textiles · exploration · misadventure


A Bit of a Winge But Mostly Archive Archeology

I recently discovered Pinterest, and migod.

I didn’t get the huhu before I started poking about. Then I found the pictures of this tiny house, which evoked strong feelings: yearning, hope, sadness. Envy. Not pleasant to admit about oneself, envy. But it was there.

I look at the board that picture started, and it’s clear to me in a new way that how I’m living now—in ultra-urban, densely populated, totally un-private San Francisco—conflicts with some very strong yearnings.

Having time to dig into various aspects of textiles and tradition, poking about the interwebs and reading the interesting things artists are doing and experimenting with just increases my longing for a home of my own, where I can paint the walls any color, hammer nails wherever, and leave lichen/ammonia and sheep wool/rainwater baths fermenting as long as I want.

With a workroom. A shed in the yard. A basement. Any place I can have privacy and quiet, and know there are no upstairs neighbors to slam the door, stomp around over my head, drop rocks (I don’t know what it is they constantly drop; I call it “stirring rocks with a stick), or next-door neighbors to get drunk and yell “WOooooo HOoooo!” at 2am in the backyard shared by the (300?) people that live on my block.*

backyard, top floors

Backyard panoramics, less than 45 degrees.

Backyard panoramics, less than 45 degrees.

Clara Parkes recently wrote a post about San Francisco that nailed my feelings perfectly.

Source:  Summer Clouds by Tonyct on Flickr. Creative Commons license.

Source: Summer Clouds by Tonyct on Flickr. Creative Commons license.

But this started out to be a post on the blessings of Pinterest, which I have discovered that I LOVE, for the palettes and inspiration and feelings, even of envy and sadness, conjured by images—and because so many of those evocative images lead to FANTASTIC blogs.

I love blogs with a history, and if the first few posts intrigue me, one of my favorite things to do is to find the very first post, and perform what I call archive archeology. I find richness in following artistic development. I love getting to know segments of writer’s lives, their stories and loves and influences and families.

I started this with Yarn Harlot, and loved it so much I continued with Mason Dixon Knitting, Pantopticon, Clara’s Window, and Abbey’s Yarns. These blogs go back at least ten years, some of them more. All of them trace the professional, artistic, and emotional development of people I admire. Abby Franquemont, in particular, has had a gripping, tragically rough ride, and writes about it most movingly. She is also one hell of a textile artist.

More recently, though, I’ve been enjoying pleasurable archeological digs in the blogs of lesser known creative individuals… who I’ve found by looking at textile, dyeing, and quilting work on Pinterest. The inspiration I’m finding is out of hand.

Here are some of the blogs I’ve particularly enjoyed, starting with the earliest post I could locate:

Naturally Dyeing

Unrelated to textiles, I have to give a shout out to Unconfirmed Bachelorette, a blog I found by chance and just adore. Elle hasn’t had it easy, but she’s got intelligence, humor, grit, and tons of good sense. I always enjoy reading her perspective on whatever she chooses to write about. UB holds the honor of being the sole blog unrelated to textiles upon which I’ve performed the full archeological dig.

What about you? What have you yearned for? Have you found it?

*This very minute, directly above my head, I swear somebody’s sawing wood.