At the end of December, many people decide they want change. They make their New Year’s resolutions, and on January 1st they throw themselves into trying to make change happen, abruptly. The human system does not like abrupt change, and by the middle of January most of the New Year’s resolutions are already lost by the wayside.
For a natural dyer or fiber artists, one potential resolution might be to buy less new material, or no new material. Well, that works until you have something in mind, but either don’t have, or can’t find the right material to do it. Also, the goal is open ended. “Less material” might just mean one yard less than last year…! The human brain is excellent at working its way around well-meaning but unwanted obstacles.
Organizing for the Best Year Ever:
You can have every tool, for your craft, in the world. But, if you can’t find the tool you need when you need it, you may as well not have it. Organizing is as important in life, as it is in fiber arts, art studios, natural dye conventions, and other areas.
For example, say you resolve to only work from your stash for the first three months of the New Year. If your stash is disorganized, and you don’t even know what you have, how long will that resolution last? The siren song of the neatly organized rows in the yarn or fabric store may well soon be heard.
Organizing is essential to starting the New Year off well. Whether that means organizing your stash, or bookshelf, or your closets and cupboards, being prepared for the New Year will help you stick to any resolutions you decide to make.
Planning for the Best Year Ever:
It is an old saying that “failing to plan is planning to fail.” Resolutions are all well and good, but how many times does one plan out how one will meet the resolution goal? Will power alone won’t make your resolutions succeed.
Any resolution should be concrete. “Get healthier” is not a good New Year’s resolution. How can you measure follow through and progress? “Double natural dye usage and halve acid dye usage, as compared to last year” is a more concrete resolution. As long as you know how much dyeing you did last year, you can measure and adjust for the New Year.
Knowing where you’ve been is half the battle in knowing how to move forward.
Start with your biggest goal, and then break it down into achievable steps. Take each of those steps, and give yourself a concrete date or timeframe in which to accomplish them. This will help the goals become achievable, and increase your likelihood for having the best year ever.
Evaluating what happened in previous years is also essential for making this next year your best ever, even in just a small area like your garden. Knowing the challenges of last year will enable you to plant to prevent them this year. If your biggest challenge was weeds last year, planning a heavy mulching scheme this year will help prevent that and give you a better garden year. If seeds did not germinate well, evaluating your seeds, and their growing zones, and doing germination tests before ordering new seeds will improve that problem.
Choosing to have the Best Year Ever:
Change is never easy. Choosing healthier foods, more sustainable clothing, and more earth friendly colors and dyes is never easy. Making changes is also never easy, but are the rewards worth the challenges and difficulties?
When the difficulties rise, the reason why you choose your changes is what will help you continue.
Choosing more sustainable clothing options may mean that you are never exactly matching “this season’s” styles. But it may also mean that you do not have to worry about your clothing going out of style, as long as you have chosen a few timeless pieces. Timeless pieces may well cost more than the in-fashion, but their durability and lasting style will end up working to the advantage of your wallet, as well as your wardrobe and the earth.
Using natural dyes instead of chemical dyes is also a challenge. The colors are often less brilliant, some are fugitive, others are expensive, and some are finicky to work with. At the same time, natural dyes are unique, fun, and safe health-wise, and you can often grow them yourself. Which set of benefits do you prefer, brilliant consistent colors, with the health dangers of chemical dyes, or the more challenging and variable natural dye colors with their lack of health and earth dangers?
In this New Year, set your goals, plan your progress, and the why behind your goals and changes. Then, be prepared for your best year ever.
Back To You:
What are you looking forward to next year? Do you have project, garden, or health plans that have you excited and eager for the New Year?