I’ve recently been spending a lot of time with professional craftspeople and teachers, and as the weather cools and the winter solstice hovers just around the corner, there is much discussion of our winter hibernation.
Now when most people think of hibernation, they think of the winter slumber of bears, or the below-zero body temperatures of the arctic ground squirrel. But when craftspeople speak of hibernation, we’re thinking of that cold, dark time of year, when most people are hunkering down, but when we are active and excited – hard at work next to the vibrant heat coming from the wood stoves in our shops. We’re thinking of the conversations with other craftspeople, the freedom and time to create new things or try out different methods, the excitement and joy of catching up from the last year and hopefully getting ahead for the next.
The life of a craftsperson, especially one just getting started, is a busy and often overwhelming one. We’re still striving to perfect our craft, but are also engaged in so many other interesting endeavors, some of us may be working another job to make ends meet, we’re trying to figure out the markets for what we make, what stores are a good fit for our products and which art/craft festivals are supportive of our work. Sourcing materials may still be a struggle as we try out different suppliers or harvest methods, and packaging and shipping orders may yet be inefficient until we have the appropriate setup. Spring, summer, fall, and early winter are filled with teaching at Folk Schools, selling at festivals, working seasonal jobs, accepting custom orders, and stocking up for the winter holiday rush.
And so after the holidays have passed, when the world is dark and cold, we feel a weight lifted, free to create, pursue our passions and refresh our minds and spirits for the coming year.