filled to the brim

Paradisaea # 11 // Falling Back Into Life -warp
50 % cotton (EC), 50 % tencel (lyocell) and a bit of polyester (glitter ends)
Golden and salmon tencel weft

Woven with a two-sided twill and plainweave combination, "The Pearls"
Size 4 (370 x 73 cm)
323 g/m2
Blunt ends

Liinan tarina suomeksi tämän linkin takana

The summer, the sun, the silence, the colours.
The moment when you close your eyes and breathe it all in,
and when you open your eyes you see how beautiful it is -
this life and the world around you.
— A quote from the person to whom the wrap was made

Imagine how happy you would be if you now lost everything you have - and then you’d get it back?”

Before starting to weave this wrap I asked the owner-to-be what makes her feel alive. Her words are quoted up there, in the beginning of this text.

I tried to enter the feeling she described to me, a moment saturated with contentment and joy. My efforts produced a certain mental picture. 

It might be familiar to many Finns - a moment like this is most likely something that is engraved in our national psyche.

Its a summer evening, a moment when light has turned into liquid gold and floats around you in midair, engulfing everything in a happy haze. The birch trees are fresh with a new green, and the light around you tingles with the laughter of children. They dont want to get out of the lake, and theres no reason to do so yet. Light sails the waters, reflecting a clear sky, washed clean all the way to the heavens. The air is free, absolutely boundless, and for a moment everything is just well. You sit in the grass, leaning on a birch, cheek pressed to the bark, close your eyes and almost ache when the reality of it all hits you.

The colours of this wrap are somehow very full. Like the golden evening light of a day that was well spent. Theres something royal in the way the golden weft gives the warp colours a soft glow. 

While I was weaving I listened for one word to describe the wrap to me - a word that would encapsulate the feelings and pictures above. This is what I heard:

Thankfulness.

It seems to me that we human beings can experience the deepest happiness only in short bursts. It’s hard to stay in the feeling. Its a paradox: the moment you realise you are thoroughly happy you start to fear that the feeling will disappear. Maybe thats why it is so hard to write anything about happiness - all words have been used already, all pictures drawn.

I won’t try to say too much, the subject is too fragile. But theres something I thought about while weaving and the thought made me reconsider my approach towards happiness.

What if there is a special power in thankfulness? 
The conscious choice to be thankful and give thanks is a mighty thing.

They say that getting all you want wont make you happy. We humans have a peculiar ability to always want more and grow dissatisfied again and again. You cannot see how rich you are if you have a mind who thinks it is still poor.

But what if the mind could be taught to live in a new way?

Im fascinated by the idea of experimenting with thankfulness. I wonder what would happen if you tried, every day, to see how rich you already are? What would happen if you would steadfastly search for the things that you already possess and that make you happy? What would happen if you taught yourself to be, at least momentarily, as present as you can - to grasp the miraculous your life is full of? 

Ive come to think that life often is a battle of the mind. Endless things will try to fill our heads, and the strongest of them will set the agenda for our lives. Stress, fear, anxiety and worry grow in our minds like weeds and suffocate the more beautiful feelings. Rooting them out might be hard, but what if in the end something new could grow? Fascinating, exotic flowers of joy and happiness.

What if you could learn to see how much you already have? There is so much.

The roses in the childs cheeks when he falls asleep
- and how he still looks so small when hes sleeping
The dandelions he picked up for me, crushed in his little fists
A morning with absolutely no hurry to do anything
People who have promised to stay
The first time walking barefoot after the winter
A cup of coffee enjoyed alone, a beautiful silence
The smell of sand and sun in the kids’ hair after a hot day
Big brother trying to make his cranky little brother laugh
The absolutely moving enthusiasm that makes the three year old wear his cap backwards

and thousands of other things, every day, all the time.

Theres power in the free-willing act of thankfulness. Its not easy to fight for joy, but I do believe that the prize in the end might be huge.

My wish for this wrap is that it would carry an invitation to thankfulness; a reminder of all the small, freely given and invaluable treasures of every day life. I wish that this wrap could help its wearers fall in love with the lives they already have: help them to see, for a moment, 

how beautiful it is -
this life and the world around.

I wanted the name of the wrap to reflect all these thoughts. I started by trying to put my finger on the exact feeling of thankfulness. How could it be described? 

It feels like being full, I thought. Like being filled up, all the way to the brim, so full that you can hardly contain it all. 

When joy happens in its deepest and strongest form it almost makes you ache. It's almost painful. For me theres something profoundly hope-filled in that: there is a joy that is greater than me. There is a hope that is greater than me. I cannot contain it, I can only momentarily participate in it. There is something vaster and greater than me and that makes me feel safe - and thankful. To me it all ends up in thankfulness towards the great Artist, the Abundant one.

I don't have explanation for all the sorrow, pain and suffering in the world. But it makes me awed that in the middle of it all there is still joy that makes you ache.

Hence the name of the wrap: Filled To The Brim.