fallow in the flood plain

Port MeadowJanuary’s often a fallow time for me, this year doubly so as the workshop has been flooded, so that the water has been off more than on. Maybe like a flood plain, the fallow time (the enriching silt, the lack of frost-damage) will help me be more creative later in the year. The image, by the way, is Port Meadow, near Oxford. There’s always pressure to build on it, make it more productive, something I feel too as a maker. Why don’t I just use moulds or whatever, be more like a factory, naximise output, reduce prices?

WildMindLuckily gurus like Natalie Goldberg remind us that ‘lolling about’ – more fashionably, or optimistically, called ‘mindful reflection’ – is key to the creative process – something I wrote about in this earlier post: the importance of cork lining. For me, knitting is a way to mindful reflection. I find the colour and feeling of the wool wonderfully soothing.
     
Tibetan Yak from Sharp Work So, when in my search for Universal Stopcock Keys (to turn off the water at source) in the hardware shops of South London, I passed Sharp Works, a wonderful knitting/sewing shop in Herne Hill, I went in, ‘just to look’. It’s one of the pleasures of being self employed – shops are open when you pass them! And in the shop, I saw the perfect greeny-yellow colour in Pure Yak: something that’s been a mild obsession of mine since I read “The Last Grain Race”, by Eric Newby. About to sail to Australia in 1939, he tries to buy a caribou skin sleeping bag, settling for a camel hair one as second-best. In my mind, this has become a Yak bag – a conflation of the hairiness of caribou and the clour of camel, perhaps? But an object of rare warmth, in any case.
 
Fair Isle hatFair Isle hatI usually knit with wool: not pure or new, often unravelled and re-dyed. Upcycled. This fair Isle hat is about 60% made from an unravelled jumper – an 80s scene of ducks on a pond. Better as Fair Isle I think.

purple neckwarmerI’ve also had success over-dyeing wool that was maybe a bit too bright, as in this purple neckwarmer. Dark wool colours, like glazes, are hard to photograph well – it’s much richer, softer, more interesting in the flesh.

Do you mind having wool-talk instead of ceramics-talk? Or as well as? The thinking in the ceramics establishment – which I reflect in my website – is that focus, consistency, sigle-mindedness is a sign of true commitment and artistry. Luckily that establisment never reads blogs, so I though I’d check – what do you all prefer?

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6 responses to “fallow in the flood plain

  1. Love it. You can ruminate on any subject as far as I am concerned – like your segue from flooding to knitting to philosophy. Great. And thank you for causing me to learn how to spell segue….not that I pronounce it correctly!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love having the variety of topics in your blog Carys, you introduce us to connections we didn’t know we neede to have, but do now. I’m not a knitter but the processes and ideas in any craft are always fascinating to hear about.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Carys,
    I do not comment very often but that is not to say I do not love getting your varied blogs and appreciate them. lovely to hear from you and that you are going on well – very well, brilliant, Chris x

    Like

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