Just over a year ago I found myself in a place of complete burnout, not a place I had been before, or ever thought I’d ever be in. It snuck up on me pretty quickly, and began not long after I threw myself fully into a new job, just over three years ago.
Burnout took hold for a range of reasons for me, but mostly because I was over doing it at work and trying to build a home for myself. I won’t go into details here but I will say that as humans we have a limited capacity as to what we are physically and emotionally able to do alone (we need community and people around us so that we can support each other), and at the time, I could not find a way to balance what was happening. The job required all of me, and some more. I had given everything I could and I had nothing left to give to my friends, loved ones, community, or myself.
It took about a year to recover from this experience. From not being able to be social, in one on one situations or go to events, get off the couch, do the shopping, cook; to now being able to get up at 5am three times per week and walk up to the lighthouse on Australia’s most Easterly Point and watch the sunrise.
During these early morning walks I have been experiencing the golden glow of the sunrise over turquoise waters, and rocky cliffs plunging into the ocean, some with peeps of ochre colours and others with tufty grasses atop.
There were several things that aided in my transitional recovery time. A few of the main remedies for me were rest, lots of it, time in nature, and weaving/ fibre arts.
I have recently taken a new piece off the loom which I will have to say was almost completely inspired by the colour palette of my recent morning walks. This weaving is imbued with moments of gratitude I have been experiencing as I draw the salty air into my lungs, and look out to the sun rising over the ocean.
The texture you see in the ends of this shawl were inspired by Varafeldur, an old Icelandic and Scandinavian knotting technique used in weaving to create thicker warmer pieces. I used a different technique for this weave however was moved by the Varafeldur heavy textiles, the way the fleece locks bounced, it’s thickness, and overall style of the finished cloth. Photo via @plymagazine
And finally, I had wanted to weave a piece out of as much Australian only wool as possible. I sourced skeins and fleece top from a number of Australian wool farmers that have a small processing and production loop. The orange you see within both the warp and the weft is dyed with Eucalyptus Cinerea at the very farm where the Australian Polwarth sheep grew the wool. Some of the weft was hand-spun by me here in my tiny home. Eucalypt dyed skein from @tarndie
So this woven shawl is made out of the colours, fibres, and intention of healing, of gazing out into the sunrise, seeing the light, the new dawn, breathing in health, and letting go of illness. It is for you, and I hope it brings you as much joy and goodness on your journey as it did for me weaving it. It is titled ‘Ocean Mists and Ochre Cliffs.’