The Golden Hour: The Story Behind the Collection

The bright summer sun melts quickly, like our homemade ice cream, into the horizon and the hot day makes way for a humid Kansas night. The light blue afternoon sky begins to fade and shades of yellow, orange, and pink dance in the west. The activity of the day slows down and an evening filled with conversation and laughter begins as we settle into our chairs and our cold drinks on the front porch of my parents’ house.

We listen to stories we’ve heard before but love none the less. We talk about books and Hemmingway, music (including Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, and my dad’s new found appreciation of Jason Isbell), and movies (mostly comparing Midnight in Paris to Somewhere in Time). We talk about everything from business and budgeting, to parenting, and our experiences with moving away and living far from family.

We talk about life and love and loss.

We sit on the porch until the stars come out and the magical golden hour light is long gone.

Even though the stars are now twinkling above us, this time we share together is still our golden hour…

It has taken me a little while to wrap my head and heart around what is happening, but I think I’ve finally come to accept this season of life we are  currently living.

My dad has cancer.

From the moment a cancer diagnosis came into my life, it changed me. I wanted to grasp for meaning, for anything that could possibly explain why. I didn’t know what to do with all the of feelings I was experiencing- I definitely didn’t want to talk about it. I wanted to pretend I was ok and I wanted to be a source of strength for my mom, dad, and my sisters. I can picture the ‘put on a brave face’ side of myself shoving these feelings into a bottle, tossing it into the ocean, and watching it drift off into the vast open waters. The problem is that eventually, the bottle will wash up onto shore. Someone will find it, pop the cork, and the contents will start to spill out everywhere. And it did- when I’d least suspect it, someone would ask about how things were going and I’d desperately try to hold myself together. 

No one knows when our time on this earth may come to a close but when someone you love is going through something like this, it really opens your eyes to the importance of each day. It took me some time to realize that, as hard as this may be, it could also be seen as a motivation to be present and show up for life. Instead of thinking of what the next few years may bring, I’m coping by taking in every phone call, every conversation, every cup of coffee I get to have with my dad. I ask hard questions, even though I may not really want to hear the answers. When I start to feel my mind drifting towards a darker path, I stop what I’m doing and I call him. We might just talk about the day, but I feel better. I know I’m taking in my life with him in it and not wasting time with worry about what may come.

I started this as a way to take in time with my dad but I think the idea of ‘showing up’ has become a continuous theme in conversations with family and friends as well. What if you showed up, and asked the hard questions and had the meaningful conversations (whether about big life stuff or just about your day) without needing something like cancer to jump start it? Why not treat each day, each moment as if it were your golden hour? Slow down, settle in, laugh and talk, and watch the beauty unfold around you.

Keep Filling the Page

The countdown starts, the champagne cork pops, the ball drops.

3…2…1…

“Happy New Year!”

Hugs and kisses are shared under a snowstorm of confetti…

At least that’s what I see on tv as I’m cozied up with my husband and new pup on the couch while our sweet four year old rings in the new year snuggled up in her bed with her Elmo. As we sit and watch, we also talk about what we want out of 2019- family goals, work goals, personal goals. We dream about what we want to achieve by this time next year.

For many, myself included, the beginning of a new year feels like a fresh start after the splurge of the holidays. In a way, it can feel like hitting a reset button.

It’s the same feeling I used to get when my mom took us shopping for back-to-school supplies- the clean pages of planners, notebooks, and sketchbooks, the unsharpened pencils, and crayons that actually had pointed tips.

My favorite was (and still is) opening up a new sketchbook. Everything was so new and bright. Nothing but potential filled the pages. There were so many untold stories and artwork still to be imagined that would eventually cover the sheets of paper.

Even though the sketchbook was empty- it was filled with so much possibility, so much hope, so much life yet to be colored in.

I loved that feeling.

For some reason though, I haven’t been as enthusiastic about the start of 2019. I think it’s because each year that passes seems to move faster than the one prior. Time keeps speeding up and I catch myself grasping for every last minute of the day as it slips out of my hands. When you have a sweet preschool age kid who seems to grow inches overnight and a dad who is going through cancer treatments- you definitely want your days (and years) to slow down. I was feeling anxious about what the year would bring and was kind of a mess on New Year’s Day…

That night as I was trying to fall asleep, I realized that starting a new year is like buying a new sketchbook. The fresh, crisp pages just waiting to be covered in doodles and drawings… waiting to have purpose.

I realized that when starting a new sketchbook (and also, for me at least, starting the new year of 2019), the possibility, the hope, the life yet to be colored in is always there… but sometimes you have to make yourself fill the pages.

Its easy to let them remain blank because of fear or because you don’t know what to do. It can be way too easy to leave that sketchbook on the bookshelf and never do anything with it because you’re so afraid of the messes you might make or the mistakes you may need to scratch out.

