In pursuit of creativity

I had no idea it’s been over a year since I last blogged here. Amazing.

In the last year, Blonde Chicken Boutique has went through some changes:

I focused more efforts on spinning than on dyeing and have researched eco-friendly yarns which are still incredibly hard to source. When I’m looking at a yarn, I consider it’s impact on the environment in it’s creation (the sheep’s environment or if it uses recycled material) and in it’s distribution (if it has to be shipped from across the globe). This has led me to cut back on the whole “sourcing” thing and focus on finding local resources and low-impact dyeing.

During this period of research, I stopped selling dyed yarn online, for a few months, in order to properly keep up with my local orders, as I was asked to sell handpainted and handspun yarns at the local art gallery and supply shop. In conjunction with this, I held knitting and spinning demonstrations at the monthly gallery nights in March and April. Just last week, I posted some yarn online for sale, on our Etsy site.

Personally, I’ve gone through some changes too. We opened Blonde Chicken Boutique in July 06, just 15 days after moving to a new state and a new life. In the interim, my husband has become a full-time student. I changed ‘careers’ (if you can call 2 years out of college a ‘career’) and now work in an office: 8-5. I’m employed by the University that my husband attends, and as a benefit I can to take classes for free. I’m currently enrolled in Pre-MBA programs and am researching the possibility of entering an MBA program next fall.

More than all that, I’ve spent the last year searching and pursuing a definition of what it is I want to be doing with my life. I went through some times of deep confusion and real frustration. I spent much of my free time reading and writing and talking, and my knitting, spinning, dyeing and designing all fell behind. After all this, I still don’t know what I want to be ‘when I grow up’, but I do feel a real sense of purpose before along with a bit of clarity about what I want from BCB and from this blog.

Which brings me to what I’m doing here tonight:

The clarity I reached came unexpectedly. After over a year of reflection and confusion and anger at all the unknowns in my life, I had calmed down, told myself to be more zen, to take what comes. I was laying in bed on a Sunday afternoon, reading A Whack on the Side of the Head, reading about the various ‘creative geniuses’ of the world have had vast interests, specialized in nothing, learned about everything, reading that being creative was putting together a lot of disparate concepts into one new idea and it was then, reading this silly book, that I felt a whack of my own (well, maybe it was a slight tap). I’ve spent a lot of time trying to ‘narrow my options’ and figure out what one thing to commit to. Every time I come close (yes, I’ll be a French Professor or yes, I’ll own my own business) I get distracted by something else (ooo, fiber art or ooo, theology). My interests are simply not narrow and I don’t enjoy trying to limit myself to one thing. All of my other interests center and circle around one (or two) concept(s): Creativity. And Learning New Things (what would you call this? Knowledge…Wisdom…Education?)

Literature, Theology, Language, Art, Craft, History, yes: even Business: they are all about humanity’s innate desire to be creative and to express one’s view of the world. The activities I enjoy also reflect this desire for learning and expression: creating (spinning, knitting, writing, dyeing); researching, analyzing, talking. The area of Business may not seem to fit in, but trust me, it does: what is an entrepreneur doing but creating something that acts as a reflection or extension of herself?

So, my new mission is to stop obsessing over what I’m going to be doing, what I should be doing and just start researching the things I love, analyzing what I find and sharing it here. I hope to share the books I’m reading, interview people who’s creative careers I admire, study some history of creativity and the history of crafts.

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Co-op America

I’m trying to learn more about living a eco-friendly lifestyle, and for me, the hardest part is the grocery store. I can’t find a local CSA (despite cheking out Local Harvest, which I recommend) and what about all those other products we need? Shoes, clothes, dishes?

Well, Co-op America is here for us, with great resources on both unethical companies, and those who are doing their best to protect the environment.

Check it out:

Green shift:Find companies that provide socially responsible products while maintaining ethical business practices.

Responsible shopper: learn about the ethics of corporations, so you can make better decsions regarding shopping

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Carol’s Funky Scarf

fs_close, originally uploaded by charris.

I don’t know that I’ve ever been so proud of my yarn!

Go here for more pictures of what Carol did with the soysilk I custom dyed for her! Isn’t it great?

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Eco-blog: Worsted Witch

One of my favorite eco-centered blogs, the Worsted Witch just pointed out an excellent way to spread the Fair Trade chocolate love-Halloween Candy! Here’s a direct link to the post and here’s a Fair Trade Candy Kit.

I have a particular soft spot for The Worsted Witch, as she was the first blog to mention my shop, before it even opened! She also maintains an excellent list of other fair trade/socially responsibleĀ sources and informationĀ for fiber artsits, here.

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Yarn about town

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Custom yarn

Last night I concocted the above custom color for Carole. She’ll be making her Funky Scarf for the Swap with it.

I never could get a good picture of the yarn I dyed for Krista, of the Silent K, so you’ll have to see this to really admire the gorgeous color.
Do you need a customer color? Read this.

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Kenana Knitters

I love finding organizations that support traditional women’s work and find a way to provide a living for women, using these often unappreciated (and underpaid!) skills.

My new favorite find is the Kenana knitters.Kenyan women spin yarn from local sheep and then knit adorable creatures.

The stuffed animals are cute enough on their own, but add in the feel-good factor of helping your fellow woman, and you have the perfect gift for the socially responsible youngster (or young at heart) in your life!

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