What 2020 has taught me so far…

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It was New Year’s Eve, 2019. George and I attended a small but extremely lively Scottish Hogmanay – a New Year’s Eve celebration that was steeped in Scottish tradition including Scotch, haggis, and bagpipes. I was over the moon. Culture, my hot husband, and me in a sparkly dress. I had no complaints about how I was heading into the new year. As we left the celebration, the host insisted that we take home heaping plates of food as there was more than the guests could eat that night. We happily obliged. You don’t have to tell me twice to take more haggis! We drove home with laps full of delicious Scottish treats and when we got home, tucked our newly engaged, full-bellied selves into bed. The next morning, January 1, 2020 we attempted to start our morning with coffee but upon entering the kitchen, we found empty plates and crumbs all over the floor. Those Scottish treats had been forgotten on the counter overnight and the dog we were taking care of over the holidays had relived us of our leftovers. That right there, folks was the first clue about how 2020 was going to go. 

The year is just past the half way mark and it’s been one of the most dramatic, extreme years of all our lives. However, despite the challenges and hardships, I’ve learned more in the past seven months than I do in the average year. I want to use this opportunity to look at some of this year’s events and experiences and try and shift perspective on whathas taken place and dare I say, how I’ve benefitted (even from the worst things). I have to believe that given the relative nature of this existence that we can’t have good without bad, that we can’t have light without dark so that must mean that at times when there is difficulty, there is also opportunity. I don’t think it’s optional. I think it’s inevitable. 

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On February 11, George and I eloped on the frozen Yukon River. A very small number of our most loved family were there to witness this secret event. The day was damned cold; a balmy -15 degrees, and both my sons were in attendance as was one of George’s nieces and his cousin Doug (Cousin Duck) was his witness. Our dear friend, Kate White married us and our other wonderful friend, Erik Pinkerton photographed the whole thing. It was intimate and private – exactly what we wanted for our marriage ceremony.

So far, so good.

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February 18, we left for our honeymoon in Mexico. Flights were great, weather was perfect, food was yummy. George fished, I took a backstrap weaving class, we danced, swam, laughed, and explored. This year wasn’t looking so bad after all.

March 9 we were home from our honeymoon; tanned, relaxed and happy newlyweds. Five days later, the Yukon Territory shut down in response to Covid-19. We were in shock – like the rest of the world. Suddenly, we were working from home, my business had come to a screeching halt (and my income along with it) and George was trying to learn the ropes in a brand new job. We had to move, we were stressed, and our futures were very uncertain.

I allowed my scared, stressed self to freak out for about two weeks. That involved eating my feelings (so much chocolate), drinking a decent amount of wine, not so much sleep, too much news and researching various mental health diagnoses with the help of Dr.Google. I refer to this phase as “circling the drain”. I was positive that my life was over. I had no optimism for the future of my business and was terrified about my financial situation. I was feeling very sorry for myself. Powerless and afraid.

With the help of an incredible therapist who I’ve been seeing for years, I came up with a new plan – one that yanked me out of my victim thinking and back into my usual state of achieving goals and making things happen.

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In this new shift of perspective, I decided to undertake a massive PR campaign. One that put my jewelry in front of the editors of magazines like Vogue, In Style, Elle, and so many others. I wasn’t going to stop there, either. I set out to work with bloggers, tv shows, and celebrities. This project is still underway and I have no guarantee of the results but I know that having the goals and the to-do list that come with those goals has not only kept me occupied but motivated, inspired, and excited. Opportunities have been coming at me left and right and I can’t help but see the connection to my shift in thinking. If I were still sitting at home, feeling sorry for myself I’m positive that’s where I’d stay. Instead, I chose to reclaim my power in this bizarre and complicated time and still pursue the things that are important to me.

Of course I won’t pretend that I don’t have moments of uncertainty or insecurity. I DO ask myself “who do you think you are to go after this” but when I think about the loved ones who’ve left us this year and before that, I’m sure they’d tell me to go after what I want because I deserve to achieve my goals. We don’t know how much time we get and it would be foolish and wasteful to spend our already-too-short time on this earth chickening out of doing the things that our hearts are telling us to do. There’s no time for insecurity or imposter syndrome.

