Crisis is the norm???

This morning, I found an old notebook with some notes that I had taken from Convergence, I think it was 2000 or 2002. From a workshop on "weaving as a profession", I found, "Crisis is the norm". I do many shows and have been experiencing this for the past ten years. I work hard at trying to figure out how not to live my life from a place of crisis (with varying success), but when I pulled out that quote this morning, I started wondering if this is just the nature of the business. From other professional weavers...what is your experience with rhythm and crisis in your business?


Posted on Sun, 12/30/2012 - 16:52

Oh, absolutely.  It seems I stagger from 'crisis' to 'crisis'. If there isn't enough work to do, the lack of income rears its head and I scramble to find a source.  If I have enough work to cover my debts, I'm run ragged trying to do it.  If I find a good seller I work my tail off making it but then there is market saturation so I also need to be working on new product.  When you add in writing/teaching to the mix, you have to deal with a whole other level of 'crisis' management.  :}

I just finished weaving the samples for my next publication and now the pressure is on to finish writing the text, get it copied and assemble the copies before I leave on the 14th for a month long teaching trip.  And keeping *that* organized has been almost a daily challenge.

I've also been working with a designer (who doesn't actually know anything about cloth construction) and am just sending off the first test order.  And then I wait to see if she likes it well enough to place a 'real' order.  

At times I feel like a one-armed paper hanger!

When things get really hectic, I pause for a moment to remind myself that I *chose* this life so I'd better enjoy it.  All of it.  :D



Posted on Sun, 12/30/2012 - 19:30

I have been in a creative profession (but not weaving, I do that for fun) for nearly 30 years now, and yes, that will be a persistent element no matter how smart or organized you are. I have discovered that (finally!) I don't get too freaked out by the unexpected things that used to make me crazy. That's not to say it still isn't frustrating, but I probably don't lose as much sleep or generate as much non-productive time worrying about those situations anymore. 

I wish I could have told myself this after the first 10 years of my career, I would have enjoyed the second 10+ even more! 

Also, when you come out of the chute from one of these situations, chalk it up to another great story you can share when retired and parked in the nursing home, recounting the "good 'ol days" ;-)


Posted on Mon, 12/31/2012 - 14:24

Hello everyone,

In the past I created crisis, partially to motivate myself and because it's easy to become addicted to the adrenalin rush. It seemed like I had to do so many diffferent things to make an income. Now, I work at letting things just happen in their own time, this can be difficult at first  but like Sally mentioned it's easier to sleep. Before I felt so rushed looking always to the Next thing to be done that I wasn't present to what was currently in front of me and therefore, like Sally says, not enjoying my work much. Probably like everyone here I have 4 things going but I "budget" lots of time for each, that change alone helped quite a bit.  Laura's "one armed paper hanger" feeling is all too familiar to me and one that I try to avoid by accepting that it won't all happen right now and guess what? Not only does the World not end, it feels good to let go. After a 2 year hiatus because of cancer I just didn't want to re-create the "sweat shop".

Posted on Mon, 12/31/2012 - 17:05

I agree - the cancer journey really helped me to put things in persepective.  

I do tend to set deadlines in order to motivate myself.  Like Liese I am trying to stay more present and not panic about everything that needs doing but at times several deadlines converge on one period of time - like the last couple of weeks - and I start feeling overwhelmed.  I have learned to be a lot more critical in deciding what absolutely needs to be done, ignore the rest and just concentrate on the necessary.  

Understanding that many of my deadlines are self-imposed and arbitrary makes them easier to set aside.  It is how we respond to our self-imposed deadlines that matters.  Keeping a focused goal in mind also helps.  And yes, those deadlines will come - and go - and I don't always meet them.  I have learned that it is not the end of the world.  I am the kind of person that does need to have those goals, though, or I tend to get distracted and waste time at the computer or reading.  :^)



Posted on Mon, 12/31/2012 - 17:38

Liese-While I understand the energy of what you're saying, most of my deadlines, once set, aren't self imposed.  The class is happening on Monday and the lesson needs to be planned, set up for the craft fair is on Thursday and if I'm not there, I don't earn a living!  I do work hard at letting things not be perfect (oh, I don't really need to weave those red scarves for this fair) and starting much earlier to give myself unexpected catastrophe time at the end.  It's gotten somewhat easier, but no matter how strong the intention, I haven't yet found a natural and relaxed rhythm in my work that doesn't include "The Crisis".

Posted on Tue, 01/01/2013 - 16:41

I admire your courage.  When I left Silicon Valley for MN in the late 70's (my husband had his first professor job), I bought my Macomber and planned to be a professional weaver.  Things didn't seem quite secure enough financially with just his working, then we had kids (who are now out of college) and got a farm (now paid off) and I am only beginning to contemplate weaving professionally once again.

The prospect still really scares me.  I guess that makes me a spineless wimp.

On the other hand, I have no fear at all tackling large computer projects of my own design.  One way I make the scariness go away is that I am good at prioritizing.  For each project I divide the deliverables into must-have's, good-to-have's, and nice-but-not-vital's.  Then I work down the list.  A lot of the projects I work have a fixed time frame and budget, and I figure this in when preparing a bid.  I try to put my long days at the front of the project so that I have a contingency window at the end.  I almost never have concerns at roll-out time.

Why should weaving scare me more?  I suppose that although designing software and the hardware systems it runs on is creative, I put less of my soul into it than in my "art" weaving projects (as opposed to utilitarian pieces that are nice, original even).  I really fear the failure of rejection as much as the financial side of pieces not selling.