I’m having a hard time getting my next weaving off the ground. Literally, the cartoon for it is lying on my living room floor, but I just can’t seem to bring myself to commit to it, to acknowledge that this is indeed my next piece. I keep questioning myself: Isn’t it supposed to be something else? A different design? Less blue? The real crux of this issue lies with my previous work, which I absolutely love and feel it is my best tapestry out of the 1.. 2.. 3.. 4.. 5 tapestries I’ve woven. I basically want to make more weavings exactly like it because then I know they will always be amazing, that is until I – and my viewers – get bored.
And at the same time, I have lots of ideas I want to turn into tapestries. I’m a very new weaver, most accomplished artists have been working in this medium for decades. I know this because I spent the afternoon looking through every artist’s page on the American Tapestry Alliance website. I was looking for evidence that my latest design is indeed feasible and will turn out beautifully, even better than my current weaving that I am madly in love with! But no artist on there could prove to me that my idea will be a success, because no one has woven my design before, which is definitely a good thing. My hesitation is also a testament to some of my other fears as a new weaver; I still don’t understand enough about the medium to predict how a design will turn out as a finished tapestry, and I am also a perfect perfectionist. Surprisingly, tapestry weaving has been a great medium for me to learn how to let go of the annoying perfectionist tendencies and let the nature of the technique unfold.
Mostly it’s the fear of starting again and trying to make work that is even better than the one before it that holds me back. I keep thinking of this recent TEDtalk I watched where Elizabeth Gilbert (the author of Eat, Pray, Love) spoke beautifully on how to overcome the fear of failure. This one line continues to resonate for me…
“Your home is whatever in this world you love more than you love yourself”
She overcame her fear of trying to produce another successful novel by returning home, to her writing, because that was what she loved more than success. And when her next book bombed, she was fine. She wrote another book.
It’s so simple, really. All I need to do is make my weavings for the sheer joy of creating them. The past few years I’ve struggled with finding my place in the world, but when I’ve been actively creating I’m no longer participating in all of the internal chaos. By placing my heart and my hands in my artwork, I don’t question where I’m “supposed” to live anymore. I can trust in my journey as an artist, which is also the journey of my soul.