I am an avid learner.
Last Thanksgiving I was taught to spin yarn out of carded wool. For hours at a time I watched my teacher spin, mesmerized by the unbroken line she produced out of what looked like a cloud, with such ease and grace.
I am lucky. My teacher is a renowned tapestry weaver, and a powerhouse of enthusiasm when it comes to all things wool: spinning, weaving, knitting, drawing and writing about wool and spinning and weaving and knitting, organizing workshops and group meetings around spinning and weaving and knitting, and other stuff I’m sure I am yet to discover about the complex world of fiber. (Her name is Sarah Swett. Her website is http://www.afieldguidetoneedlework.com/)
As my hands began to understand the fluid dance that makes yarn from sheep hair, my mind remained equally enthralled by the unending process of pull and twist, a line forming like a tiny tornado, tugging on my fingertips as the twist gathers, telling me when I need to give it more wool.
A line like the pathway of thought, a culling and rearranging of signals until its shape becomes clear enough to be spoken. All wool has the potential to become yarn, just like all activity in the mind has the potential to become physical in some way. All that’s needed is the impulse of twist, the what-if, a sideways glance at an old horse, a different kind of light.
I am trained to see line everywhere, and I don’t mind. It’s a funny way of seeing the world, in potential compositions, awed by the natural quality of line in tree branches, grasping at colors half remembered from dreams. So spinning is like making line, blank line, different thickness line, different spin, softness, color, line, line that can be stored away in neat little balls and bundles until the time comes that I want to add line into this world, add line to line and make patches of color exist that weren’t there before.
I feel a greed that can only be compared to avarice when it comes to acquiring more fluff to make more line. I want more. It is odd but it is also so strong that I’ve become curious to see where it will lead. In less poetic terms, and on a shallower level, I believe this might be categorized as an addiction, but since I’ve placed it in the context of my other work it can only be art. Ha.