New Year’s Eve…I love Eve’s. They feel like that timeless space of hovering right before warp speed takes over. The eve of something begs for preparation, anticipation, reflection… a mindfulness about the next day and all that it will usher in. Christmas Eve feels like that, and so does New Year’s Eve.
The living room Christmas tree, my studio French tree, and all other decorations are down, packed away carefully and the house feels spacious and clear, ready for a New Year. I’m ready too! And excited for what 2017 might have in store. I know, full well, there will be challenges and perhaps even downright difficulties, sad and painful events. But I also know that making will be a huge part of the year ahead, just as it has been this past year and for so many years of my life. It is what carries me, strengthens me, gives me joy. Creativity is the lens through which I see my life for the beauty that it is. Making things, be it drawings or paintings, knitted or crocheted items and now spinning wool and weaving wall-hangings, sustains me through thick and thin, in plenty and in want. As I make with my hands, it’s as if I’m holding a lifeline, grounding my feet to what is true, good and beautiful. Creativity allows me to take flights of fancy as it tethers and roots me to home and hearth. Living Artfully allows me to see beauty, as well as create it, in everyday, humble circumstances. I need this Artful way of living and I’m thrilled to continue in the New Year!
This week between Christmas and New Year’s I’ve been spending some time pondering. Pondering and writing go hand-in-hand for me and I’ve logged numerous pages as I’ve tried to make sense of and sort through what felt like a jumble of clutter in my creative life. 2016 seemed to end with way too many irons in the fire, an explosion of too many directions and not enough time or energy to really do any of them well. As I’ve left a pen’s worth of ink on the page, a sorting has occurred. As I’ve pondered the year ahead, a couple of words stand out to me:
SLOW and SIMPLIFY
Both verbs, they go together well, one nourishing the other. In simplifying my life, it is apt to slow me down a bit. As I slow my pace, things will need to simplify naturally. Much of this is challenging me to indeed clear out a few things. But mostly it’s a call to live present in each moment as if it is the only moment, and breathe into it, slowing and simplifying my expectation of accomplishment. This past year I began working on this in my day to day life. I did not master it (I wonder if that’s even possible) and therefore will continue the work of slowing and simplifying, even if it is just one small thing at a time.
The shakedown of all this pondering has left me with a simpler way of seeing all that I do as a creative person. My work as a knit and crochet teacher, the video podcasts, blogging in numerous places, as well as pattern writing, will all continue but on a lessened scale. My hope is that this will allow me to spend less time on a computer and more time with a sketchbook or fiber in my hands. I’m increasingly drawn to spinning and weaving, which hold in themselves this call to slow down and simplify. It amazes me how I’m drawn to certain kinds of craft which hold an inherent way of living with them. In this, in spending time making, I am more in touch with the beauty around me and I learn how to live my everyday life with grace and wonder.
I do have new ideas I’d like to see unfold in the New Year. But my gut tells me it isn’t now. Later. Perhaps even in the next year. For now, SLOW and SIMPLE is the way forward, relishing life, making with my hands, reminding myself and others that it isn’t about how MUCH you make, but HOW you make it…slow, gentle, and savored.
All of this talk of SLOW and SIMPLIFY may seem so pie-in-the-sky! Even I myself, have a little scoffer sitting on my shoulder as I type: “Ha! This is gonna last you maybe the next hour, Jen, but wait ’til warp speed hits!” But to this I say that it’s not necessarily about being less busy. Life is full and seems to grow busier with each year. But this is more about a state of mind, a way of being in the midst of the busy-ness. Certainly I will need to pull back on what I say yes to. But I am committed to experiencing all of life with the same attention and slowness I give to drawing, or spinning, the same focus that’s needed for weaving and knitting. To grow in this capacity will be lovely. Yet even in the slowing and simplifying is a need to go slowly with it, simplifying the steps.
It all boils down to this: I plan on pulling off the daily path to sit each day and ponder. To draw the landscape around me. To knit the beauty into my heart. To weave wonder and grace into my life and offer it to others. I hope you’ll continue to walk with me here. Let’s savor together the work of our hands and the joy it brings us! Let’s encourage each other to go SLOW, to SIMPLIFY our distracted lives, and to live Artfully each day.
12 thoughts on “Roadside Word Picking”
My wish for you in 2017 is All Good Things. I am always inspired by your example of exploration into your creative core, and blessed by your willingness to share the adventure. Thank you for all you do.
So so good to hear from you Phyllis! I am blessed by your wish for me! I do hope all is well with you and your family and that your hands continue to make things, sketch and draw. Many blessings to you in the New Year as well! Your friend, Jennifer.
” it’s not necessarily about being less busy. Life is full and seems to grow busier with each year. But this is more about a state of mind, a way of being in the midst of the busy-ness.” You nailed it – the key to adopting and living a life of “slow and simple”. Thanks once again for sharing you thoughts on this topic, which resonates deeply with me.
Here’s wishing you a New Year that is wonderful beyond your imagination, a New Year that’s full of “making” and overflowing with deep satisfaction as you journey on the path of “slow and simple”.
P.S. Would you consider a podcast/tutorial on spinning using one of your handheld spindles?
You are so kind! Thank you Cheryl, for your wishes for me for 2017! And I will do my best to demo or at least talk about the spinning with a drop spindle on my next podcast. :)) Have a Happy and Blessed New Year! -Jennifer
Relish and Savor all the good in my life!!
Indeed! That includes YOU! xoxo :))
Happy New Year… looking forward to more of your podcasts and seeing your lovely yarn art, and of course your delightful watercolors…
Thank you Elaine! A Happy New Year to you as well, and thank you for years of following my blogs and now podcasts. You are a dear! Here’s to a year of wonderful drawings and making! -Jennifer
I had to laugh and the pun not punned (unless I missed it) of “warp” speed. And, you being a weaver now. Your posts and your art are wonderful and I thank you for sharing with all of us! May you have a happy, bright, and very blessed new year!!
Oh my goodness Jill!!! I did not catch that at all!! And I LOVE it!! Warp speed….YES! My newfound inner weaver is just loving all the warp and weft and I’m grateful for you pointing it out and for your continued reading of my humble thoughts! A Happy and Blessed New Year to you and your family! -Jennifer
I cannot say enough about your inspiring art, your podcast and now reading your blog. If your podcast lasted 2 hours I would not be bored but glow even brighter at the end. Thank you Jennifer for sharing your artful life. It is the very best podcast. You refoect the beauty life holds
What a kind and dear comment you have given me Pamela! I truly appreciate this. I am so very glad that the video podcast is offering a bit of “glowing” to you! May you continue to find joy in your creative journey! Happy creating! -Jennifer