“Look back to move forwards” – wise words (?) which were said to me more than once before I could understand what it all meant!  But it’s that time of year again, and this morning I was thinking back to exactly one year ago and what I was doing/thinking then.  And no, I didn’t have a hangover last year, any more than this year!  :^)

This time last year I was in the final throes of my masters – getting the final bits and pieces together to hang my final submission and getting my thoughts in order to answer the grilling of my intentions, thought processes and the rationale behind my work.  The dissertation was submitted but the proof of the pudding was to come in how my physical woven work was received.  Happily it was a great result, but that was still in the future.

Also in the future was my upcoming trip to New Zealand with 8 sets of workshops to teach – something I’d not undertaken at such a scale before  – and to say I was nervous was an understatement!  Had I prepared everything well enough?  Was it going to be a topic that people enjoyed?  Had I pitched the teaching level right or was it going to be too easy/too hard?  Would the exhibitions be ok?  Would Agnes and I get along over an intensive 9 week period?

Challenge #1, issued originally in 2007 by Richard and Christine Jeryan (was that really 7 years ago?!!) was to have an exhibition of my work in the US, and was met thanks to a suggestion from Mimi Anderson, and the wonderful faith and trust of Deborah and Gary Boone at B2 Fine Art Gallery in Tacoma.  Challenge #2 was getting the Masters.  Challenge #3 was the New Zealand trip and the teaching and exhibiting there with my wonderful friend Agnes Hauptli.  The woman is an inspiration and a powerhouse – a megafish in her ocean!!  And all this before July!

Since July, life has been a bit less high flying.  Plenty of work, teaching and weaving.  Lots of ideas from the two amazing trips, and lots of reading.  Some of the best books have been non-fiction, and my favourites are probably ‘Cooked’ by Michael Pollan, and ‘Darwin’s Island’ by Steve Jones.  I managed to get hold of some wonderful photographic books which have fired off yet more ideas for weaving.  I have a 28 page document now full of weaving ideas generated over the course of 2014!  If only there was the time to develop them all!!  Mind you, some are brewing inside my brain and surface every now and then.

Life has also happened and, as we all know and experience, life has its downs as well as ups.  But even in the downs, other people’s strengths and personalities can lift and carry you and make you appreciate different things.

Looking foward to 2015, I find myself curious.  There is nothing much in the diary looking forward, apart from a wonderful month in May when I shall be in Switzerland, Holland and France.  But there is a frisson about the year which I feel and am excited about.  To start with, I have some ideas for my weaving, and for the exhibition in Switzerland, which will keep me busy over the next few months.  But, apart from that, there is a feeling of expectant quietude.  I am hoping that long held dreams will start to work into our lives this year.  For some reason, it feels the right time.  If it does, I promise to update you.

In the meantime, this week during Christmas and New Year, when I usually get so much done in a spirit of relaxed busyness, this year has been spent nose-blowing and coughing, sleeping and drinking fluids.  Nothing serious, thankfully, but an annoying and persistent virus or bug that got firstly my son (and he so fit and active!) and then me.  But what it did do was remind me forcibly how blasé I usually am about my normal state of health.  Usually a cold or cough doesn’t stop me doing anything.  Maybe I might go to bed early or have an afternoon nap if I’m not feeling too bright, but this time I couldn’t focus on anything.  I sat and vegitated, even to the point of just watching the TV (known to me as The Vacuum).  I couldn’t even bring my mind to read!  This has lasted a week, and has been salutary for me.  I have some apologies – to my body, for taking it for granted; to folk I know who are ill, for not empathising in the past; and to those who are ill but despite their afflictions, show us by their actions what it is to fight and overcome.

So, to New Year’s Resolutions!  My health – to be mindful of the value of what I put into my body as fuel in mind, body and soul!  And to keep walking the dog and working those mental and physical muscles!  My usual resolution to clear away UFOs (UnFinished Objects), starting with a jumper that I last put down in 2009 and which I have now started to work on again today!  I will get to wear it this winter!  (I only hope I haven’t changed shape too much in the meantime!!  LOL) To allow my weaving to develop in ways that engage and enthrall me.  To catch up with all the magazines that piled up whilst I was away earlier in the year, and to begin to get through the piles of books that I seem to acquire each year (it seems there is no hope for bibliophiles like me!!)  And to embrace what the year may bring with an openness that allows for the unexpected to occur and blossom.

May your New Year bring unexpected pleasures and delights to your life.

Happy Weaving!