So in short, 2020 has taught me that I have the power to chase my dreams. I deserve to be happy and the ability to achieve happiness is in all of us. I’ve learned that dogs love leftovers, especially stolen ones but that you can buy another haggis and cook it whenever you want. I learned that love is what it’s all about and that seeing your brand new husband catch a tarpon on the fly rod at sunset in Mexico is actually pretty magical, even after five straight days of fishing. I learned that trusting that the Universe is always conspiring in your favour is probably the best way to live each day and that even if the whole world shuts down because of a global pandemic that right now, I’m alive, I’m loved, and I’m healthy so I really have everything that I need.

I know we’re so far from being on the other side of Covid-19 but I invite you to share something you’ve learned or how you’ve benefitted from your experiences during this time. What have you found in the ups and downs of the last seven months that has made your life better? I want to hear about it in the comments.

Our Company Values and What They Mean

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It’s imperative that a company or organization have the ability to identify their core values AND be able to speak to how they embody those values in the day-to-day operations of their organization. Because our businesses – both the V.Ægirsdóttir© brand and the Wild Yukon Furs© brands are values-driven, our company values are easy to identify and easy to explain. Every part of how our businesses function integrates our values and this is something we’re very proud of. I can’t wait to share them with you.

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Before we do anything within our supply chain, we centre ourselves in a perspective of respect. We respect ourselves, our supply chain partners, the animals that give themselves to us, the ancestors who came before us, those who lead and guide us in this life, the generations of those who will come after us, the land upon which we work and play, the people whose traditional territory we are on as we work, learn, and play, the sky, water, and earth. When this is how we begin, we are ready to go forward.

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After we’ve tuned ourselves into all the ways we enact respect in ourselves as people and within our business interactions, we shift slightly to include humility. In trapping, humility looks like accepting each day as it comes and knowing that what’s meant for us will come to us. We don’t brag about the quantity of our fur harvest and we do not pose for photos with the animals. We don’t say negative things about the animals because we know that receiving the gift of their furs is one that can be lost as a consequence of such behaviour. We understand that an empty trap isn’t a loss, rather a lesson that is being given instead. We know we aren’t owed one single fur and that every one is something to appreciate.

In the design and retail context, humility is shown by welcoming every person equally and being open to learning as much as we teach. It is about making the space a safe one for questions to be asked and for answers to be given kindly and in a way that promotes openness. We have expertise but we don’t know everything. The awareness that we we have much to learn is what humility looks like in our store.

Also accepting that we will have missteps in life and in business is how we practice living with humility. But the willingness to learn from those missteps and trusting that we will be held up with kindness and compassion when we err is what fortifies the safety of that space.

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Gratitude and humility travel together. We are grateful for every component of our trapping life – the beautiful weather, our cozy cabin, our reliable snowmobiles and vehicles, every single animal that gives itself to us. Those are all things we’re grateful for. We’re also grateful to learn about animal relationships, habitats, food sources, the interrelatedness of those things and the mystery of how it all works together. We’re grateful for every lesson that comes to us in every imaginable way. We have gratitude for deriving our living from this practice. We’re grateful that we are in a position to share the story of what we do and why we do it with a global audience.

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Our ethics are rooted in culture; particularly George’s Tlingit culture but also in a culture that is built upon all of the other values in this list. We firmly believe that we have a responsibility to model the values we hold so dear by behaving in ways that are in alignment with those values. We don’t waste the fur and meat that we harvest, we give offering (usually tobacco) on the trap line, when we harvest birch, when we pick berries or medicines to name a few. We give a prayer of gratitude and humility, asking for safety and happiness during our time on the trap line and beyond. We hold each other accountable to the expectations of respect, humility, and gratitude. We also remind one another that the power of our words is enormous and that we have an obligation to use words with great care. We are deeply committed to the ethical standards that are established by the governments responsible for the fur harvest in addition to those established by the First Nation.

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At the end of the day, this is what it all comes down to. How the animals are harvested, how we interact with one another on the trapline or in the skinning shed. On a cold dark night and on a bright, clear afternoon. Rested or tired, hungry or fed. Every move we make originates in love, is fuelled by love, and continues because of love. Love for self, love for mankind, love for the animals, the land, creator, this life. All of it. It all is built upon love.

