I had lived in our log home in the WI northwoods for 23 years, with my husband, who passed away nearly 15 years ago, and our children, who grew up and are now off living their lives, as they should. Over the past few years it was too big a house to live in alone with just memories, and maintenance of it was more than I could continue doing. Loneliness, depression, and sadness were taking a big toll. I had stopped weaving or doing anything.
Suddenly, in April, things changed,… it was time to move, and move forward in life!
My daughter and daughter-in-law called and asked what I thought of moving in with them, an idea they thought would be good for all of us. They had talked it over for three days, then called and made the offer saying they thought it would work fine for everyone. I took two or three days to consider it, decided I had lost my mind, and accepted.
Then came serious downsizing, moving from a 2,600+ SF house to a bedroom in a small house and my weaving studio in a building across the driveway. So began the packing, selling, giving, donating, and disposal of about 40 years of belongings. I am still not done, there is now a storage unit full of stuff, but I am working on it.
On Mother’s Day weekend I moved my personal belongings into my new bedroom/sitting room. Myself, 2 dogs, and 2 cats, now living together with two other adults, their 3 dogs and 2 cats! I need to continue paring down to essentials, and that will include selling 3 looms and a few other items. The house will be on multiple listing today, so hoping someone likes it enough to buy it and enjoy living there as we did.
The first truckload was all the looms, equipment, shelf units, and so on. Looms were quickly reassembled after figuring out which would sit where, taking into consideration height requirements (ceilings aren’t as high here), ability to use a trapeze for warping, and so on.
The building was originally built by a potter, and what is loosely termed “the garage” was where his kiln was located. Over the years there was also a sign business, then a real estate office. The most recent reincarnation has been “Eagle River Gallery” owned and run by my daughter-in-law Char (woodworker, sign maker and more – Heirloom Custom Wood Designs) and daughter Sarah (stone jewelry maker – Celtic Wolf Studio). And now home to Shuttle Works Studio! Thanks to Char, we now each have our own sign hanging under the large Eagle River Gallery sign, at 836 W. Pine Street, (Hwy. 70 W.), Eagle River, WI 54521.
My looms and work area take up most of the building, but we are keeping the room you enter as the gallery space to display and have our own work for sale.
In the studio portion I have a long workbench, part now used as the “office,” the rest for sewing, cutting, or other creative work. There is a tiny kitchen, and a room now known as “The Library,” where my weaving/spinning/dyeing/felting/fiber art reference library lives.
The Northwoods Art Tour is coming up fast, July 26-28, and I have no weaving to display and sell! Clearly I need to get the Glimakra Standard warped and some weaving done to have for sale. The Regina tapestry loom and a band loom will also be warped and weaving in progress in time for the art tour.
The drawloom will be a “work in progress,” as I expect I’ll be making the upper and lower heddle “bits” for the maillons and lingos to hang on, then add the heavy counterweights. Right now it is doubtful the drawcord and weaving warps will be wound and on the loom, let alone be threaded, but as I say, in progress. I have samples here to show what can be woven on drawlooms. By the fall art tour, Oct. 11-13, weaving will be underway on that loom, too. Spinning and sock machine demonstrations will also be available.
I still have some things to remove from the old house, but overall, that is nearly done. I will be keeping regular studio hours, 10 AM to 4 PM, Wednesday through Sunday, giving me a couple days available for any appointments or necessary shopping. Mondays and Tuesdays are by appointment or change, meaning, if the lights are on and Open sign lit, we are open!
I just heard the studio doorbell, turned around, and it was a guild member who knew I was moving but didn’t know the new studio location. She also said she had someone in her knitting shop last week asking about weaving instruction, and that I should consider teaching. And I am considering it,… weaving, spinning, wet-felting. and indigo dyeing.
I am really looking forward to regular daily hours in my new studio space, accomplishing a lot of weaving, and learning. If you are in the area, please stop in and visit!
6 thoughts on “Moving Forward”
Wishing you the best in your new home and studio!
Thank you, Meredith! As much as I loved living in the log home/studio, it was time for a change and I am enjoying life in my new home and studio space. I went from living surrounded by nature and no homes within sight, to living in a small town on a highway, busy in summer with tourists. Noise has been the biggest change but I’m getting used to it. Good to shake things up once in a while!
I’m certain it was difficult for you to leave your home Jan but am happy for you and your new venture!
Thank you, Susan! Nostalgia for the old home but I was ready to leave a year or more ago, so it has been surprisingly easy. The hardest part was disposing of so many belongings but it was past time for that, too. My new studio space is all wood inside, LOL, I can’t seem to get away from it! But it is very fitting with the Swedish looms, spinning wheels, yarns, and books. A nice, cozy feeling here, and gray barn wood in the small gallery area. After I finish getting more organized and looms have weaving in progress, or in case of drawloom, getting it ready, I’ll be postitng photos of new area, and new weaving. Now waiting for Char to finish my Norwegian-style warp-weighted loom. And wouldn’t you know, those 3-4 books on that topic are missing yet from the move!
Jan, I have been reading your blog since we met at VavStuga…. interesting to see how our lives change as we move up on the “chronological superiority” scale. Hope your new place suits you to a T, much less chopping wood and shoveling (that’s a good thing!). Best of luck. Diane
Forgot to mention. My hubby has constructed 8 warp-weighted looms for the MN Weaver’s Guild this past year. Melba Granlund has been teaching the classes [so of course, I had to sign up 🙂 ]. She will be and has already transported them around the state for classes. It certainly is an interesting way to weave (the standing is good exercise…)