Hellena Post - Creatrix

I've tried on so many uniforms and badges that now I'm just me - mother of 8 children and all that entails, flowmad, and human animal parent. Writer of this living book of a blog, philosopher, and creatrix of hand dyed and spun crocheted wearable art. I gave up polite conversation years ago, and now I dive into the big one's.....birth, sex, great wellness, life, passion, death and rebirth.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

The First Day Of The Rest Of My Fibre Career......

Two weeks ago today, I had the tremendous pleasure of being asked to come to a beautiful yurt and show a group of women how to spin.  The wonderful Alice Moffett (who also took all these gorgeous photos), heard about me from someone who had seen me at the Blue Knob Farmers Market Fibre Festival, found me on Facebook, and then made it as easy as she possibly could, for me to turn up and share some spinning stories and inspirations.  

It was a real yurt from Mongolia, complete with horsehair rope and felt lining, put up 
by it's owner and her close group of friends.  Truly inspirational to be in and feel.

Got a lift from a dear friend and her little one, and Lilly came along too for the adventure.  First thing I did was rock up and spill my fleeces, skeins, crochet hooks, books, creatures, and fibre majicks all over her yurt :)  And started telling them stories as I did, all about how there's no 'proper' way to do anything, only your way to find, about the history of spinning and the spinning wheel, a perspective on it from archaic times to modern, and maybe most importantly to me..........the concept of how everything is connected and remembers where it's been.  And what we put on the biggest organs of our body (our skin) is important to have nice memories.  

I love other people's perceptions on what is photo worthy  :)

Lilly and Honu sitting with the various creatures.

Showing off crochet hooks whilst sporting a rather spectacular snake tattoo.

Skeins, fleeces, wool bag, hooks...

Searching for tools to get the spinning wheel spinning.

After the basics, we moved onto checking out the beautiful wheels that the lovely Chris, owner of the yurt had, and I showed her how to give them a basic service, and get them going.  We started out with learning how to spin, and getting the concept that there's the clockwise and anticlockwise spin, that are the two parts of the yarn whole.  First we spin, either way, and then we ply, which has to be the opposite way to the way it was spun.  Spinning is putting the twist into raw fleece, and plying is unspinning it round another yarn or thread.  

Here's Chris, her beloved dog, her mother sitting on the bed,
and her spinning wheel that we got humming along sweetly.

And her second wheel, which was a gorgeous little upright wheel,
probably locally made, which is common in the world of spinning.

Beautiful elegant lines on this upright wheel,
one of the nicest ones I've seen in my travels.

Sweet Marina probably listening to me telling her that there's no such thing as a mistake
when learning how to spin, and how it's like learning to drive, using feet
and hands at the same time, and it takes a while to get the hang of it.

Most likely saying something like "You're doing perfectly,
 and this is exactly the best way to learn, by just feeling it out".

We also covered drop spindling briefly, and I showed them how to make rope.  Chris took to it instantly, and loved my explanation of how this was like the perfectly balanced yarn, creating it with your hands only, and with both the spins built into each part of it.  She really dug the concept of being able to twist anything into rope with this method.  And what made it even more special for her (and me), was that the raw fleece she was using, came from a loved sheep of her mothers!

Using her mums fleece, and asking Lilly to hold onto the beginning,
I demonstrated to Chris how to twist rope into being.

The raw fleece doesn't have to be prepared in any way, except for thinning it out as you twist.
Check out Lilly's fingernails with the nail polish not quite cleaned off!

We were both so impressed with how delightful a process rope making was for Chris,
and she kept going on with the yarn I'd pulled out to show her, till it was all
beautifully roped up.  Love her angel wings in this photo :)

I also gave them a bit of a tour of some of the things I'd made, letting them try on and play with whatever they liked, and showing off some of my design tips as inspiration for them to make their own things their own way.

I do love these moth wings, and how they wrap round your fingers.

After years of doing markets and festivals, I've learnt the art of squooshing as much information into a tiny portion of time as I possibly can.  So all my stories about spinning had large dollops of other concepts I'm passionate about thrown in as well, like self organisation, and the gifting economy, and trust and surrender.  There was a gorgeous woman with her baby (I'm so sorry I forgot your name) who REALLY wasn't into crafting, but sat and observed and listened nonetheless.  And after all the hurly burly was mostly over, she came up to chat more about some of the other concepts we'd discussed, and I was so glad, that even though crafting wasn't her thing, she still enjoyed herself and was stimulated by the stories.  She really dug how a yarn was a physical as well as metaphorical yarn all at the same time.

Chris's mum and the gorgeous mamma on the bed.

And I reckon my most favourite moment of the whole event, that really sums up what I love so much about my chosen field, was this precious moment, when Chris was having a go on my wheel, (My Little Gem, the Rolls Royce of spinning wheels no less) spinning some of her mothers sheep fleece.

Such a beautiful photo.

She was talking to her mum about the sheep, (forgot his name too), and what he did when her mum fed him.  They had this warm moment of reminiscence about the sheep, while she was spinning some of her first yarn, which was all perfectly big and chunky and bobbly and full of character, as your first yarn always is.  And as I was winding her first yarn into a ball, I told them all how perfect that was, to be talking about the sheep whilst spinning his fleece, full of his memories of living with her mum, and how much he loved her in his coat, while her mum was listening, and there was oxytocic bonding, and all of that went into the yarn, and would be held in it's memory forever.  How gorgeous is that?

I did the whole thing by donation, and only realised in doing it, what a perfect way it would be to make a living from living.  On my own terms, having a real life adventure and meeting new people, who are already interested in what I have so much passion for, that I'd do it for free.  It's like all the best bits of the markets and festivals I've done over the years, but being able to connect directly with people already curious, rather than trawling through a whole bunch of totally uninterested ones.   Spontaneous and unpredictable enough to keep me engaged.  In person, instead of on the internet, which never really worked for me with the fibre feeling thing.  So inspiring to do, that I forgot about time, and the whole thing left me feeling charged and energised.  And almost like a party plan for my book.  Cause when folk have met me, they often feel they'd like to keep a bit of me.  Which my book certainly is.....

Even though a lot of people (and me), get a good giggle about how there's not that many things that I have that are actually for sale, and I leave just about everyone with the statement from Aileen Stace about how 'spinning's not something you BUY, spinning's something you DO!'.....there always is the odd thing that can be coerced out of me with trade or swap or donation or cash.  So a few skeins or yarns found a new home, and as a last leaving I showed them how to create a centre pull ball on a rolled up piece of paper.  

Started off with holding the skein around my knees, old fashioned way...

Then Lilly kindly offered to hold the skein and make the ball winding easier for me.
Lilly was a huge hit at the session, had some awesome conversations, and
really connected with Chris in their love of animals.

Telling a story and obviously incredulous about something.....
But look at that ball!

So I guess what I'm saying is.......to help me in my quest of bringing back the 70's Fibre Revolution, and making a living from living, I'm up for coming just about anywhere, anytime (bit like the Goodies), and sharing whatever skills I have, with all the stories that seem to come with me, and we'll all have a lot of fun :)  Schools, festivals, communities, interest groups, friends, whoever, whatever, just contact me and we can work something out.  If it's appropriate, the whole family circus could come along, with some drums, and some dancing and big family energy.  

I think this is a very exciting installation in this journey I'm on.