 

Because the V.Ægirsdóttir© brand and Wild Yukon Furs© are owned and operated by two humans who love each other, we are so deeply committed to ensuring that our companies reflect that. The late Travis Adams of NuWay Crushing in Whitehorse Yukon was said to be the kind of company president who wanted to build a team so strong that you couldn’t tell who the boss was. I’ll never forget this and it will become part of how we grow our companies. Travis’ example of leadership illustrates how you lead with respect, humility, gratitude, ethics, and love. We are so proud to do the work that we do and to have known leaders who’ve successfully achieved this kind of corporate culture. It’s proof that it’s possible. It’s the standard we’ve always held ourselves to and will continue to do so.

Comment below which one of these values resonates the most for you. Every one of us holds our own unique set of values, I’d love to know which ones we share!

Thank you for spending your time here today.  I really appreciate it.

 

 

 

In The Beginning

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One of the questions I get asked the most is about how I got started in my career. I love this story so much but it’s a little long so for today’s post, I want to tell you the part that takes place in my teen years.

I always knew from a young age that my dream job would include working with textiles. I’ve always loved and appreciated handcrafted textile goods, mostly because my home was full of them growing up. My brother and I had intricately hand stitched quilts on our beds, tapestries hung on the walls, many of the things we wore were hand sewn and embellished with hand embroidery, and our toys were made by hand. Each memory of cotton, wool, terry cloth, and a little nylon yarn (c’mon, it was the 70’s) is steeped in nostalgia so it’s no wonder I pursued a lifelong career that centred around these things (except the nylon yarn).

When I was a teenager, I remember walking up and down the aisles of the tiny fabric boutique that my mom worked in and just by looking at the finish of a fabric and sometimes by touching it, I was learning to identify what silk fabric looked and felt like, same with wool, wool and synthetic blends, linen, and so many more. It’s a skill that I cultivated at such a young age that has helped me deepen my love of and ability to recognize natural fibres (one that’s especially useful when thrifting!)

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I was 13 when I received my first sewing machine. It was a second hand Elna that my dad had bought from the wife of a friend for my birthday. I still have that machine, 30 years later. It needs a bit of work but it served me well for a very long time. It’s sewn everything from quilts and baby clothes to lingerie and wedding gowns. There’s absolutely nothing I haven’t tried to sew.

I was always impatient when it came to theory or slower paced instruction. I remember being very eager to get into the sewing or other hands-on making of whatever I was interested in. I definitely wasted a lot of material in my haste to cut and sew but I did also learn a lot about problem solving and innovating.

When I was in grade 10 or 11 Home Ec, my teacher, Linda Keetley shared a story of how she got her foot in the door of Vancouver’s fashion industry. Her detailed account of what she did and how she created opportunities for herself stuck with me. When I found myself living in Kitsilano, a neighbourhood in Greater Vancouver and looking for employment, I remembered her story. I also remembered reading about a pair of young women who made jewelry together in Vancouver. Their story appeared in a Canadian fashion magazine. Even today, I remember how I felt when I read their story. I knew that what they were doing, I’d be doing. I just had to figure out how. I pulled out the phone book because cell phones weren’t a thing yet and I certainly didn’t have a computer either. I looked up the name of their business, called them and asked for a meeting. They were surprised by my directness and confidence but they agreed to meet with me. When we met, I pitched my idea to them – that I work with them for a short time while we all decided if I was a good fit for their team. No commitment, no strings, just a trial. My hope was that they’d love me so much that they’d have no choice but to keep me on the team. However, as much as they liked what I was offering, it was unsolicited and they weren’t in a position to consider that yet. I later learned that their partnership was on the precipice of dissolving.

