Artwork, Chronic Illness

Weaving Fabric, Weaving Health

Fabric 1 • 3x3.5” • Handspun wool, cotton, tall grass from the yard.


I handspun the wool back in 2006 using a drop spindle. It was my first attempt at spinning and the resulting yarn is very wonky. I got the brown roving from Kelly at Dominion Fleece & Fibre, who is still selling an assortment of Canadian sheep wool and yarn from interesting breeds.

Those of you who follow my art making account on Instagram will notice I haven’t done any encaustic* in a while. Unfortunately, my health has plummeted, again, as it does every year around this time, and encaustic work requires a certain baseline amount of energy that I don’t have. I’ve had to adjust to art forms that are doable from bed. Encaustic is definitely not one of them!

Even though I have a bed table that allows me to do some “messier” artwork like collage, I have pulled back a bit from that too. This is because in my experience, when things get really bad, the repetitive hand motion of stitching (or weaving) is much more therapeutic. Simple, non-taxing, repetitive hand motions like these allow me to connect into my body when the urge to “run away” into my mind and the sympathetic branch of the nervous system (fight/flight) is strong. They are a way to keep coming back again and again, even for brief moments, to a felt sense of safety and the parasympathetic.

I used to think that art therapy was just a mental health thing, but I understand now that it is bodymind. 

*Encaustic is an art form that uses a hot wax medium made of beeswax and tree resin. It can be used as-is or mixed with pigment to paint. The word encaustic is derived from the Green encaustikos, meaning “to burn in.”

This entry was posted in: Artwork, Chronic Illness
Tagged with: ,

Support My Work

My work is reader supported. I want everyone, regardless of means to have access to my content so I have decided not to put anything behind a paywall. Your contribution makes it possible for me to keep creating for everybody. Thank you, Gayla