Happy New Year 2011 to all my readers. It was a strange New Year’s Eve – early in our day here in Seattle the New Year was already being celebrated in Hong Kong. Son Andrew happened to be in Dublin but we still sort of thought of that part of the family being in Hong Kong. Then as 2011 crept across the oceans and the continents we thought of friends in Kenya having their celebrations – maybe at the Karen Club where we celebrated the turn of the calendar for several years. It was soon time for New Year in the British Isles, and it was still only lunchtime here in Seattle. Next we knew several hours had passed and we discovered that a BIG GUITAR was about to be dropped in Nashville. We had missed the drop of the big ball in NYC. We were getting weary of New Year’s Celebrations and we still had another 2 hours to go. Well, needless to say you can guess that this year, or last year now, we did not survive to go out on the street and midnight and set off a few firecrackers, as did some of our neighbours, from the sound of things. And just think, if we had been in Hawaii we would still have had another 4 hours to anticipate the arrival of 2011. I think I would have preferred to have been in Fiji as we were in the mid-1970’s. Of course that was pre-instantworldwidecommunication. We had the usual New Year partying and then just let the rest of the world get on with it. Gerry Truscott – are you out there? Gerry, and many others, were early weaving and art friends at that point in our lives and we remember these friends and a wonderful New Year’s Eve party held at her home there in Nasese those many years ago.
Now to get to the title of this blog. It just so happened that we had an impromptu weaving session here yesterday afternoon while all that revelry was going on in more eastern parts of the world. Two of the grandchildren dropped by after a swimming session. What they were looking for was our copy of a Harry Potter dvd but we failed to find it – I wonder what box it is hiding under. The girls suddenly got a bright idea and asked if we had any cardboard. Do we have cardboard?? Yes! So we rescued a big recently emptied cardboard box from the trash, found a knife, and the girls supervised the cutting of the cardboard. Then they asked for string and I managed to find some. Meanwhile, they were cutting notches in their pieces of card. String was supplied, as was, eventually, some weft. And away they went, absorbed in their projects. After a while the desire to see Harry Potter resurfaced and they packed up and went out into the cold to search for Harry elsewhere – and then presumably to hunker down for their New Year’s Eve. Hopefully they’ll come back soon to finish their pieces.
This was a really fun session and it was all so impromptu and it was the girls who had the ideas – not imposed on them by higher authority. And I love the results so far. I thought afterward of years ago in my earlier days as a weaver and potter, I was asked to substitute teach children’s art and craft in the elementary grades of the American International School in Bangladesh. This was arranged partly through Tulu, the Art Teacher, who was going on maternity leave. Tulu had been tutoring our sons privately and I had got to know her somewhat. Tulu was a gifted art teacher and had a wonderful way with children. I had been doing volunteer work in the library at the school. So things conspired to result in my having my first paid job as an art teacher. I enjoyed that job teaching classes in grades 1-3. Weaving and pottery were activities of choice. (The pottery as a result of previously doing pottery at the Art College in central Dhaka. That was very early on when we were living in Dhanmondi and we didn’t have a car – I used to take a rickshaw to the College and potter about in the pottery department – I didn’t have a word of the Bengali language nor did the people there have a word of English. It was kind of lonely but o.k. for a while as a way of making contact.)
And to connect the circle a bit more, the interest in pottery stemmed from our art and craft activity in Fiji. We were friends with Vivienne Nelson, who was a professional potter from Australia. She gave classes and we had to go out and dig our own clay and proceed from there. At some point I also did pottery classes in Dublin with Helena Brennan, a very well known Irish potter. Craft classes are a wonderful way of making friends as well as satisfying that creative urge.