I tried again a few months later and was hired by the remaining partner, Kelli to design and fabricate plush silk velvet display fixtures for their retail clients. At that time, the two main clients were  Hills of Kerrisdale and Aritzia. I worked with Kelli to create fixtures that complimented her floral jewelry in a whimsical yet functional way. I loved every minute of it. As our business relationship grew, I was given numerous opportunities to work with her in the production end of creating her jewelry as well as the displays. I got to learn the basics of fabrication and design as well as how to source materials and the behind-the-scenes operations of a jewelry design business. We worked together, we shared meals and we traveled together. I can never properly thank her to teaching me so much and giving me a chance at such an early point in my career.

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Since then, I’ve worked in garment design including bespoke suits, wedding and prom gowns, and countless bridal party ensembles. I’ve worked with lingerie and sleepwear designers and I’ve mentored high school students who wanted to learn about fashion design. I’ve had other careers including portrait photography where I specialized in working with women at various stages of life including pregnancy and motherhood in all of its stages. Even my years of working in agriculture have granted me insights into market fluctuations and consumer behaviour that influence how I make decisions in my jewelry business.

When I look back and reflect on the extremely non-linear path my career has followed, I know that every step has brought me to this point, this place. I know that I’m exactly where I’m meant to be and couldn’t be more grateful. Not every day has been good. Not everything I’ve tried has gone as planned but every single thing has been a success, even the perceived failures. I’ve started and ended many businesses. But none have been failures. I’ve learned from each one and those lessons shaped who I am as an entrepreneur and designer. I couldn’t do my job without each one of those lessons. I know I’m going to persevere, achieve, and succeed because I’ll never stop asking for what I want and I’ll never stop trying.

I’d love to hear from you. Tell me in the comments what part of this little story was your favourite. Let me know if any of what I’ve shared has inspired or motivated you. I love hearing from my readers so please let me know that you’re reading along. Thanks for sharing your time with me. More stories next week.

A typical week – Summer Edition

It’s possible that my life couldn’t possibly get any cooler. I mean, I wake up early and enjoy amazing coffee with my husband in the cutest, coziest apartment ever and shop a thoughtfully curated closet in preparation for a day at work. And when I say work, I really mean in my tiny shop where I get to spend each day making stuff I love and folks come by all day every day to give me their money so they can keep a little bit of the stuff I make. That, dear human is what they call living the dream. 

So I thought it’d be fun to dive into what a typical week looks like for me in the shop. I currently work in the store Tuesday through Friday. I spend weekends with my husband either at our cabin, in the holiday trailer somewhere (Ideally fishing in Haines AK or doing amazing things with friends in Atlin BC or Smithers/Terrace BC). We recharge when we’re outdoors. Mondays, which are my favourite day of the week are when I do mountains of computer work (research and webinars, mostly).

This is what it looks like: 

Monday:

George departs for work shortly before 9 and my work day begins. Laptop is usually set up on the coffee table and I’m parked on the sofa with either a bottle of water or another coffee. The dog is always close by. If I’m watching a webinar, I’m definitely knitting but my notebook is right beside me for when I need to write things down. 

Tuesday-Friday:

I love Tuesdays almost as much as I love Mondays. Tuesday is my first day back in the store after the weekend and I get to MAKE THINGS! I try my best to leave my desk tidy on Fridays but sometimes, if I’m in the middle of a big project (weaving, knitting, sewing, etc.) I leave it out so that I can pick up right where I left off. But if I don’t have to finish up anything, I usually get to the shop with a renewed case of gotta-make-itis. Usually I’m making jewelry. This is a never-ending list for me. 

Wednesday is all about flow. I set the flow on Tuesday and keep on keepin’ on when it comes to Wednesdays. My desk is seldom bare mid-week. Reading glasses, fur bits, earring parts, paperwork. Definitely a water bottle and possibly a half-drunk coffee. One of the biggest occupational hazards for me is dust bunnies. I’m usually chasing them across the floor and more often than i care to admit, I’m also chasing them off my desk. Here’s a peek of me at my mid-week desk. No big projects currently underway. It’s possible I can pull off a decent before/after here. Cleanup sucks, the results are ALWAYS worth it. 

Thursdays aren’t so different from Wednesdays. Making, selling, socializing. While I recognize that this might sound dull, believe me when I say that I’m deeply happy and am my best self in this place doing these things. Grateful, joyous, grossly fulfilled. 