But at what cost? You will have given up on the potential of the blank sheet of paper. When you don’t know what to do, just pick up a pencil (or yourself) and draw something (do something). When you’re feeling afraid, just grab a paintbrush (or yourself) and paint something (do something). When you’re worried about the messes or mistakes you might make, just take your time, be thoughtful, and pick up a pen (or yourself) and sketch something (do something).

Continue sketching and covering each sheet of paper (keep making memories, continue to love and to be grateful for each day).

The point of that sketchbook, and life for that matter, is to simply fill the page.

When its time to just enjoy the ride

Have you ever set out on a road trip with an idea of what sights you’re going to see, where you’ll overnight, what restaurants you’d like to try… probably, right? You usually pick a destination you’d like to visit, search for the must-see spots, book a place to stay, and then pack up the car or suitcase. You have your map and itinerary, your tours are planned, museums and special exhibits are mapped out so you don’t miss anything. The car is gassed up and ready to go or plane ticket is purchased and you’re checked in. Everything is planned. You are ready for the adventure to begin.

But what makes it so adventurous if everything is mapped out and you know exactly where you’re going?

What happens when you veer off course a little? Do you panic because things haven’t gone as planned or do you relax, roll down the windows, turn up the music, and just enjoy the ride?

 Yellow Bird Textile Co. is my adventure.

At the beginning of the year, when I started planning and working on this business, I had a destination in mind. I had a clear vision of where it would go, what I would be offering my clients, color palettes, and I even had ideas for future collection names. There was an image I wanted to project and a lifestyle and look I wanted to cater towards.

Over the past few months, I’ve been able to take a step back. I took a little time off from social media, from creating new products, from updating my website… I know it sounds a little counterintuitive to take a time out as a new business but I wanted to make sure that the art I am creating and the handmade business I’m promoting is 100% me. As an artist and creator, I only want to put out work that feels authentic to my clients but it also needs to feel authentic when I’m creating it. I realized that I may have been planning my business and basing my design decisions on what I thought would sell and not necessarily on what art and designs I want (or need?!) to put out into the world.

Moving forward, into 2019, Yellow Bird Textile Co. will be full of more thoughtful designs that better reflect my personality and style. You can look forward to seeing much more color, more one of a kind designs, and more options- like pillow covers that can be bought without an insert. Items will be posted more often- no more waiting for a ‘collection’ to launch!

I absolutely love creating things for all of you- I think I would go crazy without this outlet! On a personal level, I’m excited to give myself permission to work from a more intuitive place. I’m such a planner so veering a little off course from the original itinerary will be new for me. I’m not worried about getting to the final destination… for now I’m ready to roll down the windows, turn up my tunes, and I’m going to enjoy the ride.

Weaving: trendy or timeless?

You can’t scroll through Instagram or Etsy without seeing something handwoven right now. I know you’ve seen them- the beautiful wall hangings made with the soft, fluffy, cloud-like yarn and roving. Some are full of rich colors, others are more muted, soft pastels- there are so many choices out there. Who wouldn’t want one hanging in their living room?! But is this just a trend? Will the handwoven wall hanging or pillow be something we look at fifteen years from now and say “Oh my, do you remember that??” (think sponged wall treatment of the 90’s). Or will it be around for us to enjoy for a while longer?

Although weaving has recently become a trend in the crafty, handmade marketplace; people have been producing handwoven items like thatch roofs, baskets, and cloth for thousands of years. The evolution of weaving and the way things have been woven over the years absolutely fascinates me. From the very basic plaiting or braiding to using a simple frame loom, Jacquard looms, and the larger industrial looms (that most likely made the fabric you’re wearing as you read this)- the process has evolved alongside humankind. Early on, weaving was something necessary for survival. It was how our ancestors were able to provide clothing and basic shelter as protection from the elements. It eventually was viewed as more of an art form as artists like Anni Albers, Gunta Stölzl, and many others from the Bauhaus movement brought it to a new level. I guess you could say that today, we have the best of both worlds. We have the technology to produce fabric with high durability to use in everyday life on our sofas, as bedding, rugs, and clothing but we also have individual weavers who produce amazing pieces of art for us to enjoy as well.

So, will this weaving trend last?

Yes. 

Because I’m a weaver, you may think it’s just wishful thinking but let me explain. I don't believe weaving is a trend; it's a timeless art form. Styles do come and go. Colors, patterns, and even the fiber content of the woven item may be popular and ‘on trend’ now but then may seem dated next year (I have some thoughts on following trends too closely but that’s another post for another day!!). It might not always be the 'it' craft project to try, however, the art of weaving will last. We will continue to make woven goods. There will still be artists and designers who create works of art, whether it be a beautifully woven scarf, pillow, or wall hanging. We may be inspired to weave with different colors, new yarns, new textures, and different patterns but we will still be creating. The art and process of weaving will continue to grow along with us as it has for thousands of years.

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