Sunday, November 6, 2016

What's New !?!

Someone recently asked this question on Facebook:

"does anyone read blogs anymore?"

I do.  I know I like to see what others are up to.

"what type of blogs do you read?"

The ones that are about things I'm interested in.

Over the years, my interests have changed.  I have done various crafts and arts.  Quilting.  Sewing.  Weaving.  Spinning yarn.  Making cards.  Photography.  I've also cross stitched, made holiday crafts, and lots of things along my life. I am, after all, 60 years old.

I have crafted ever since I can remember.  When I was young, I would go through the fabrics in my mother's stash, and I would make purses.  My parents didn't have much interest in me. They didn't buy me a lot of clothes.  They didn't buy me purses.  I was lucky I had dinner most nights.  That's neither here nor there, in this context.

My father worked for Kodak, when it was still in existence in Rochester, NY.  He'd bring home the end rolls of paper.  I spent HOURS using that paper in various ways.  I'd color.  I made patterns for purses.  Painting.

I also somehow talked my way into buying supplies to make candles.  I loved making candles.  The outcome was always so rewarding.

I embroidered my bell bottom jeans.  I patched holes in the clothes I had with other fabrics.  I used iron on patches.

I loved art class more than any other class in school.  I learned to weave, basket weave, and lots of other crafts.

I always wanted to earn money by doing something with my hands.  I guess I didn't know at the time, that there are colleges for people like me.  I'd have loved to go to a college that I could have tried my hands at all sorts of arts and crafts and maybe I would have found the one thing I would do the rest of my life.  However, that's not what happened.

So through the years, I've done many, many things.

I think the most rewarding so far, is weaving. I'm very proud of the clothes I've woven.  I'm also very proud that I CAN weave and make clothes, without patterns, that I can wear.  Some haven't been so successful.  Some have.

However, making money out of them, hasn't happened.  People are NOT capable of understanding why something might cost $225.  The work that goes into a jacket is not simple.  But, you can buy a jacket at a store for a lot less.  Yes, but it's not one of a kind.

I've recently been mulling over whether to give up my business license.  Because it's a dream I've had for SO very long, it's very hard for me to do that.  I'm struggling.  However, we have to pay taxes on everything I've bought wholesale, but haven't sold (mostly fiber).

The thing is, I don't know anymore, if I want to be tied down to the loom, sewing machine, and spinning wheel like I used to think I could be.  I have way too much to do in my life, and life is getting shorter day by day.

My most recent love is playing the Native American Flute, or, Native American Style Flute.  What's the difference, you ask?  Well, the difference is, a Native American Flute is a flute made by someone that is Native American.  The flute therefore, is Native American.  If the flute is made by someone that is not Native American, is not a member of a tribe, or okay'ed by a tribe, then they cannot claim a flute to be Native American.

I own 3 flutes, and I've been playing about 7 weeks.  Yep.  You read that right.  Seven WEEKS.  I have been very blessed to be able to pick up a flute and play fairly well.  I have a LONG way to go before I'm really good.  I play from the heart.  I do not play written music. I play what feels good, what comes to me to be played.
This is my first flute. It's a flute in F# made by a Native American, Raymond Wells, also known as Rainbow Walker.
This is a small flute, great for beginners, with a breathy sound, and right on key.  GREAT for beginners, and inexpensive.  $59 plus shipping.  This flute is made from cedar but he has other wood he can make flutes from.
This was my second flute. It's from a flute maker named David O'Neal, who is from NC.  He makes beautiful flutes out of all sorts of wood.
This flute is Curly Maple, with turquoise inlays, and black ebony wood for the hummingbird and surrounding each inlay.  It's not only gorgeous, it plays beautifully.  It's in the key of G, mid-range.  It has a clear, clean, crisp sound.  This is my "happy" flute.  David is not Native American so this flute is a Native American Style flute.  This flute wasn't cheap.  It was $340 and the flute stand was $80.  All totally 100% worth it.  I bought this flute in person, so it picked me and I picked it.  David came to Virginia to the Crozet Art & Craft festival in the fall, and although they have the same festival in the spring, he doesn't attend the spring festival.  Probably a good thing for me.  I can see me buying another flute from David!

This is my third flute.  This flute is in the key of low D. It was offered to me by Raymond Wells.  He had made it for a woman's hands.  It's very hard to find a low key flute small enough for women to play.  Raymond knows how to make them.  This flute is very mellow, breathy, and is good for somber playing.  I really like this flute.
This was me at the lake on a windy day.  Note the hair standing up!  As you can see, my hands are not very far apart and the flute isn't very long.  If you go on YouTube, you can search Native American Flutes and tons and tons of videos show up.  You can see how huge some of the flutes are!  A dream of mine is to one day be able to play one of those beautiful, deep, huge flutes - but you can see in the photo above, how short my arms are, and short stubby fingers I have.  I have a pretty good stretch for a short chubby old lady, but there are certain things I just cannot do!

I hope I can continue to play these beautiful instruments.  I was asked if I am Native American. I am not, nor do I claim to be.  However, you do not have to be Native American in order to play the flutes!

We have a flute circle once a month in Orange, VA, at the Orange Art Center.  It's on the second Friday of the month, at 6:30 p.m.   It's just getting off the ground, and we have some work to do in order to get it going as a true circle.   However, I have high hopes for it to grow and continue.

So, this is my newest passion. I'm still weaving and spinning yarn, knitting, and sewing.  I am having fun, feeling retired, and enjoying a beautiful Fall season here in Central Western VA.  The leaves are more colorful than they've been in years, in fact, more colorful than I ever remember here in VA.

Not the best picture, but so much more beautiful in person.
That's it for now.  I will try to post more often.....if there's even anyone out there checking in.

If you read this, thank you!

Always,
Martha

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