I felt guilty for a while that apart from work (where I write all the time), and the occasional other random thing, I haven't been writing much.
I haven't had anything published in ages - because I haven't been writing short fiction and submitting.
I had guilt about that, anxiety. Of my "generation," in terms of progress I've lagged behind. Lots of people I was in the OWW with and am still friends with have full fledged, successful careers, now.
And I knit, and make video games, and dye yarn.
OK, but look.
That slideshow is of my first historical process dye lot, or natural dye lot. It's madder, mordanted with alum. It was a huge success and now I'm reading up on lichen dyeing and plan to go collect some lichen this weekend and do an ammonia extract of the plants and see if I can't get some decent colors. See what dyes my local landscape offers up.
It's wonderful, and amazing, and I am so content with it.
I can walk in the woods, and collect some lichen - using environmentally responsible methods, cooperatively with my environment and not as a selfish parasite - and then dye beautiful yarn that people will enjoy and make things with.
That is such a pleasurable process.
Then there's the yarn club.
Here's my process for May's colorway, called Blodeuwedd:
Fourteen skeins. I had thought I would dye four at a time to make it go faster, holding two in each hand and doing my kettle variegation that way, but a) the yarn gets very, very heavy and it's exhausting and b) I wasn't getting good quality. So I just did two at a time, which is my usual. As it turns out, I was able to do an efficient system and got through the entire dye lot in a couple of hours. The only thing that took time was the setting, but that's just the time it's on the stove simmering. I don't actually have to be there.
The results were amazing, and it seems like everyone who received the package is thrilled.
In the package was the yarn, some stitch markers in a flower theme (for the Blodeuwedd folktale), some scattered cloth flowers, the folktale and some art done by Taylor Fisher specifically for the story.
These are her illustrations.
They are amazing. She is amazing. And collaborating with her was fantastic.
I didn't just print up a story, I redacted a translation I liked, doing a bit of editing but keeping a good deal of the original text. I told the story more from Blodeuwedd's point of view, and used Taylor's art as inspiration.
The entire package was a creative process, start to finish, and I found it so satisfying. I'm happy everyone is enjoying it, and right about now any doubts I've had about not publishing these days? Have kind of faded.
This is good work, and being able to combine fiber and fiber arts and stories and collaborate with people is wonderful. It's paying for itself, and makes me and others happy.
Insofar as being a working artist goes?
I've decided that's kind of the point.
So there you are.