'Twas the month before Christmas . . .

Things have been busy this year!  One of the big events was a visit this past August from my good friend, Anne Laure Camilleri, who came all the way from Paris to visit!  She is a photojournalist who interviewed me by phone a while back for a feature in Selvedge Magazine.  Hopefully we will get to see that soon!   She and I drove all over Minnesota meeting other good friends who are textile artists.  More on that adventure later!  Anne is the photographer of the pictures on my website and in this post.  A huge THANK YOU, Anne!!

Now 'tis the holiday season and you can have a preview of the 100% linen textiles I wove during the year.  The textiles shown are just a few of the many that came off the loom these past few months. and will be at the show at the American Swedish Institute this weekend!.

We will be at the American Swedish Institute for their Julmarknad Festival this coming weekend!!

December 3rd from 10 am - 5 pm

December 4th from 12 noon - 5 pm

For more information visit:  http://www.asimn.org/programs-education/events/julmarknad-2016-asis-christmas-market-festival  

Summer Studio

 

At my loom

 
 

Fresh off the loom, towel upon towel rolling  down the grassy hill.

 

These were Bath Towels woven for a large order from California!

 

Photo Credit:  Anne Laure Camilleri

 

I tried. I really, really tried!

Earlier I wrote about being selected as a possible contestant in the UPS Salute to Small Business Event this evening. 

When they contacted me they said that I was “selected”.  I had gotten my hair trimmed especially for this event.  I had needed something dressy to wear since wearing my usual workout togs that I wear for weaving probably wouldn't cut it on-stage, so I found a beautiful true blue, Eileen Fisher cashmere sweater on sale.  It will serve me as my dress up sweater for years to come!  I had worked for a week to get my 3 minute 'pitch' just right.  I had pictures printed up to illustrate my points.  I had everything timed down to the second.  And I had told lots of people.

But . . .  I never made it to the event.  Or I should say, I made it to the event, saw people going into the Minneapolis Event Center, and then couldn't stop myself from accelerating away from the curb as fast as my Prius would take me.

Totally unforgiveable and so unprofessional, I can't believe that I just ran.  But I did   Part of me thought I wouldn’t be missed because the Facebook ad announcing the event indicated that you could apply online or even just show up at the event and get selected then.  So, I thought that a quick replacement would step forward out of the 100’s that probably applied online, or who just showed up at the event to see if they could present their idea .  I rationalized this to myself ad nauseam while watching people walk into the Center before I bolted.  Plus, I thought that there are so many sharp people out there with some really sexy ideas.  What judges in their right minds would want to back someone who wants to use the prize money to buy looms.  I envisioned people booing me, and heckling me.  I imagined 4 Donald Trumps sitting as the judges, and attacking me verbally for being a woman and for being an idiot.

Okay, I have a really good imagination.  But . . . I was so terribly nervous my voice came out really tight when I was practicing.  My heartbeat felt like a hammer, my ears were ringing, my head ached, my legs felt wobbly, my shoulder muscles were tight as violin strings, and my stomach . . . well, I won’t get into that.  This is all while I was still in my studio practicing.  I kept saying to myself, “Why did I say I would do this?!  What have I gotten myself into?!”  I just could NOT relax.  I had to get up in front of 200 people and 4 judges who are being critical of every movement and eye blink I was going to make.

In my defense I have to mention that while I was getting my presentation photos reproduced at . . . Ahem . . . UPS, I mentioned what the photos were for, and they were all sort of impressed in an odd sort of way . . . or maybe it was that they were viewing me as a lamb going to slaughter, because one of the clerks said, “Oh yeah!  The Small Business Salute!  Yeah!  It’s going to be like “Shark Tank”.  Well, that certainly helped me!

I have a REALLY difficult time talking about facts and serious stuff in front of people.  I am beginning to realize that I am a ‘seriously impaired introvert’.  I can’t help this, and it really isn’t a bad thing.  Introverts are the people who go off by themselves and solve the tough problems, as Susan Cain (another serious introvert!) writes in her book about introversion, “Quiet”.  Introverts shouldn’t be expected to be loud and boisterous and want to jump up in front of a couple hundred people and feel comfortable talking about their passion, just as extroverts shouldn’t be expected to read books all day and enjoy the solitude.

