Where to start...
Yesterday I got up around 8:30 or so and immediately sat down to my loom.
As most of you who follow me know, I am about to embark on a new adventure...Instructing weaving workshops at the local Art Center. My goal in this is not solely to make money. It is also to get involved in the local art community, to meet new people and to expand my own artistic abilities. Along with these goals I have developed a philosophy, a mission statement if you will. That mission is to make people that I come in contact with aware that the fiber arts can be as "INEXPENSIVE OR EXPENSIVE, ELABORATE OR SIMPLE, LARGE OR SMALL, WHILE AT THE SAME TIME BEING VERY INDIVIDUAL AND LIMITLESS IN YOUR EXPRESSIONS AND EXPECTATIONS!" Knowing this you probably also know that I have been killing myself morning, noon and night with my weaving. Up till 2:30 AGAIN last night weaving.
I decided that the more weave structures and low cost loom techniques I knew the more I could offer to my students. Then with this thought in mind decided to try (again) my pot holder loom which mostly produces even weave, the backstrap loom which produces mostly warpface weave and is only made up of a few sticks...and so on. AND AS A RESULT I HAVE BEEN MISERABLE.
I don't know why I get these wild hairs and jump in headlong to things to expand my horizons. I don't know why I can't just be secure in the knowledge that I AM INDEED AN ACCOMPLISHED FIBER ARTIST IN MY OWN RIGHT, and that just because my strength lies in tapestry/weftface weave it is not somehow a short-coming. That I am not somehow lacking because this is my comfort zone and that I could experiment for the rest of my life with this technique and never ever be bored, and further more continue to be challenged. I don't know why it bothers me that I don't/can't do pictorial tapestry. (It simply bores me to tears.) Or why I can't be happy in that my strength lies in my designs, which are all my own and have been shaped through the need to make what I have on hand into something beautiful and functional, very much as our ancestors had to do in times when you couldn't just run down to the local art store and buy fancy yarns and equipment.
There are many people who need or want the structure of a pre-determined pattern or design. I am glad for them if this is what satisfies their inner artist, I simply am not one of them. WHY do I perceive this as a fault? Alot of people sit down and draw a patter/design, choose their colors and then go buy the materials needed to complete the project. I AM NOT ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE. I go into the attic, where my stash of supplies are located, and pick something or other that suits my fancy, then another, and another. Then I go back to my loom and create, MOST of the time I have no idea when I start what the end product will be, say a rug, or a handbag, or a dresser scarf. It is always a surprise and all I can think in that moment of completion is....WOW there really is a higher power, because I certainly could not have done that all on my own. Why can't I just be happy with that? Live with the fact that this is sheer talent in and of itself? Why do I feel limited by the fact that I just can't figure out some of these other weaves? Maybe I could with proper instruction, I tell myself. I certainly am not a stupid woman. But the questions remains, would I be as satisfied with the process...or just happy with the end result.
Clearly you can tell from this that in my little 3 hrs in bed last night all I could do was lay there and think about how this damned warpfaced weaving is frustrating and pissing me off. How my back was killing me and my hands were so swollen I couldn't even grasp the doorknob with one hand to go to the ladies room in the night, I had to use both hands. Yes the warp float, pick up and supplementary weft techniques all defeated me in my endeavors to learn fancy warpface weaving. I got the basics, did a couple of reasonably nice bands and then fell flat on my face. I DID NOT ENJOY MYSELF! AS A MATTER OF FACT I WAS MISERABLE. BUT I CAN pass on the simple basics and the resources needed for others to achieve their goals if that is what they want/need. So I guess I did learn a few things, it was a large learning curve and I have released myself from the stress and pressure of it.
Today I go back to my comfort zone, what I am really good at, what pleases me and gives me a great satisfaction as an artist. My tapestry/weftface weaving.
All of the pressure to be prepared to instruct on top of the pressure to produce, produce and produce for the site where I try to sell my wares has taken EVERY BIT OF THE FUN OUT OF IT.
Today I weave for the FUN of it. I put away the other tools of the trade, where I don't have to look at them... or my shortcomings. Today I make myself feel good about my art again. I give that gift back to myself. I hope this is not a disappointment to any of you, because it just simply feels right to me. No pressure, just the pleasure of creating.
I hope that if you are reading this you come away with some wisdom from it. Know yourself, your limits and your WONDERFUL TALENTS AND INDIVIDUALITY. This is what makes YOU the artist that YOU are! All art is good and all art is subjective. Don't be as hard on yourself as I have been of late. Have fun with it. Don't let it become a chore or a stress-er.
And kick me in the A-- when you see or hear me doing it again.
Have a wonderful holiday weekend and I will be talking to you again soon.