Dahlia Drive: a year in Masset
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Dahlia Drive Believes


I am a grateful imbiber of the low key Christmas season in Masset;  lots of craft fairs with multitudes of hand knit “haida” toques (below), home made baking and free turkeys (yes, FREE to every Masset resident) but few lights, flyers or addictive shopping opportunities. 
I bought two beautiful and finely crafted handmade gifts from a woman in Old Massett (I will show pictures next month!).  I was moved by the artist’s response to having her work purchased.  Her visible pride and honour reminded me of my own feelings when someone buys a Dahlia Drive piece; an immense gratitude that one’s work has been validated.  She told me about her next project and I witnessed how the validation fuelled her confidence to commit to future projects.  Please buy local.  Please acknowledge that each purchase is a gift of confidence to the maker’s creativity, a creativity that is, at its very core, the foundation for a booming local and greener economy.
I will sorely miss my Sons and Kelsey and Kennedy this Christmas.  This Masset adventure breaks the Christmas “habit” (more on that later) and pulls at my heart. Sandy and I plan to take surfing lessons and will be house/dog sitting for a local friend.  The extra space is a welcome holiday!
This season I will hold tight the vision of Russell’s young family’s first Christmas and Duncan’s confident step into his own holiday traditions while Sandy, Radar and I walk the massive beaches here, gathering the gifts from the sea.

Sandy shot a deer so we are eating lots of venison.  It is delicious, tender and I give thanks to that deer every bite.  I am more conscious of being thankful when the animals I am eating live so visually and viscerally close at hand; we see its relatives everyday.  As a result, we are motivated to buy our vegetables, eggs, chicken and pork from the Mennonite farmers near Port Clement (perhaps Van Riesen/Friesen relations from Manitoba?).  All in all, the circuit of connection is very tangible here, perhaps because there is less space between us and the natural world (hunter/gatherer practices) yet more space (time) to wonder at how everything connects. For example, Sandy woke up in the middle of night and knew what time it was!  Say what? The tide floods or ebbs ever 6 hours and Sandy knew the water turned to ebb at 12:00 am.  When he awoke, the water was creating a distinct lapping sound on the boat, a sound it only makes when it is running its fastest, near the end of the ebb tide. Therefore, when he woke up and heard the particular sound, he knew it was about 5:30 am.  Bang on.

Sandy has handled more textiles than I have lately, deconstructing thrift store crochet squares, chopping them in our coffee bean grinder and making fluff for his new obsession: fly fishing flies.
I bought the Chick star on our Christmas tree deer from an adorable 10 year old girl at a craft sale.  I shot tree Blitzen.

Dahlia Drive had a very successful sale at Circle Craft.  I am very thankful for all the people who stopped by my booth.  Every year the business grows and I am so grateful. Here in Masset I have moved from my wee ‘store’ and put my wares in three different locations on the island:  Chown River Gallery (Masset), Sitka Studio (Tlell) and Funk it (Queen Charlotte City).  Send your Haida Gwaii peeps!
The new “happi” design collaboration with an indigenous artist is in the works.  I did a sample of my own design as a test when I was at the studio for Circle Craft. What do you think?  Would you be interested in a floor length version as well?
My personal development has been wildly enhanced by my work with AlAnon and by a book called “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg.  I don’t know about you, but there are some habits I have tried to alter for years and this book gives me tremendous hope. 
“ My first act of free will will be to believe in free will.”  William James
The book documents that the power for change lies in recognizing the cue, routine and reward for any habit and altering the routine to create a new one: the cue and reward stays the same. It offers concrete examples of evaluating, creating and transforming habits, highlighting that the key to success is the Golden Rule: the decision to BELIEVE.  In my art practice I have always “believed” in the process, the outcome, the ability to deal with uncertainty. At art school I was taught a practice and the practice of this practice has cemented my belief and confidence in it.  When I was an acting student, my teacher, Powys Thomas, instructed us to walk on stage trusting the work we had done, trusting everything that had brought us to that moment; to wait patiently in the ‘wings’ empty and ready to be filled, as soon as it was our “cue” , with the rehearsal ‘habits’ we had practiced. I believed his belief and through practice, the habit became my own.  Recently, in my personal life, I have lacked belief; I doubt my habits, question my practices and I am, at times, crippled by uncertainty.  Habits are the practice to creating change, but change can only happen if I believe it will.
So, among other things, I have made a decision to learn French. I have the Rosetta Stone series and have decided to believe the program.  I do an hour everyday of the work week. This is my practice. I do not do more than the lesson and I do not fret whether the program will work.  I just do it and then eat my dinner.  What a relief.  When doubt creeps in I hand that over to the program and my practice. It is becoming a new habit. When I write the newsletter in French my belief will have blossomed.
Finally, I saw a Christmas to do list on Facebook, reconfigured it and would like to pass it on to you.


Love to all of you this Christmas and at all other times,
Wendy the dahlia in the drive

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