Where I’ve Been and What I’ve Been Up To

16 08 2010

I admit it. It has been a long time since I posted on this blog. Honestly, I looked at the stats and couldn’t believe I actually still had some visitors from time to time. I haven’t been updating things like Linked-In and this blog. I am one person with limited time, and when I write, I don’t write short, and there has been so much else that needed doing.

What have I done? I’ve found a way to make a living for the meanwhile. I didn’t look back to see if I had actually posted that I found an appropriate job right away that covers the bills if not much more? It’s at Cottonwood, a quilt shop, in case I haven’t, and I’ve been working there three days a week for nearly half a year now.

I got US cards made and am carrying them around and giving them out when I get the chance, except for sometimes when I forget and then kick myself. I like my cards. They’re from Vistaprint and I call myself Pocktorian Textiles, Tutoring, and Text because I’d like all three to become income streams.

I’ve hooked up with a very old friend who lives in Seattle. She mentioned she wanted to write a novel, and I’ve had one in my head since when I last lived in Charlottesville, so I made an agreement with her to write some on our novels each week and exchange. After three weeks I’m finding it works for me. Every week, I’ve added to the book-to-be.

I’ve dug out Mom’s sewing machine, though I haven’t plugged it in yet. I’m scared that after 5 years idle in the UK, it will need servicing, and I don’t have the extra money to do it, so I don’t want to know if that’s true. That makes no sense, but that’s what’s going on in my mind.

I’ve initiated something. I was disappointed to find out that Charlottesville’s First Friday is more about schmoozing and food than art, so I decided to get together with a friend and DO ART on Second Fridays. I can’t say it’s been a huge hit, but there’s been some interest and I’ve sure had fun hanging out with Andrea and I know new stuff after every one, so I’ll keep doing it.

I’m preparing to apply to Virginia Center for the Arts and for a studio at McGuffey.

I’ve made several beaded bracelets and a necklace.

I’ve painted a scarf in watercolor style.

I’ve done a decent watercolor botanical and decided that botanicals are really what I’m interested in doing in watercolors.

I’ve set up my knitting machine, though I haven’t yet done anything with it.

I’ve designed two art quilts, and used the same technique to design a scarf.

And I’ve acquired a few bits of furnishings for the house, specifically a funky computer desk to put the sewing machine on, and a bookcase. There’s another small bookcase, too, flatpack, that I need to acquire a drill to put together, dang it.

The loom is not yet unpacked. I really miss it, but there’s no room. There are still a bunch of boxes in the kitchen, in the living room, and in the bedroom, where the boxes hold our clothes for lack of anything like a dresser. Still no platform for the futon that serves as our bed either. A platform would really help for my husband who has problems with an arthritic hip, but that will come, someday.

I’ve hooked up with a vintage shop to research and compose some Ebay descriptions. Don’t really know where that’s going at the moment, but I’ve learned a lot.

I always feel like I should be much further along by now, but when I list all I have accomplished, I don’t feel so bad.

What motivated me to post now was something I heard myself say in the shop the other day. “My aim is accumulate experience, not money, and I’m succeeding.” True. But why do I feel I have to make that choice? True, and isn’t it great that I can call that success!  True. But then again, there’s a ruefulness, a joke on myself, in saying it. It’s a statement with depth, one that asked for further thought and exposition on. Perhaps I’ll write a whole post on it down the line.


Immigration and Yurts

23 01 2010

Since Tuesday, this week, Pocktorian Textiles has been in limbo, but it’s looking a bit more like it will continue one way or another.

Tuesday was when my husband and I visited an immigration advisor. I don’t think most Brits have any idea how hard it is to stay here longer than whatever initial visa you are given. They certainly seem surprised when I inform them that simply applying  for an extension entails a NON-REFUNDABLE fee of £800 PER PERSON! That assuming that you fit the criteria for extension, which you may have when you arrived, but may not if they’ve changed the criteria while you were here, which they have, in our case. Potential employment of Brits doesn’t count, only actual present employment of Brits, which Pocktorian isn’t ready for. So basically, we were told we haven’t a chance. Oh, we could apply for special consideration for only £500, but that’s non-refundable too, and our chances are so poor we shouldn’t risk the £500.

So, just when things were beginning to look good and promising, I’ve had the rug pulled out from under me. What did I do?

For two days, I was extremely sad and upset, crying a lot, even as I worked.

Then I got good and mad. “If the UK doesn’t want me, fine. Give me a week to pack and I’ll be on my way, leaving chaos behind me rather than putting any effort at all into making it easy for my landlord, the folks we pay monthly bills to, etc. etc. etc.”

Now, I’ve done a bit of enquiring as to just how much it’s going to cost up to get ourselves and a minimum of goods back to the US, not to mention building a life back up from scratch. And I may be unrealistic in my projections, but it seems to me as if I’ll be able to get the same type of business up and running even more quickly in the US with better prospects because I know from experience that Americans will buy what I make and that, face it, Norwichers, as much as they wish my project well, won’t. So as well as teaching and doing alterations and promoting other textile businesses as best I can, I will be making and selling my goods as well.

Now, for yurts. I’ve got a prospect for a textile business to join Pocktorian that is perfect for the aims of the incubator. It’s a new business. It involves sewing. And it involves felting, which means it can play a part in giving local sheep farmers a decent market for selling their goods. And it is in need of space to operate out of. Just perfect!

Yes, my prospect is a person in the process of setting up a business making yurts! He doesn’t know how to sew yet, and needs to learn to use an industrial machine, so I’ll be teaching him the basics, and if he gets started before I leave, I can help him gain mastery of the industrial one. We can work on developing his felt for insulating his yurts. And maybe he’ll be able to take over the continuation of the UK version of Pocktorian when I leave.

In other, Pocktorian news, this week I’ve sewn in a zipper by hand, gotten my sewing machine fixed, started making  the companions to the single fingerless gloves I have in three sizes, repaired an umbrella, and done the technical design and sampling for a prototype cardigan for my line.

I’m still debating with myself how to distribute my time. Should I make the most of the time I have left by using it entirely for my own makings? Should I make room for whatever alterations and tuition possibilities appear because the more money I take in, the more of our goods we can afford to take home? Or would my time be best spent packing us up to leave as soon as possible for the US. The debate has not yet been decided.