Sunday, 9 October 2011

From Bath

Dear Diane,
I am an obedient friend and so when you told me to have a cream scone for you I had to comply.

And I thought you might like a little something else too...

If this is not enough just let me know because I am here another week and can easily get you more scones.

We are here in Bath for a fortnight in the holiday flat we rent several times a year. I brought lots of creativity related things to do but for the first week have not been exactly productive. It is for example, hard to paint or sew when spending hours at a time floating in thermal waters in the spa! But I have decided that given I tend to be so goal orientated with my creativity,with my Nozbe Ipad app to plan all the projects etc, it is probably necessary to allow myself to take time out and renew from time to time. It is a long time now since I read Julia Cameron's The Artists Way but I do seem to recall that one of her exercises - aimed at writers but adaptable for other art forms - is to take a week off from reading! A whole week!

I can't say I really took a week off from creativity although the only sewing I did for seven days was to finish this twelve by twelve quilt on the theme of Fruit for the Midsomer Quilting Challenge. Did you know that it is really very easy to sew apricots and cranberries?!

WhatI have been doing is dipping into two Danny Gregory books. TheCreatve Licence and and Illustrated Life both about illustrated journals. I decided to allocate this fortnight to trying keeping one out. I have learned that ( a) I can do it and ( b) whilst I have enjoyed the experiment and would not rule out doing the odd page now and again as the whim takes, I quickly meandered back to my own form of journal keeping which is much more word and like scrbble based. So I am now making a declaration on an informed basis, thay I know what kind of journal works best for me and I am going to stick with that despite what other people may declare is a good way to work. I will still enjoy looking at more painterly books and at least I have now slain the ' I can't do a book like that' dragon.

I am embracing the concept of focusing down at the moment. Making as many decisions about what I am not going to be doing as much as what I am going to be doing. I find it is both exhilarating and exhausting that the art quilt world consists of unlimited possibilities and it has been slightly daunting to try and find a niche in that world that is both original and personal. Trying to decidewhat to do is HARD! where do you start?It is so easy to be seduced by new ideas, fabrics, products, inspiration, everywhere I turn. I fear missing out. So I have started to focus on what I am not going to do. Its odd. Its the same decision really but it helps me to phrase it that way.
perhaps because I am not faced with choosing between forty options. It is just one choice. Does this option really excite me? Will it sustain and satisfy me? It is the best thing for me right now? If not, set it aside.

One task for me for this week is to fill in my SAQA visioning page. I know you are not partcipating but I find that kind of life planning deliciously satisfying. In summary I am going to task myself with producing a series of work, using various shows here in the UK as targets to ensure I actually produce and don't shilly shally just playing with ideas then collapsing with indecision. Finished is the aim. I am going to work with two loose, and I anticipate interconnecting sources of inspiration, African Ladies and Kuba cloth, both of which excite me to look at and which seem to provide enough potential variation. And I am declaring it publically here and on SAQA so that I have to stick to it! I am reminding myself that this is only a committment for a year and all the other things that interest me will not go away but await a new year.

After my week of inactivity I went to see Alicial Merritt's works at the Bishops Palace in Bath ( you can see more photos on my blog here). It was fascinating to me that all to shake me out of my hibernation and catapult me, vibrating with excitement, back to the boxes of fabrics stacked in the holiday flat kitchen, was to see this very complete and self assured collection of related works. On my return I started some journal sketches...

Now I have to gather the courage to start and continue, ignoring distractions and slaying fears of mediocracy, persevering through doubt to completion, remembering that success is what I define it.

Brave words. I am expecting to wobble and need to sit with you over a cup of tea and a very chocolately confection and be encouraged. Is that OK? I will reciprocate in whatever way is needed. Not that you seem to get yourself into these crises of purpose and confidence- you seem so much more assured and content to put one foot after the other down whatever path looks good. Can you transfer some of your zen- ness to me perhaps?!

By the way, talking of tea, I can see both the headless jumper wearer and the iron in the teabag. I think its like the old faces in a vase picture. Does it bother you that people see other than what you intended or not?

OK. Time to take my poor man-flu ridden husband to the nearby trattoria for a pile of comforting pasta. After that, some fabric sketches I think with the bits and bobs I have down here. Just playing about.


1 comment:

Brenda Gael Smith said...

You might enjoy this article - Why Keeping Your Options is a Really Really Bad Idea. (Thanks to Lisa Call for sharing this article in her workshop on Working in Series.)