Fridays are when I try to wind down projects. I’m attempting to use my Fridays (AKA braindead days) for less mentally taxing work. This is often yarn spinning or creative writing like blog posts (which is only really doable and easy if I have a plan or topic ready to go. I’ve noticed that on Fridays, I know I won’t be in the shop for a few days and I’m a little sad. If I work late, it’s most likely to be on a Friday because I can’t bring myself to leave! I love it in here. I’ve created a space that is an extension of me. It’s what my insides look like (creatively speaking. def not my actual guts although, I wouldn’t be surprised if my guts were made of wool).

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Saturday/Sunday:

If we’re at the cabin (which is most of the time) we definitely sleep in. No alarm clocks, nowhere to be, just resting and restoring. Someone (George) lights the wood stove and when its warm and cozy, the coffee pot is usually perked and ready to pour. That’s about the time when I get out of the covers. I find a comfy spot near the fire with a coffee beside me and some kind of knitting project while I savour my caffeine. A big hot breakfast is usually the next step and an afternoon of myriad activities. This summer has been all about cabin upgrades – new windows, painting trim, etc. but also lots of foraging. The dog and i head up the road to one picking spot or another to gather Labrador Tea, arnica, rose petals, fireweed petals, berries, and sometimes birch bark but that’s better done when George is with me because chainsaws. 

We eat lots, we spend a ton of time outside and we often nap. It’s a life of luxury, for sure. In the evenings, we play cards – usually cribbage or sometimes dice like Moose Farkel. We laugh a lot and are reminded of all the things we have to be grateful for. The drive home is a few hours and it’s a nice, gradual return to the hustle and bustle, in time for another week of work. It’s a pattern we’re really happy to repeat. 

It’s not a fancy or glamorous life but holy hell, we’re happy. I hope you enjoyed getting a peek into a typical non-winter week. I’ll try and remember to update what this looks like in the winter because it’s SUPER different. I’d love to know what part of this week-in-the-life you enjoyed most or found to be the biggest surprise! Tell me in the comments below.

Finding Silver Linings

Friend, times are still very uncertain as we all know. But what I now know after the initial shock of what has happened to our world has eased slightly is that we must keep going. Yes, we’re adhering to new practices and change is definitely hard but we’ve really been given a gift. As crazy as that sounds, this forced pause has given me a chance to reevaluate my goals and the path I’m taking to achieve them. I’m betting you’re finding yourself taking stock of your own life in a similar way?

Now, having said that, I’ll totally own the Netflix bingeing that took place during the stay-home orders, the eating of my feelings (so much bread!), and the sleepless nights while I panicked about the future of my business. But in honesty, that is behind me. I have chosen to use this forced pause as an opportunity to step back from the way-too-close perspective I had on my business and get a look at what’s in my future. That shift in perspective has allowed me to initiate some really exciting work.

During the gnarliest stage of the not-yet-reopened phase of Covid in the Yukon (early May), I received an email telling me that I’d earned a prestigious award – The Design and Innovation Award from the Craft Council of BC in their annual earring show. It was such good news but in honesty, I couldn’t quite process the scope of the win. I was still feeling uncertain about my future and my confidence had definitely been shaken with the shutdown. My reaction to the win was totally underwhelming.

When the Yukon News learned of the win, they sent a journalist to interview me and the editorial that they published was fantastic. I was starting to experience a shift in my attitude. Thank god because the way I’d been feeling was exhausting and so dreary! I was starting to remember how inspiration and joy felt.

With a renewed sense of optimism and hope for the future, I’ve chosen to use this time to dig deep into PR and Marketing projects and am excited to be partnering with Erik Pinkerton Photography and Alistair Maitland Photography on a truly exciting if not intimidating undertaking but I BELIEVE that it will pay off. I’m often heard saying that the Universe is always conspiring in my favour and I know it’s true, even now. Especially now.

What I can tell you about how I made the shift is that I identified what made me so damned stuck. I believed that I had no power. Maybe I had no power to change the impacts of Covid on consumer behaviour or on where I was working (home or in the store) but I COULD set my sights on a target – a new project. Even with no guarantees that the project would bear fruit, I was able to create a super healthy distraction that served my business and my mental health. At this very moment, I still have no idea if the project will yield a single dollar of income (it’s actually costing a ton) but I have to have hope that it will be worth my time. I’m open to seeing the value of what I’m doing in ways other than short term cash gains. I have loads of new skills and resources as a result of how I’ve shifted so I’m already winning.

