was at the wheel and I happened to have my camera on hand. I was moved by the light and the passing landscape so I poked my camera out the window every so often and snapped.
At home I sorted through the blurry and nondescript. I didn’t create any jaw dropping photos but I did find a few that held fragments of the strong impressions I felt. There was such stillness in the landscape it seemed surreal; almost like we were driving through a diorama. The colours were smooth and flat and the whole landscape distilled into simple colours,shapes and forms.
The simplicity of the photos brought my thoughts to the late abstract painter, Richard Diebenkorn’s work. A genius painter’s work and random amateur photos don’t compare but there was a kind of reduction that connected these disparate things for me. After reading a bit about him and exploring his paintings a few months ago I found myself especially mesmerized by the way he captured a delicate space and balance between realism and abstraction in his landscapes. Perhaps it was looking at his work months ago that brought my awareness to these recent moments where a row of old granaries fused into a singular graphic shape. The light at the time of our drive seemed to bath the scenery in a way that removed the extraneous details and left the essence. Perhaps that’s what my subconscious was really responding to when I felt compelled to randomly stick my camera out the window.
That how artistic influences work I think. We may take things in with one intent but we actually have no idea if or how they will expand our mind or views down the road. Often we’re not even conscious when we are under their influence. Influences can be like new windows lined up and waiting in your mind; poised to give you a new view at unexpected moments like when you’re driving through a landscape you’ve experienced many times before and suddenly it feels different.
Sitting in front on my computer with Diebenkorn back on my mind, I took these thoughts a step further and played around with my photographs. A horizontal landscape turned vertical further removes it from reality. There can be a completely new story in a different orientation. It can be a story about process and mining imagery in a new way or it could be a view to the essence of something once it’s stripped of preconceived ideas. I think it’s possible for someone to drive around the world and never really see anything new and yet, you can sometimes find a whole new world on a small stretch of familiar road.
Thanks for stopping in!
I have a new post on my Diane Krys Studio blog, “A Western Wedding”
Why do writers put pen to paper?
Why does a painter put a brush to a canvas?
Why does a baker mix flour with his hands?
Why does a rug hooker slice perfectly good wool into strips and hook them?
Why does a knitter buy hand dyed yarn at twenty bucks a skein to make a scarf?
We all know the answer.
It is because we must. We are compelled.
There is something in the hand work that we cannot find anywhere else.
It is soothing, a time to let go of cares, or a time to figure them out.
It just depends on the project of the moment.
Now I have two things, knitting and rug hooking.
Knitting is a past time and rug hooking is a passion.
Well I knit when I gather with people or talk, or watch tv.
I make small simple functional things.
I don’t have to think a lot about the projects.
Rug Hooking is mostly more complicated for me than that.
I like to work quietly figuring out the colour and texture like a puzzle.
I usually have some idea I want to express.
I am more invested because I see it as art.
Knitting is creative but it is not how I express myself .
It is just how I make things.
Both I find compelling.
Both draw me in.
Both I need to do.
Like a baker needs to bake,
like a painter needs to paint,
like a maker needs to make.
Yesterday I took the day off and drove to the island for pleasure. Long country drives. A little city shopping downtown looking at art and then a stop at Victoria by the Sea. Two nice meals out. Good company , a lovely day.
Then this morning I slept a bit late, took my walk, phoned my friend Lily for a chat and wandered into the studio. I was stunned for a second when I walked in the door. There was a big black iris on the back wall. I had hung it on Tuesday and liked what I saw but this morning after a day away I was surprised by the beauty of it. It was like seeing it for the first time.
I looked twice as I rounded the corner to come in to the studio. I saw the iris like someone else , someone who did not make it. Suddenly I was taken aback by it’s beauty. This happens only once in a long while but I can tell you it is worth the wait.
When we make things we are close to them. They are familiar and the familiarity gets in the way of really seeing things as they are. When I started this rug I had an image in my head of a single iris on a coral diamond background. The coral diamonds felt too much like Kaffe Fassett’s work so I had to change that. He had just been here when I started the project. It was Brandon Mabley who said, Imagine your work as a big black iris. His comment made me want to see it for real. So this piece was influenced by their visit yet I did not want to make it reminiscent of their work, but of my own. It is a tricky balance. You want to have influences . It is how you grow, but you do not want to imitate. Imitation stifles me. It is only good as a practice as a way to learn. When you want to show yourself and the way you see things imitation will not work. For this you must find your own way .
