Introducing a Change

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There is no denying nature’s power. While we humans and all living things must take precautions against extreme weather, especially those people who live on fault lines and in dangerous storm zones, at the end of it all, Earth is going to do whatever it is going to do. We are here, sometimes holding on for dear life, and simply along for the ride. While I realize that individuals must have a variety of responses and emotions surrounding extreme weather, including fear, frustration, awe, curiosity, anger, confusion, I draw a great deal of inspiration from knowing that the forces of nature and the universe are going to keep on working, shifting, changing and evolving around me and long after I am gone.

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I share this snippet of a personal belief I have held throughout my life because I have become surprised by my responses to my own extreme weather challenges. Some of you may have heard me speak about the frozen pipes, dye baths and water filters that set Viola back last winter. Like any busy person with their mind focused on work, I set about fixing the problems and (I thought) making improvements to ensure work could continue smoothly in the future. With the arrival of colder temperatures this year, a new set of problems has emerged, and compounding the problem this year is the fact that I also feel a massively increased pressure to produce more yarn than ever before. My initial response was similar to last year, I stubbornly battled my way through fried electrics, more frozen pots, steam damage, mould and continually broken or breaking stoves and water filters. All the while, I believing that I needed to force the studio to continue working in extreme conditions of cold and to be even more productive than it had ever been before. I displayed a human tendency that I have always feared, I tried to control nature.

Why did it take me so long to remember my own values? Why did I try to force a broken situation to work for so long, while it caused me immense stress? Why did I try to force nature to make an exception for me and my work?

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Complete emotional, mental and physical exhaustion has finally allowed me to begin to see clearly again. I am emerging from well over a year of working long hours, seven days a week. Please know that I am not fishing for sympathy al all, the only person who forced this work on me was was myself. However, I allowed myself to be carried away in a direction that I don’t want to move in, telling myself what I know to be true, small business owners need to constantly push themselves and work gruelling, exhausting hours in order to barely keep up.

Viola began with my own curiosity and experimentation. Not with a goal of creating a successful business. While I am thankful every day for the fact that I have been able to support myself for nearly ten years through my own creativity and hard work, the fact remains that I do this for the creative process. I dye yarn because I am curious about the colours I see in the world each day. If I am not able to feed this creative part of myself, I will not be able to continue dyeing yarn at all. I won’t want to.

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All of this is to say that Viola is a small, creative business, with the emphasis on creativity. Over the next few months, I hope to make the time to write down and share information about my process, intentions, conflicts, struggles as well as the things that I have learned. I am working on a follow-up to this blog post, which I wrote, almost two years ago, with genuine intention and feel I have since strayed from.

Viola’s mission statement may well be unconventional. I’m still considering the words I would like to use, but I expect it should read something like this…’A slow study of the colours, movement and experience of nature painted on yarn’

I have a lot more to share about my recent thoughts, experiences and plans for the future, and believe I am at the beginning of real change within myself and Viola. Thank you for reading and more to come.

Emily xo

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