I’d love to know what things you’re doing personally or professionally to keep going forward and to nurture your own sense of future, hope, and possibility. Let me know in the comments section how you’re cultivating optimism, even on the hardest days or in the smallest ways!

I know this is a super tough time with no real end in sight but I can promise you that there are silver linings in your life, you just need to look for them! If you’ve found any, I want to hear all about them!

Take good care of yourself. We’re in this together!

xo
Vanessa

 

 

I think I need a clone

Copyright © 2014 Sven Müller

I’m not entirely sure how the heck so many weeks go by between posts but they DO go by and instead of feeling like a total dolt, I’m going to remind myself and you that I’m doing my best. Also, fall time seems to be a season of getting shit done and this fall is no different. 

I’ve just posted a series of upcoming classes on Facebook and Instagram which I’m really looking forward to teaching. Also, there will be a few classes held at our LYS, Itsy Bitsy which will be my regular drop spindle spinning and frame loom weaving classes. There’s always a huge demand for these classes so I suspect my fall teaching schedule will keep me on my toes. 

In addition to classes, I’m reworking how a bunch of my online store listings are being launched. I’m trying something new where I knock out a pile of new designs and restock a bunch of the core line and launch them all together at once with announcements on social media. Maybe in the future, I’ll include a newsletter for those announcements but I’m just one person and between making stock (jewelry and woven goods), running the store, weaving on the Ravenstail robe in the early morning hours, and finishing writing my first book, I think we can all agree that I probably have a few plates spinning all at once. No need to mess with what’s (mostly) working. 

So without further ado, here are some of the upcoming classes for September. I’ve created an actual event for all of the upcoming classes mostly for ease of sharing. The registration process is simple and somewhat manual for me. PM/email to sign up. It’s pretty straightforward. Class info is included in each listing and if you click the photo, it’ll take you straight to the FB event. Try it! 

September 3 from 6:00-8:00pm.

Must be prepaid. $75 +gst per person, all materials provided.
Cancellation policy – full refund up to the day before. Class day cancellation will not be refunded but you will receive a kit of materials and instructions or templates when applicable.
Max six participants. Can be paid in store or online. DM for details re: online registration

Location : Wild Yukon Furs || V. Ægirsdóttir – Artist – (the former wine shop) beside Baked and across from The Collective Good.

You will learn back stitch, satin stitch, and French knots. Also, you’ll learn how to transfer patterns.

Hoop, fabric, needles, and thread are yours to keep.

September 4 from 6:00-8:00pm.

Must be prepaid. $75 +gst per person, all materials provided.
Cancellation policy – full refund up to the day before. Class day cancellation will not be refunded but you will receive a kit of materials and instructions or templates when applicable.
Max six participants. Can be paid in store or online. DM for details re: online registration

Location : Wild Yukon Furs || V. Ægirsdóttir – Artist – (the former wine shop) beside Baked and across from The Collective Good.

You will learn how to warp your loom, which materials to warp with, how to select weft yarns, plain weave and finishing techniques to create one of a kind woven bracelets.
Loom, warp thread, weft yarns, and needle are yours to keep.

September 10, 6-8pm.

Must be prepaid. $75 +gst per person, all materials provided.

Cancellation policy – full refund up to the day before. Class day cancellation will not be refunded but you will receive a kit of materials and instructions or templates when applicable.
Max six participants. Can be paid in store or online. DM for details re: online registration

Location : Wild Yukon Furs || V. Ægirsdóttir – Artist – (the former wine shop) beside Baked and across from The Collective Good.

You will learn back stitch, French Knots, how to transfer patterns, and most importantly; how to use watercolour paint on fabric!
Hoop, fabric, needles, and thread are yours to keep.

I do have more classes in the queue and will be sharing them on social media and hopefully on here as well. If you want to see the samples for these projects, most are shown in the posts on Instagram. I seldom put much time into Facebook anymore so if you want to see what’s what, hit me up on IG. 

