Thursday, 12 November 2015

Inspiration in Italy

I'm on my way home from three glorious weeks in Italy: Tuscany to be more precise. Pat and I know Italy a bit from previous travels. This time we decided to begin and end in Florence, and stay in two good locations for walking in the countryside while still being able to enjoy town life. We never rent a car, we just take busses and trains. And we walk ...

Staying for a week or longer in a rented flat is perfect for us. Instead of moving on just after we figure out the medieval street plan, the different venues that sell bus tickets for different locations, or whatever other delightful little quirk Italy has to throw at us, we lived in each town for longer and really felt part of it. Of course, we stood out as tourists, but we couldn't beat the daily rhythm we created of long walks and good food.

I embarked on this adventure with the hopes of bringing home some new ideas for my weaving, possibly a new collection inspired by what I saw and felt in Italy. Here are some of the ideas I have to develop. They're not necessarily good photos, but they each give me some inspiration to consider and maybe apply later.

Ciao, Italia - arrivederci e grazie!

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Passion and Piñatas

I’m writing this blog because I have a bit of a problem with the word “passion” and I’m ready to talk about it.

Passion is regarded as some mysterious thing that we are nevertheless expected to find and use to guide our lives. We are told that it’s there for each of us, we just have to find it.  And then it’s all passion this, passion that.

I’ve always cringed at the word because I think it’s misleading. The whole discussion about passion expects each of us to know our passion and take it from there. As if we wake up one morning and declare our passion, then single-handedly pursue it and follow our destined life path.

And if you can’t find your passion, then it implies you cannot face such a basic aspect of life and truly know yourself. You must have a problem!

To me, all of this is like the blindfolded person hitting the piñata and hoping to strike it in exactly the right place the first time to receive its riches inside. There’s really no clear tactic involved, but you’ll eventually get your reward if you just bash away long enough without seeing or thinking much.

No, to me passion is not necessarily a distinct calling in life. It’s something you kind of like and feel an affinity for, and maybe you receive helpful encouragement when you begin, then you find yourself investing your time and energy in pursuing it. That feeds on itself in a wonderfully positive spiral, so that as you improve and feel more proficient, your passion grows.  Part of the passion is not necessarily the “what” but the “how.” And I suppose the “why.” The “where” and “when” don’t really matter as much.

The essence of passion is the day-to-day joy in just doing it. It’s not truly work, it’s more like play, even a privilege for each hour spent on it. But it does mean putting up with the problems and hurdles while keeping the joy in sight – whether it’s finishing a project that is fraught with stupid problems, or getting through all the business paperwork and administration for a deadline, or just continuing to reach a little goal no matter how tired you are.

A big part of my passion for weaving is my individual approach to it. I own it, it’s mine. (PS Same goes for blogs!) I truly believe that if you’re good at something because you’ve invested a lot of heart and soul, then you’ll be happy with your passion. You’ve created it and crafted it, so it’s yours. That’s the beauty of passion: it is so individual.

I also find that there’s no knowing where a passion will take you. You can’t plan for much, which is fine with me especially at this stage in my life. There’s plenty of room for spontaneity, surprises, being open to others’ ideas and suggestions, and in general just hanging on for the wild and wonderful ride.

Passion also involves a lot of learning, and learning is exciting and makes me feel really alive. I’m learning tons about my weaving business, from new designs and weave structures, to interpreting nature in different ways, to becoming more comfortable with selling my products and feeling less shy and inhibited.

My passion now in my life is weaving, but I didn’t find that from sitting around naval-gazing or doing any of this on my own. I’ve actually had a lot of individual encouragement from people who mean a lot to me (thank you all), and I’ve taken pride in a lot of what I’ve created (but not all). I’m learning lots and I feel very alive, with too many ideas to pursue in the rest of whatever the length of the lifetime I’ll be granted.

Those are my thoughts on passion …  any others out there?