Looking more and making less.
I’m continually questioning whether I need to make more stuff, dye more yarn, weave more fabric. Should I be selling anything at all? If the Covid19 epidemic has taught me anything it is that being totally physically isolated from your friends, family and people in general makes life seem fairly worthless. Weird how the fear of being too close to anyone for the 6 weeks of isolation became the norm. At least I had someone to share my ‘bubble’ with. Many people didn’t. It did give us time to assess what things we do and don’t need in our current lives and also maybe somewhat morbidly wonder which of us or our family members would be left with the clearing out of our house should we fatally succumb to the virus. Which I guess is still a risk since we don’t know how long the virus will stay controlled here.
I don’t have space for lots of possessions living in a small house. Things have accumulated over the years but we’ve slowly moved out the detritus left after the kids left home. There is still some things that need to go. Mostly though we have shopped and furnished our home of twenty years with stuff from garage sales, secondhand stores and the recycling centre. Our crockery and cutlery came mostly preowned. Only the whiteware was new. I admit that most rooms are on the shabby side of chic! The fire is an old battered looking Fisher wood burner which still valiantly does its job. We’re warm and cosy in our 1960’s wooden rimu ex-state house but certainly not stylish. I guess I’d call our style habitable bijou and it’s comfortable enough by our standards. We have no leaks, we maintain the exterior paintwork and we will one day replace the two cracked panes of glass and do up the bathroom. We’ve also been mortgage free for the past ten years.
Our house costs are reasonable because we don’t have a dryer, dishwasher, kids at home or more than one living space to heat. We’ve learnt to conserve water and particularly are careful about how much grey water goes into our septic tank. Old small septic tanks were built before washing machines. I guess when we move on from here the next owners will probably burn it down to build something new since the section it’s on is large.
I can’t help but be a little shocked at the sheer size of much the new housing being built in our rural coastal area. Our house would fit into some of the garages! We have a neighbour who has built a house of large proportions on the hill above us to house just two people. It seems so easy to borrow big sums of money to put into a mortgage. Your house must be your castle! Imagine all the cleaning required….
If anything I’d like to live in something even smaller still than we’ve got, preferably with no gardening required other than maybe a small veggie plot. Perhaps we should plant even more trees where we are so we don’t need to mow anymore. I do appreciate the sheds for all the messy dyeing and soaking plant dye material I do.
Craftwise I’m moving to reducing some of my excess equipment too. The one extra Loom ( the big one has gone to a weaver already). I’ll keep one of the floorlooms. I’m down to two spinning wheels from four. I need to continue reducing my craft books too. There’s a sense of relief and freedom from not desiring or wanting to buy new things. Enjoying what I have. Lifting my spirits come from walking along a beach, reading a book, spinning a yarn, seeing our kids, spending time with a friend. Weaving a shawl, spinning a fleece.
The simple life is deceptively hard to achieve. The fact that so many bills are due for what seems like invisible costs and which you have no power over such as council rates, electric charges, interest on loans, insurance, acc, tax, fuel, heating , food etc. Being content with what you have and who you are isn’t easy either with so much influence from elsewhere as well as your inner voice saying your life and you are not enough. Its a life’s work to achieve.
Losing myself in really simple creative tasks, mixing and blending together dyes, collecting leaves, winding yarn, carding fibres, washing raw fleeces. It’s grounding but has potential to be turned into something special. It measures time with something real and tangible.