In days gone by I used to be able to handle getting up in front of people and talking to groups, but I think that in raising kids, one of whom is special needs, and as a mother needing to be extra sensitive to both of my children’s needs, my brain has shifted and gotten even more sensitive to picking up on the vibes of others.  So a crowd of people with revved up feelings is not a comfortable place for me to be, much less standing up in front of them while they judge me.

The crummy part of this whole thing is that I should have known this about myself!!  I DID know this about myself.  But my passion is so intense, and that carrot they were dangling was pretty big and tempting.  I fell for the temptation and now I have to confess it in front of everyone.  This frankly is just as bad as failing miserably in front of 200 people and 4 Donald Trump judges.

I suppose I will be banned from all UPS stores from now on.

Is this the future of Väva! Veve!?

I have been very fortunate to have come across 3 very pivotal elements involving the future of Väva! Veve!  The first one is that, after searching for over 2 years, through all my contacts of weavers and friends, through the internet sites of used weaving equipment, through contacting various weaving guilds across the country, and even working with the manufacturer in negotiating a possible purchase of used equipment, I finally received an email from a thoughtful weaver who knew of a group of AVL IDL looms being sold.  A GROUP of them!!!  The pricing on them is equal to 1 new AVL IDL!!  The owner will not break up the lot of 5, so I either need to find the funds to purchase all 5, or find a couple of weavers who want to buy one.  Also in the interest of raising money for these looms, this evening I am to be one of four contestants on a show in Minneapolis, MN being sponsored by UPS in their "Salute to Small Business".   I will have 3 minutes to pitch my business in front of four judges and 200 people in the audience, telling how I could use the $5,000 in my business.  My hands are sweating even now!  Send powerful good thoughts my way tomorrow night!!

The second pivotal element involving the future of Väva! Veve! was my discovery of Rebecca Burgess, founder of Fibershed.com.  It all began when I resumed my internet search of flax, or even better, linen yarn which I hoped to find somewhere in the western hemisphere.  My concern for our environment had increased as the years had passed, and the thought that perhaps I could find a local source for linen kept me looking, hoping.  When I came across Fibershed.com, the thought that came immediately to mind was that this must be a community of fiber people all under one roof, or shed as the case may be.  But it turned out to be even better.  In talking with Rebecca, I found out about her philosophy and was amazed at how much it resonated with me.  She felt that like a watershed, fiber should have the same impact on its region.  I learned that Fibershed is about getting to know and work with your neighbor, it is about local community and economy, it is about growing, sourcing, fabricating, and consuming goods made locally, sustainably.  It is about living more while consuming less.  I suddenly felt like I could make a difference in our environment by doing something that I loved to do!  I could make use of my skill set to weave locally grown fiber for local farmers and growers, making it available to local artisans, designers and craftspeople, and make use of what we have right here in Minnesota.

Then the third element landed in my lap.  For many years I have been looking at real estate, trying to find that perfect place to live.  I had started out looking at different homes, but found them lacking in one thing or another.  My search morphed and I was looking at farms, with a barn where we could set up a wood shop, a weaving studio, a pottery room, a welding area, and a place to draw, paint, and write, and whatever other interests we wanted to explore.  But from the beginning, each time I found something I would be faced with resistance.  It was too far to drive to work, it was too expensive, it wasn’t big enough, it was too big, it wasn’t close enough to friends, family, shops . . . well, you get the idea . . until I found the exactly perfect building.  An old mid-century building used as a creamery, built on the shores of the great Mississippi.  It is a well-built 6,500 square foot brick building with lots of huge windows looking out across the water, into the beautiful sunsets.  It also has a residence for the owner, a penthouse, if you will, sitting above the 2 story industrial space where the looms would sit.  An unbelievable find!  Now I just need to make it happen!  All funding offers will be considered, all donations accepted!