Janel T.

Last year a disaster in my house forced me to clean out closets, dressers, cabinets, bookshelves--every square inch of storage I had. I rented a dumpster. I threw away papers and books and clothes and shoes and toys and blankets and baskets and towels--anything that was not worth the expense of cleaning and sanitizing. The things that I saved had to be worth saving. If I didn't love it or absolutely need it, it got tossed. I was ruthless.

Then, after days and days of sorting and tossing and sanitizing, putting everything in bins, getting new cabinets and shelves,  I started unpacking. I realized that I could not find my fabric stash. Several yards of hand-dyed, printed and embellished fabric I intended to use for a project (some day) was gone. Dozens of fat quarters I had purchased over the years because I loved the colors or the hand of the fabric or its weave, gone. Two yards of an elegant tapestry weave my mother had given me. A yard of silk noil, prepared for dyeing. Two yards of silk charmeuse. Small zip-lock bags filled with dyed fabric samples. At least a dozen silk scarf blanks. All gone.

I don't know if I laundered them and put them in a bag that accidentally got thrown in the dumpster or sent to Goodwill., or if, in my grief, I tossed them because I didn't think I'd ever want to do anything creative again. I don't know if my "committee members" convinced me that my work was never any good and I should just give it up, anyway. I don't remember much about that time except the image of the dumpster and the bags and boxes I tossed into it.

This week, reading about limitations and working on this lesson, I haven't known how to feel. I still grieve the loss. I can't possibly afford to replace all the fabric I had and I can't re-create the work I did.

But maybe I don't need to.

Can I see this as a gift, a chance to create something new? A chance to work really small, if just for a few weeks or months? I still have dyes and paints and stamps, I still have tools. I have paper and some markers and some ink.

And another gift comes on its heels this week--the discussion around content in Jane's essay. Because of that  I have made lists of what I care about, doodled ideas, thought about how those ideas may be expressed through form or color. I have a direction, some ideas and feelings that will sit with me as I sit in my studio and play with my work.  Thank you!