I hooked the coloured diamonds because I thought the iris would be too serene just on a white ground and I was right. It is called Iris in the Rough because where I was a child irises grew in the ditches. I have always been surprised that they were so beautiful growing in such a rugged spot. It is a metaphor of course, like so much art.
When I feel this way I am so grateful. It must be the way a writer feels after a great sentence, or a guitar player after a great riff. Satisfaction in creating art only comes once in a while. When it does you’d be a fool not to be thankful.
my daughter and I had a delightful time at Kaffe Fasset’s presentation the other night
what a fantastic feat to be able to get such inspiration in our little town
the things I took home from Fasset’s presentation is that inspiration is everywhere
in your garden, in that old faded rug, at the flea market
it’s about having your eyes open
having an urge to create
to process what you see and put it into your own creation
it is for everyone
everyone who dares
it is not limited to the educated
it does not have to be thought out
it just is for whoever wants to embark and do
it may takes years
it may take a moment
it does not matter
the church was full on Friday evening
filled with people who makes art and craft
what a soothing sight
thanks Deanne and Megan and everyone at “this world class shop” to keep engaging people to create beauty everyday
If you read my previous blogs you know that I spent some time with family in Quebec.
I’ve been back for I week now and I miss them all already.
During my stay I spent a lot of time with my nephew Eliot and my niece Léonie.
It was precious.
For them I made this short video. It’s about passion, creativity, beauty, nature. It’s a little dreamy thanks to the music by Chan Wai Fat.
The commentary, by Eliot, is in french.
Here is the translation:
“I make flies since I’m 6 or 7. It’s my dad that showed me. I like it a lot. Since then I make lots.”
“I like to know that this fly will go on the water, fish will see it. It’s fun when you catch a fish and it’s you that made the fly.”
“I like to fish because; you’re on the water, you see fish, you’re in nature, all of those things that brings you close to nature.”
“When I’m fishing… I feel like… with all my equipment, in the middle of the river… I feel good… I don’t know how to say it… I lose a bit the notion of time… I can stay there a long time… so much I like it… That’s it.”
it is sunny
it is warm
it smells like fresh cut grass
it smells like a warm summer forest
and wild flowers
it’s the country
another country side
a hilly one
with fields, forests, tractors, and hidden ponds
with nephews and a niece
and it’s summer
Some years my backyard patio is chock full of blooming pots and other years I feel like I only need to plant a few for colour. For many summers my plant containers were found objects like vintage kitchen canisters or rusty buckets from my dad’s farm. I’ve even used old metal bedsprings as trellises. Lately, I’ve taken a simplified approach with a few groupings of plain terra cotta planters. My patio is not so different from the interior of my home where I like to change things up.
Our outdoor spaces are another canvas for our creativity and they can evolve over time. My back yard has dramatically changed over the years. When we realized we couldn’t keep up the giant garden we inherited we consoled ourselves with all the great farmer’s markets we could support and went for a “clearing in the woods” look by planting an abundance of hardy, low maintenance trees and shrubs. For a city space my yard might be considered over treed and a little on the wild side but I love how it attracts the birds and makes me feel like I’m living in the country instead of a hop,skip and jump from downtown.
I used to keep thriving raspberry canes in check using discarded black metal store fixtures until our maturing trees obstructed the light and dwindled the raspberry patch. I enjoyed this black tubular “sculpture” intertwined with tasty raspberries until our butternut tree grew into it’s full magnificence. We now enjoy it’s waterfall of graceful palmate leaves instead. I find it incredibly beautiful to watch nature take it’s course; the energy and vigour, and the quiet recessions. Gardening is like a call and response dance between nature’s impulses and our own; ever changing and always surprising.
I marvel when we can harmonize with nature and bring our own creativity to the mix. When I travel I love taking photographs of these artful expressions. Here’s a few photos that inspire me from trips I took to our east and west coasts. What’s going on in your garden?
I’ve launched my new blog on my new website, pop in for a visit if you have a minute!
When I was at my friend Denise’s she had the pillows that her and her daughter made last year at my pillow workshop on her rockers on the porch. It looked so cozy.
