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The Need to Make Art

Recently I took a trip to North Carolina with my daughter and my dog. Morgan was heading for Penland School of Crafts to be the studio assistant in a two week weaving class, and Sydney and I were going to stay with my husband's cousin in Cashiers. My plan was to make this an experiment in writing. I took with me several notebooks, my laptop, pens and the book "Writing Down the Bones" by Natalie Goldberg. I had every good intention of doing nothing but writing. I told Debbie that I did not have to be entertained, I would be happy hanging out in her weaving studio with our two dogs. Unfortunately Sydney, a nearly 14 year old cattle dog was NOT having it from Deb's eager 6 year old German Shorthair Pointer mix.

Poor Moe. He was like a toddler expecting his fun grandmother to arrive with hugs and lifesaver candies, only to realize its the mean old spinster aunt who hates children.

Sydney DID want to be friends with the lovely Ginny Weasley, who is a gorgeous ragdoll cat, who possesses none of the usual feline graces. Slipping on floors, jumping at and missing flies, running to greet her humans, she was far more dog than cat. But she did not like Sydney.

After 5 days of doing the doggy dance, which involved Moe slinking past Sydney, giving her sad wide berth when we moved them separately from inside to outside, getting my knee bitten when I tried to intervene, and watching an indignant Ginny Weasley peering through windows and around corners, I discovered several things:

1. Our dogs were never going to get along.

2. I may actually want a cat.

3. The time away was becoming very stressful.

4. When given all this time, maybe I don't want to write?


I needed the visceral feel of hands on paper or yarn or pencils. I needed to make something with my hands...anything.

Luckily Deb gave me free rein in her studio.

I collected up a spool of cotton, a bundle of hand-spun wool , a ball of then red yarn, and a spindle of mohair. I found a needle, a pair of scissors, a pad of thick paper with a linen finish, some weaving scraps, and an old woven scarf in a style that Deb no longer makes. There were grapevines hanging near the fishing boat outside – perfect!

Here's what I made. It is hanging in the window of the lovely room where I stayed for a week:

Next: What I did alone on my summer vacation when I didn't bring any art supplies.

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