Healing Handcrafting

exploring process and healing through fiber arts and handcrafting


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Monday Musings

Today began in such a lovely way. I had time before my schedule began and headed over to the Pond Road Studios in Shelburne to visit with my friend Stephanie, who I’ve not seen in a while. Life gets busy and weird and all kinds of things, and it’s easy for months to go by without seeing friends who live minutes away. Especially now that all of our kids are in full day school. It was so nice to share a cup of coffee before getting to the day’s business. 


And I got to meet Steph’s new pup who 100% stole my heart. 


Stephanie is a painter~ an extraordinary one. She’s been working on a series of cows that are so beautiful. Her work is very realistic, on the order of, when I look at her cows, I swear I can hear them breathing. 

I have one of her paintings, of a woman playing cat’s cradle, the thing you do with your fingers and string. Oh I love it so. I hope to own another in the future. You can look at Steph’s work here, or find some of her pieces at West Branch Gallery in Stowe, Vermont. 

It’s so inspiring seeing where artists make their work. 

The remainder of the day will involve staying cool, cool in this hot, hot weather. 

Hope your weeks are off to a good start. 

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This Week Happened~ Genealogy, Blue Sky, A Wicked Cold and Etsy

It’s Friday already. And the equinox. Another quarter done, a new one to start. Time keeps on a moving, and it’s sort of reminding me of that ride that was on playgrounds when I was kid. You know the one; the big round platform with metal handles all about it. A group of three or more kids would get that thing going around and around so fast our scrawny legs could barely keep up with the running. Then, we’d gauge it just right, jump on, and hold on for our lives. I remember the feeling so well, fighting against all of that centrifugal force wanting to do other things to my body. I freaking loved that playground ride. And I never got hurt on it. I remember seeing other kids bail so hard or get their feet tripped up as they jumped on or off. I would have a heart attack if I saw my kids on one of those now. OMG.

Anyway, in a week where about 1.5 of the 30 things I’d hoped to accomplish got done, I’m trying to figure out how to keep my adult self on the ride for longer stretches of time and with more focus. My response to centrifugal force is not what it once was. I sure do get knocked down by distractions and colds more than I used to. But, the distractions! Oh man. I’m very interested in genealogy. In particular my own family’s ancestral history, and I spent hours and hours sifting through microfilm at the library earlier this week. When I asked to use their microfilm viewing machine, the guy at the desk looked at me kind of funny and said sure, after he dusted it off! I was basically wedged between a big machine and a filing cabinet where I found the death certificate of my paternal 3rd great-grandfather, who emigrated from Ireland via Liverpool likely sometime around 1844. He had a rough end of his life and to see it all written out on this death certificate from 1874, well… it was powerful. It was like breathing life back into a story that I’ll bet was rarely, if ever, told. I think that’s why I love genealogy so much. When you find someone from way back, who is so long forgotten in the living family memory, it’s like you bring them new life. They aren’t forgotten anymore.

After a couple of days of work, I was hanging around outside after a run and saw a whole bunch of butterflies flittering by high up in the sky. I tried to get a picture but they were too quick! So, I just stared at the blue and thought about all of those folks that came before me. It was pretty fun.

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Then I got a wicked bad cold.

There is a new item up on Etsy. You may remember her if you are reader of this blog on a regular basis. Realta the Owl is available. With all of the owls I make, I need to be able to let them go, character and all. I do hope she goes with Sherman, though. They do love one another.

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I’ve also signed on to be a vendor at the Champlain Valley Union High School Craft Fair in November, which I am really excited about. I’ve got a lot of making to do, so here’s to staying on that ride!

Hope you have a great weekend, wherever you are.

 

 

 

 


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A Weekend of Inspiration

The air was so warm and soft today. The sounds of late summer drifted through windows and around me as I meandered my way through a day filled with puttering, putting away and listening to children play, laugh and negotiate. Not much got done in the way of handwork other than knitting a few more rows onto my sweater. Slow and steady wins the race, I hope? 

I looked outside as I folded laundry and saw this meeting of mushrooms. How had I not seen them before? Or did they just appear suddenly, a faerie ring?


Later, my daughter and her friends showed me this epic spider! 


Soon, she had a bee in her web. Gruesome and awe inspiring. Deep respect to Shelob’s kin. 

At the start of the weekend a friend had sharp eyes on a mid-afternoon walk. Purple fungus and slithering corn snake offered their colors as inspiration. 

All of these moments and more make for a sweet entry into busy work and school week. 

Hope you had a good weekend. 


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Two-Cents Tuesday

I’m a lucky person, having friends and family who share beautiful things with me when they come across them because they think I’d like them too. That’s a lovely thing that people do. 

My buddy John just introduced me, via Vimeo, to Monica Hofstadter of Doucement. Let this lovely video swirl around you for a while. It captures so much beauty and loveliness and gentleness in the midst of super lush arm knitting set to lilting dream music. What a joy! 

That’s all I got today! I wanted to share this with you, because I thought you’d like it. 


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Sending Love to Florida

It’s hard to write about all of my fibery things when my fretting buttons are fully engaged. I had the great good fortune of living in Florida for ten years, through high school and college. I love so much about that state; many of my lifelong relationships began in Florida and many of my anam cara counterparts still reside there.

