Ground Rush

At this time of year I usually try and get all the mid winter gifts ready for posting before the start of the olive harvest. Once the harvest begins there is no time to think of anything else.

Last year my son's injury playing sledge hockey in Japan sent me rushing across the globe on a mission of mercy, and Steve did most of it solo. This year the art exhibition, which now has a start date of 14th December, is taking so much of my time that it looks like Steve will once again be battling the trees alone. Yes we are promised help from a fit young man who specifically wants to participate in the harvest but he can't come until the 9th December and it very much looks like the harvest will start earlier this year. Given the small amount of rain we have had and the fact that many of the trees are bare the harvest could be over before he gets here!

My life is full of wool at the moment. No time for much else. Wool and a small rising panic that my exposition won't be ready in time. As part of the art event we were all filmed in the room where our displays will be shown. We had to introduce ourselves and say what we hoped to achieve from our art. This was difficult since my motivation was always really quite a selfish one, I just want to have some creative chums to spin with and to discuss our latest projects. Not wishing to sound quite so much like Billy no-mates I let the cat out of the bag regarding the ever so subtle (I hoped) underlying message behind my work.

Much of my wool and sewing is my own gentle protest against the modern trend for throwaway clothing. I don't crow about it, how can I? I have several items of mass produced-by-exploited-workforce clothing in my drawers and my goal of a totally hand made wardrobe is far from accomplished. But every hand made item I wear is a statement about how much I value my clothes and every visible mend in good quality old clothes is a gentle reminder of what I hope to achieve, what I try to live by.

If I shout this out I would soon lose friends. We all buy too many clothes and too cheaply. The real cost of our apparel is often paid for by less fortunate workers in far away lands with lives we cannot even begin to imagine. Having this pointed out is uncomfortable and also by someone who is still buying into this system, hypocritical.

My exposition will highlight the process of turning the raw wool into yarn and ultimately into a finished object. There will be an area where people can play with the wool and have a go at spinning or using the wool to make something. There will also be an art installation. I chose a fish theme. A mobile of undersea creatures all made from wool, all very colourful and cute among which I plan to place a single piece of plastic. The plastic rings that hold cans together for sale.

Well instead of leaving this to speak for itself I was taken by surprise and blurted out some stuff about acrylic yarn being in essence plastic. No no no no nooooooo! This is not how I wanted it to be! There are some wonderful acrylic yarns out there and I am always tempted by them, I am no goody two shoes. I would have preferred a more gentle approach where at first the people are surprised and pleased that the local wool is good enough to be used for so many things followed by a desire by some to want to learn how to spin followed by a greater understanding of the wider issues like the slow dawn of a new day. Of course at the end of this gentle walk up this steep incline is the rejection of acrylic wool and because it's been a long slow road the local yarn shop has not gone out of business (having diversified) and we saved the planet and the oceans and our food is not full of plastic and everyone is still my friend.



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