 

And lastly, if you’ve gotten this far in my post, please leave a comment so that I know someone other than my partner is reading this…and let’s be honest, he’s probably not even reading this. See why I could use a little comment love? 
Thanks for hanging out, homeslice. 

V

Getting the hang of it

So it’s been over two decades since I was a student. Yeah, I attempted to do distance education in my early twenties (with no success) and again in my thirties (again with no success) but those pursuits were not as inspiring as what I’m committed to now. I’m currently enrolled in the Foundations in Textiles course which precedes the full-on Bachelor of Arts degre in Textiles that I’m absolutely going for. I can’t wait to make time for the course work and am honestly over the moon with the process of exploring and learning.

In our course materials, we’re tasked with keeping a learning log to record our thoughts and insights, ideas and apprehensions about the process of learning. As a lifelong journaller, this absolutely lit me up. I scoured town to find a spiral bound sketchbook that I could use for my log and have spent the last few weeks getting accustomed to making habitual entries. Suffice to say I’m still working on making it habitual but it is definitely fun and as I go through my day, I’m making mental notes of which elements I want to document in my Learning Log.

(note: I will be uploading the entries to the log in my posts so that my tutor who is in the UK can view them. By all means, read them and enjoy but if they seem lame, dull, or just too damned many pages, sorry. I need to keep a digital record somewhere.)

      

So my first exercise was to make a series of marks prompted by some very exciting adjectives using a bunch of my new (yay!) art supplies. That was a fun experience. I noticed how the materials felt on the paper and in my hands. I also noted how the various media sounded and even smelled. That was an unexpected multi-sensory experience!!

      

Of course, once I’d started working, I wanted to just make marks all day but alas, adulting called and I had to pack up the fun and make dinner. So some time has passed since that exercise and I’ve attended evening talks and daytime meetings, I made a short film with friends and attended the screening. In other words, I’m DYING to get back to my assignments!

I’ve gotten more regular with my Learning Log entries and am enjoying having art supplies on hand all the time to record my ideas. In colour!

     
The best part about the sketch at the bottom of the page above is that while on a video chat with another textile artist in Hamburg, Germany, I showed him my sketch and he showed me that he’d doodled the same exact shape during our call. We immediately got excited and all fired up as artists are wont to do.

In preparation for the next assignment, I’ve created a few “paintbrushes” from materials in my stash. I will also have a look in the recycling bin to see which materials in there can be used as “quills” or “nibs” with India ink. Update to follow.

So today, I get to experiment with handmade tools and making marks with new methods. So exciting! Then an afternoon of weaving and creativity in my residency space downtown. I am seriously living the very best life. I couldn’t be happier.

Tell me what cool, challenging creative things you’re up to. I want to know ALL about it!!

Eudaimonia – Human Flourishing

At the beginning of every year, I choose a word to guide me rather than making resolutions. Last year, my word was Meraki (google it. It’s a winner) and while I was pondering a word I have a strong connection to – light – as being my word for the year, this delicious word popped up. I think there’s something extra special about the richness of a word like this. I like that it’s not part of everyday vernacular but that it also says so much. I think that the definition of this word speaks to my personal goals every year but I’m pretty sure I had no idea there was one word that said it all. I can’t imagine a better state of being that would beat being happy, healthy, and prosperous. Don’t you think?

This is the image that I have for my Facebook cover on my personal page and I selected the background image because it’s Vík in South Iceland (a stock image, not one of mine) and if you’ve ever met me, you know I have a serious love affair with Iceland. Seeing the Icelandic landscape stirs something in me and I like that.

 

I think that this tradition of choosing a word at the beginning of the year says a lot about intention. I’m a big believer in setting intention and in the power of putting thought into words and the remarkable things that can happen when a little focus is put in one direction. I’ve seen it work too many times to ever doubt it. For me, this act of choosing a word is a new year tradition that only serves to benefit me and I’m pretty excited to see how this word benefits my life. Stay tuned!

 

Do you choose a word for yourself? What word did you choose for yourself? I’d love to know. Tell me your word and why you chose it in the comments!

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