Monday, July 21, 2008

Small Town Life

I spotted this sign in Fort Garland, CO right on Highway 160 on my way to Taos to meet with some weaving friends. Fort Garland is only a few miles from my current home. I was struck by the small-town assumption that people would know where Tina's house was. There were no other signs or balloons to mark the yard sale anywhere in line of sight. I guess I haven't lived in the San Luis Valley long enough to know Tina personally. I hope her yard sale went well.

Living in rural Colorado or New Mexico where I have spent the last few years has a lot to teach me. I have more time to look at the landscape--often while driving long distances to work or meet with friends or family. I was wondering about how our environment leads us to choose certain things--a way of building a house or perhaps a color of yarn or technique for the next work of art. Definitely the landscape leads me question what building methods I use when discussing building a house or a studio (hopefully some day soon)... I have always wanted to build a straw bale house and I think this comes partly from growing up in New Mexico where the sky is big and you feel more connected to the ground. A straw bale house feels grounded. The walls are thick and the air inside is cool and quiet in the summer and warm and quiet in the winter. The walls are covered with mud and it fits into the landscape. I imagine the porch where I can watch the thunderstorms in August and dye my yarn. And I wonder if I'll put little designs or perhaps broken tiles into the mud as decoration to make it my own.

Yarn choices also stem from my environment more than I would guess. NM and the San Luis Valley encourage my sensual addiction to yarn and color. Somehow it is a place that feels more real to me than the suburban neighborhood I lived in with manicured lawns in Reno, NV. Somehow experiencing the dirt, the rock, and the cactus under my feet every time I step out the door as well as watching the clouds moving across the Sangre de Cristos, hugging 14,000 ft. Mt. Blanca connect me to the land and maybe to myself. This probably doesn't work for everyone, but for me it is an important part of my life. Somehow yarn is part of that sensual connection. I love nothing better than going to Village Wools or Serendipity and feeling the yarn, imagining knitting a scarf or wondering how that dyed-in-the-fleece yarn would change the look of my tapestry.