Why do you do it?
When I would be out and about, spinning in public somewhere, I would get asked this question a lot. Why do I want to spin yarn? There are usually implied unspoken follow-ups behind that question:
- when you could just buy it?
- when there are “more important” things you could do?
- when it’s so niche?
- when it’s so… weird? And kind of archaic?
And the answer, the one true answer to all of those questions is, and should be, so simple…
It brings me joy.
Yes, this is one of my jobs, and I make money – in theory, heh – from it, but I never would have chosen this path if I didn’t love it.
I started spinning because I wanted to see what it was like to transform one medium into another. It seemed like magic, and it is. I was immediately hooked, and started consuming as much knowledge about my new craft as I could: historical, technical, inspirational. I met other fiber artists who all felt the same draw, even though we didn’t all approach our art in the same way. I felt the most kinship with those who were trying to push the medium to extreme and challenging places, but I bonded with artisans from all schools of thought, because it all added to my knowledge base, and because we all loved the same basic idea.
And that’s how it’s gone for all the arts I love, not just the one I explored as a career path. The people who stick with it are the ones who find joy in it. When you stop having joy is when it becomes a chore rather than a calling.
And that’s when people drop out.
It’s Tour de Fleece season right now, and I decided to revive my team, Nevermore. I hadn’t done much with TdF since I got really sick, because it requires, even at the casual pace that my team embraces, a certain focus and commitment that I haven’t been able to muster until now. And running even a casual team takes a lot of energy and focus, which I couldn’t sustain reliably. [To be fair, most of my energy had been going into the arguably easier energy-wise task of writing books.]
But this year, we’re back! And I’m seeing people who haven’t spun in years, people who I admired as fiber artists and people in general, coming back to rediscover joy in their chosen art.
Yes. Yes. Yes!
This is the point of everything. THIS is why we should be doing it! And it’s refreshed me, y’all, you don’t even know. I spun last night for the first time in quite a while and it re-energized my other creative areas even as my hands grew tired from being out of spinning shape.
What’s my point here? That sometimes, we need a creative break, and that it’s okay to step away when the thing you love isn’t bringing you the happiness that it used to, or you just can’t fit it into your life at this moment. But after that break, coming back can be one of the joyous things you’ve ever done!
And that’s why I do what I do, in the end. I want that joy. I want to see that joy reflected in the eyes of those who gather around me in community, and who work with the things I created in joy.
I hope you’ll join me in that, no matter what your medium.