When I lived there, we were all set to evacuate due to some big storm that came through. I don’t remember which one. We ended up, at the last minute, not needing to, and it was then I understood why people say, “forget it”, and stay put when these things happen. It’s one big pain in the ass packing up kids, food, belongings, pets and then just leaving. Living in a place on stilts, I also remember when the water from the bayou came up so high that fish swam under our house. That’s something special for a kid from New Jersey!

After hurricane Charley in 2004, the place I called home was forever changed and life altered significantly after that for my family. These storms, their power… well, you don’t need me to tell you… Look what Irma just did to the Caribbean islands, not to mention the terrible flooding in South Asia in the last month.  All over the world, people have been brought to their knees by water, by earthquake shaking, by heat, by fire. When I hear from friends about how they are managing and when I watch the news, I cannot help but think about the lengths we go to in order to stay here, on this wild planet. And the risks we take. It takes my breath away.

Anyway, I’m sending love to Florida. I love your animals, your beaches, your mangroves and bayous, your food and sun and strange characters and your heat. I love the love people have for all of those things, and I hope you all make it through okay. And, if this storm takes a last minute turn and goes back out to sea and you wonder what all the fuss was about, let that go.

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Two-Cents Tuesdays

Hello, Dear Readers… 

I wanted to share with you some things I’ve loved reading lately in case you didn’t know about them. 

1. Mrs. Craft of the great blog Craft and Other Crazy Plans. I read this blog post of hers and loved it! The whole breakdown of specific goals really resonates with me and you can see the imprint at the end of my own last blog post. Thanks, Mrs. Craft! 

2.  If you’re into Celtic spirituality and myth, check this blog out: tadhgtalks. I love reading his thoughts on nature, our relationship to it, and life in general. It’s lovely. 

3. And this book~ I was recently lent this book and I circled around it for a time, waiting for some internal green light to appear. It did, and it’s beautiful, honest, crushing, heartbreaking and how it should be. There’s not one right way to move through grief and Ann Hood makes that perfectly fine. Not unlike Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking, this author captures the need people have to retell the story, to put things in order in a time sequence, because time and order disappear for a while when death happens. It all gets shocking when you think about everything that happens in such an agonizing few days. I’m almost finished with it and I’m grateful to the lovely woman who lent it to me. 

Two nail-biters I just finished are: The Road, by Cormac McCarthy and In The Dark, Dark Wood, by Ruth Ware. Total stress bombs but very good in their own ways. 
What are your go-to blogs/websites/books/stations? I’m a bit bookwormy lately and welcome recommendations! 


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Monday’s Musings~ Let’s Not Forget How Human We Are

It’s been a bit, but not for lack of anything to say. Since this is just a post for musings I thought I’d share a couple of little bits of what’s been rumbling on in my brain lately.

First this:

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We’ve been reading Lord of the Rings to our daughter at night and very often I find passages to be absolutely relevant to life now. I wonder how it’s all going to go for us. Will we as a human race wake up and see nature, Nature, for what it is? An ever present guide, evidence of creation itself? Will we look consistently beyond our borders and see how much we are all connected by the desire to live, to love and to survive? Us humans would do well to read our old legends and to try to gather up the living wisdom in our stories. Courage, the Hero’s Journey, making choices on all of these crossroads we face… we need all of the guidance and wisdom we can hold.

Managing existential anxiety is supported by weaving. I’ve got three circular weaving projects going right now and have finally started the weaving a bag on a box project I’ve been wanting to try for months now! I love all that Sarah Swett puts out and think this is super clever and fun. I’ll show you how it turns out when it’s all done.

 

I’ve been reading a lot about the Druids and early Celtic Christianity lately as part of a rather epic ancestry research binge I’ve been on for a while. I’m early in my studying, but I’ll tell you what, the Celts seemed pretty cool. They, even in their transition into Christianity, didn’t push their religious ideas on other people expecting them to drop what they already believed in. What I’ve read so far anyway, is that they deeply abided by their love and devotion to nature and saw god in their every day activities. Their connection to their own spirituality was not separate from nature and from other people but was rather wholly connected to it. I love this quote, which is offered in the book The Celtic Way, by Ian Bradley,

“As Noel O’Donoghue has eloquently observed, the Celts were deeply conscious of rhythm:

the rhythms of human life and the body’s ages and changes, the rhythms of the seasons, of work such as weaving and milking, of reaping with hook or scythe, of threshing the corn, of men rowing together, of women walking together. All these rhythms, and many others, were vocalised in song and what was called port beul or voice music

“The Celts sang as they worked, as they played and as they prayed. In Gaelic there is no word for music that is not sung while in Welsh the word for poetry and music is the same…” (pgs. 90-91).

Why does this all come to mind right now? I guess because in working with wool and with fibers, I am consistently reminded that we are at all times connected to what is ancient, what is searching, seeking and surviving, and I long ever more to stay connected to that reality. I think it gives perspective and reminds us that we are a migrating and growing species and that we have survived because of a willingness to change and adapt, as well as remain connected to what is completely human about us.

Look at this cool video of women waulking wool and singing as they work.

Here’s a little bit of my own weaving from a recent class I took at a wonderful place called Mad River Woolery in Waitsfield, Vermont. I learned some cool weaving techniques on an Ashford rigid heddle loom. I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of my new Schacht rigid heddle loom… oh my!

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Okay… so much more to say but I’ll spread it out! I finished my very green sweater which I’ll tell you all about on Friday (St. Patrick’s Day!), I’ve made friends with some sock puppets, and spring and summer plans are underway for gardens, wool fun and spinning yarn.

I hope you are all well,

Bradie