Last Sunday a friend invited me to her weaving workshop. After my Sunday sleep in I wandered to her street and opened her gate. Her yard is not grass, it’s a ramblers heaven with a bark strewn winding path that takes me past a chook house to her door.
I spot her wild pineapples growing. Amazing sculptural plants – she just puts the heads of pineapples when she is finished with eating them, in the garden, no drama or big deal just places them in some dirt and look what grows! Amazing. I am going to try this at home.
Upstairs in my friend’s cottage I join a small group of women in a gentle space used only for weaving and yoga classes. Over coffee we’re coached in wrangling and weaving island vines and found objects into baskets of wild beauty.
I find it hard to understand the weaving technique from my friend’s demonstration because I learn by doing. My middle aged eyes in my reading glasses (ready for my close up weaving work) are also struggling in the low lit room to see what her fast fingers are doing. Yet with a bit of coaching from the women I pick it up, and begin weaving vine through the ribs of my basket.
It strikes me later that the process of building the frame or ribs of the basket and then consciously, carefully weaving it’s body into place, is somewhat like what I am attempting to do as a childless single woman. I am trying to consciously create a life for myself out of the bare bones of my life (work, home, repeat), in a way that women with children do not seem to have to do. They seem to work, go home, repeat but also have a rich textured deeply layered family life that softens and comforts and adds flesh to their bare bones. At least that is how it seems when viewed from the outside. My existence seems thinner. Barer somehow. Like I am more ribs or bones than soft skin, breath and tender textures. We childless ones have to very consciously weave magic into the bones of our lives just as I am weaving this vine onto the ribs of my basket. I am consciously, carefully, as I weave, as I live, making adjustments when plans don’t work out, taking beauty where I find it and finding ways to fill the gaps.
We pause for a hearty lunch of potato and leek soup with pumpkin bread, then continue our alchemy.
My basket is weaved from cat’s claw growing wild on my island and an old orange fishing net crusted with shells and coral. Lilybelle my island cat thinks it will make a very cosy cat bed!