Summer Flowers Pillow Kits are available online.
Last Saturday I called Sheree Fitch to see if she was home I wanted to go for tea. It turns out she was going to be home all day because she was preparing her barn for her new arrivals. When I got there she was painting the inside of her little barn pink and purple so the lambs would have a happy home.
Some people are extra loveable I think.
She has this playfulness that abounds and joy just seeps out of her.
The next day she send me this picture.
The sweetness of friendship.
We had such a good time. Three Days in the studio. Five beautiful women. They learned. I learned. It was beautiful. You should have been there. Plan to come if you can.
Pictured here are four of the participants. The fifth, Sandra from Boston left a day early but her she and her rug were beautiful too./
Beverly Mulcahey has hooked a lot of my patterns.
She has been visiting my studio since my kids were little. They remember she sent them those oversized sunglasses when they were little.
She hooks. She knits. See her sweater she has on…she knit that.
She knits to relax so it’s easy she says.
She is joyful and fun. She teaches nearly forty students in her hometown of Paxton, Mass.
I see her every year and every year she has a story or three or four.
She is always excited to come here.
She is a good friend of the place so she understood when we started moving furniture while she was here.
She knows what we are like.
She hooks beautiful rugs.
She is Beverly… and we are glad she comes and teaches and inspires others.
Deanne’s newest rug ! The background is done with sexy jersey. I think this is one of my favourite.
I love the word Hope. Not sure why but anytime I see something with Hope on it I have to buy it. I even had Morgan from Damaris write it on my finger nail the last time I had my nails done. So when Deanne started doing rugs with words on them I said ” you have to do hope”. Well to my surprise she did do the rug and then gave it to me. It now hangs in my living room and I just love it !
you’ve heard them sing
you’ve seen it thaw
it’s crazy how fast a season can change
one week we are buried under a blanket of snow
and the next the narcissus are poking their noses out
I was busy in my green house yesterday getting the ground ready, planting a few seeds
lettuce, spinach, beets
early greens that I hope to munch on in a month time
this morning thinking of Easter coming up
I looked for the eggs that were decorated last year
I wrote a blog then and I will share it again
if you have some old silk ties, or scarfs, or any silk with pretty patterns on it
round up some kids, empty a dozen eggs, and be ready to be awed
oh yes: the LINK
About a year ago Susan Myles got a big red horn. It is called, P-Bone, a plastic trombone. It is bright red and it speaks loudly. I walked into her office, she worked managing her husband’s chiropractic office, and she excited pulled it out and played it. Well, it was interesting. We both started laughing hard. Buckling over. She has been musical all her life and bought it as a treat for herself and taught herself how to play again after putting down the trombone in high school.
Only a year later and now she plays quite differently. We interviewed Susan a few weeks ago for our radio show, At the Kitchen Table. It was really fun to interview her because she is so expressive. You can see it in these pictures, the playful looks on her face. She brought along her horn…
Susan played for us after the interview was over and she sparkled cause she loves it. Over the last few years she has really grown in her comfort level about performing. For years she felt she had lost her voice, but over the last few years she has worked hard at finding it again and you can see her at all kinds of local charity events performing with her husband. They are good to the community.She has made music more than her passion, she is also making it her profession. She now has a big group of students to whom she teaches voice lessons.
It is exciting to be in a community and watch people bloom. As we age we grow and change and our desires and needs evolve. The thing I liked about interviewing Susan was that though she was really trying to find her voice again in a literal way, it is a metaphor for all of us. We all lose our voice now and again. We all have passions and interest that get displaced and it takes some effort to regain them.
I think in a small town it is really easy to feel judged when you start to change. We all have expectations of each other to be the same person we knew, interested in the same things. It can be hard to reinvent yourself without feeling a little judgement. To be honest I have often been surprised at the changes some people make and wonder why on earth? It is human nature to wonder. Even some might say human nature to judge. The other day I was reading a book and one character said to another, “Remember, observe, don’t judge.” I loved that statement. If you are just observing then to you are not evaluating, just watching to see how the flower opens.
I have enjoyed watching Susan in the last year. She took back her voice and she is is a good example to all of us that it okay to flash your big red horn, enjoy your life, have fun, and follow your passions.