On Not Making Plans for 2021

If this year taught me anything, it’s that there’s no point making plans in a time of crisis. Instead, flexibility and adaptability are needed. Despite this, I had planned for next year to be structured around the 8-shaft certificate of weaving at the Guild. It seemed like the one stable, sure thing. But due to a lack of sign-ups, it will now start mid-year.

That shattered my assumptions about it being a sure thing, and I realised I need to be prepared for it to not go ahead at all, and that maybe I shouldn’t even be thinking in terms of picking any task for any specific length of time. Perhaps I need to shake off the long-held, work-learned habit of taking on a big project and instead aim for a state of continual but flexible occupation.

Of course, whatever I do I will be constrained by my health. Though my thumb is better, the hand therapist said it would always be prone to flare ups so I must be careful. My back is worse. Much worse. In the last month it’s been severe enough to trigger migraines. I’m blaming the closing of the pilates clinic during lockdown. Though I did exercises at home, they were constrained for a long time by the fact I couldn’t put weight or stress on my thumb. I don’t think I can go back to the classes I was doing because it’s going to take a careful restart and slow build to get things back to the way they were. So I’m going to start one-on-one sessions at my physio’s clinic next year.

It frustrates me how unreliable I am because of these issues. How can I commit to anything when I might end up having to cancel? How can I run weaving classes when I’m not supposed to lift heavy objects like tables and looms? The answer is: I can’t. Whatever I do next year and beyond will have to be flexible enough to work around these health issues. They’re not going away. They probably never will.

And I’m already used to that. I get things done by working when I can and resting when I can’t. I break big tasks down into short bouts to avoid flare ups, chipping away until they’re done. I vary my position from sitting to standing to walking around to lying down.

What could I do that would accommodate all this? I know what I’d like to do:

  • Build a 16 shaft loom
  • Join a weaving study group
  • Start a rigid heddle loom interest group
  • Write that book on divided reed weaving
  • Do some other crafts, like machine knitting and sewing
  • Paint and sketch

All of this is possible if broken up into small enough sessions and spread over a long time. Well, maybe not the study group if the pace was too fast, but it’s worth a try.

Art classes are set to resume next year and I’m really looking forward to them. I miss the people as much as painting, and have really come to appreciate how friendly they all are, how interested in each other’s lives, how willing to listen if one of us needs to get something off our chest. Annie, our teacher, is a sweetheart. I’m wondering if the format of weekly ongoing classes with no set lesson just encouragement, guidance and feedback is the secret to its success.

What if there was a weaving class like that? Gosh, that would be awesome!