I have always liked that thought. The idea that beauty is seen by each person differently. I am just now learning this also applies to my art.
Some of you know by now that I spin yarn, weave, felt and have a million knitting projects going at once. Those who know me well know that I prefer to use natural fibers and processes. When I started my business I had lofty goals of not using harsh dyes, cleaning solvents or even much electricity. Now, almost a year later, I still cling to those ideals.
Sometimes, though, I feel as if I am on a sinking ship in a sea of compromise.
You see, I could stock my shop faster if I ordered already carded fiber and spun yarn. I have ordered roving when my time was at a premium and I knew the process it went through. I prefer to buy fleeces and “process” them myself but i harbor a secret fear of not getting products made for you fast enough.
I envy the ease of ordering yarn and not spinning it myself, especially when there are types I can not spin yet. I dream of opening a box of white yarn and splashing color everywhere. Sometimes when I search online for un-dyed yarn my hubby leans over and bursts my idea bubble. He says: “Sure you can order that mill spun, but that isn’t who you are. It isn’t who your business is.” Once he even told me I would have to change the mission statement behind Sissy’s Spinnings. (I’d like to wallop him but he is bigger than me.) I must acknowledge he is right, ordering commercial yarn isn’t “me” and it certainly doesn’t fit the model of my business. It also betrays a promise I made to myself and more importantly to my customers.
Allow me to give you an example. My mother is a diva in the bath and beauty world. She makes incredible soaps, lotions, lip balms etc. She prefers to use essential oils versus fragrance oils. We have talked about this compromise many times and my stance is always the same. I tell her that she needs to be true to herself and not compromise because “that’s what sells”. That is what sets her apart from the run of the mill melt and pour soapers out there. Yes there are people who pass her by because they found cheaper soap from another person. What mom sells isn’t cheap but it is hers. My mom has a following of customers that purchase her products and come back for more.
So, yes, it would be easier for me to order commercially mill spun yarn and dye it. It would be easier to use a bottle of dye instead of researching plant dyes. It would be faster too. It just wouldn’t be me. I simply can not in good conscience offer you a product that I haven’t poured myself into from the beginning. I need to know from sheep to you exactly what has been done to that fiber. (Perhaps I am a closet control freak) I find a strange joy in “powering’ my carder and wheel by hand (foot?). I love the inconsistencies of hand spun yarn. My shop may not have brand new items every week and I may not be able to undersell my competitors.
If you find beauty in the natural world. If you find joy in products that are eco-friendly. Or even if you simply like an item I make. I will be here, slowly creating things for you. I promised you, my customer, that I would keep things simple and I will keep that promise.
May you find beauty in your world no matter how you see it.
I want to apologize in advance if this offends anyone. I am not trying to degrade anyone else’s work. I am simply offering my own struggle to keep with my ideals and still bring you beautiful products in a timely fashion. This is not a post on why natural is better than commercial, or any such thing. This is me acknowlaging that I could sell products faster if i didn’t do all the work from sheep to end product. Please take it in the spirit in which it was written.