Tag Archives: procrastination

What Four Days Away From “Work” Can do…

I just spent four glorious days away from reality, or at least away from my “real” job.  And what a wonderful time it was.  I saw Finding Dory, which if you haven’t seen it yet, it’s Ah-mazing.  Bring tissues.  I also went to the beach with my friend and we collected seashells and had a picnic under a beautiful old, twisted crab-apple tree.  We were joined by lots of bugs too, since it is summer and they like picnics as well.  But mostly I got a lot of work done on my art, including finishing the weaving for my latest tapestry!  It’s off the loom now and I’m letting it rest for a few days before I do the finishing work.  The fabric needs time to relax after being stretched tightly on the loom for several months, and this resting period makes the weaving so much easier to work with later when I clean up the back, sew up slits, hang it on a wall, etc.

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Untitled… for now….

Like most of my pieces, there are things I love about this one and things that I would love to fix.  On this piece in particular, however, I struggled more than any previous weaving, all due to not having a good solid cartoon and notes to follow.  In fact, most of my weaving frustrations are caused by a lack of a good plan, and for the most part my designs depend on careful planning. Usually I’m so excited to start weaving that I just quickly draw out the cartoon, attach it to the bottom hem and take off, sometimes even saying to myself, ‘I’ll figure it out later.’   That clearly hasn’t been working too well!  I also need to take notes on what colors I use, so that when I have to use that same color 7 inches and 2 months later, I don’t have to crawl behind the loom with a flashlight to see what colors were on the bobbin.

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Another thing is just simply practice and experience.  By making these mistakes, I’m gaining valuable insights on how to improve my technique for my next piece, and the next, and the next… I lost count of how many times I took hours of work out on this tapestry and rewove it to get the design and shapes and colors just right. Sometimes I had to rework an area several times.  And some of those areas still aren’t right, but I know I gave it my best with the skills that I have.  I can tell you that the moon and the symmetry of the background were the toughest parts.  Although these corrections added extra hours into the piece, my skills and knowledge have increased as a result, and that’s certainly worth it.  So note to self: plan a more detailed cartoon and take good notes!

I also began the finishing work I did for a tapestry from last year.  It feels good to finally get some work done on these weavings, rather than just rolling them up and stuffing them in my closet… like I normally do.

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Compass, off the loom February of 2015, but never finished due to a cross-country move.

This piece, Compass, is about trusting my intuition, my inner voice and guiding light in all that I do.  I worked on it during a difficult ending of one chapter of my life, and my hope was that it would serve as a reminder to trust in my own individual journey.  I already have my next weaving planned, a companion piece to this one, a continuation of my story and of trusting the unfolding of my life.  And I think I have the skills and experience now to really make it shine.  Now it’s back to reality.  Until next time, happy creating!

 

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Making time… when there is no time

I’m sure the vast majority of people, not just creative types, will agree with how difficult it can be to find the time to do what you love, especially if what you love is not how you make your living.  I consider myself fortunate as my commitments are simple.  I work full time… and that’s pretty much it.  Besides doing my errands, paying my bills, and cooking something besides a bowl of cereal, I have a lot of free time to spend as I wish.

So why do I get sucked into a youtube vortex when I get home from work?  Because there are endless hours of kitten videos to watch, that’s why!

But seriously, this is a pattern I’ve noticed with myself lately; I have quite a bit of time that, if used constructively, I could get a lot done with my art.  And not just the actual art making, but I could also be sharing photos on Facebook, posting here, sketching and painting ideas, searching for shows, etc.  When I choose to troll around aimlessly on Facebook for an hour, I am choosing to not create my work, to not bring into physical form the ideas and images I want to share with others, to not fulfill my life’s purpose: to be an artist.

I have a lot of creative friends, some of them with as much time as me to make their work, some with less.  I’ve seen the friends with less time produce incredible artworks that came from making a choice and a commitment to their art, no.  matter.  what.  I admire that, and I ask myself, “What’s my excuse?”  If I have a vision for my next piece, why am I choosing to not take the next step?

I have this book sitting on my shelf, perhaps you’ve heard of it…

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And yes, that is a little peek at my finished tapestry!

I actually have not read this book past page 37, but I think it’s time.  My resistance to making my art is not serving me and is preventing me from bringing forth the thoughts and ideas I want to share with the world.

When we deny ourselves, through fear of failure, criticism, or even success, the time to bring our artistry out into the light, we are doing ourselves a disservice.  I think of it as a form of self-sabotage, and other people lose out because they never get to experience our creations.  Our audience, our readers, our listeners will never get the chance to be inspired, to be influenced, or to be changed by the messages we wish to share as long as we continue to deny our creativity.  When we perform a disservice to our creative self, we also do a disservice to others.  It’s a lose-lose situation.

Now, I should also clarify that I’m not supporting the whole work-you-butt-off-until-all-joy-is-sucked-out-of-you kind of work ethic.  In order to be at our optimal creating capacity our minds and bodies need rest and relaxation.  Life is for enjoying, for spending time with friends and loved ones, for being inspired by others’ creativity, and for recharging.

One of my fave places to recharge, the Portland Japanese Garden

Without this time for self-care, our artistic process can lose it’s feeling of fulfillment and satisfaction, and that will surely manifest itself in the end product.

What it really comes down to is a choice.  When we have the time and energy in our busy lives to either pursue our life’s purpose or to stare blankly at the computer screen, I hope we make the first choice.  I’ve been wanting to write this post for a month now, and I guess I just needed to make the time.

How do you overcome your blocks to making your art, music, writing, dancing, or other pursuits?  If you struggle with this like I do, I encourage you to pick up a copy of “The War of Art” and read it with me.  Let me know how it inspires you to make the time for your creative work.

The Weaving Hour

Almost a week has gone by since I started my newest weaving, and I can tell this is indeed an ambitious design!  My motivation has been low, it is summer after all, and the challenges this piece presents has been helping me to be a better procrastinator.  But I have a juried show I want to enter in November and while that feels like plenty of time, I also might be moving then too.  It’s been hot out lately, and my apartment turns into a little oven in the afternoon.  The last thing I want to do is sit under a hot lamp touching warm and fuzzy yarns.  So I wait until the sun sets, because I’m actually a tapestry weaving vampire.  Also… okay, enough with the excuses.

I’ve gotten quite a bit done and I took some before and after pictures to show you what an hour of weaving looks like.  I’ve always wanted to know how much I finish in an hour too, since when I’m weaving I usually get sucked into a timeless vortex and before I know it it’s 1 in the morning.

Before....

Before….

After!

After!

Of course, completing tricky details and color changes takes time away from the amount I get done, as does winding bobbins, correcting mistakes, and finding just the right song on my ipod.  Working on an elaborate piece like this has also been really enjoyable, even if I only get a millimeter done every day.   The intricacies of this design are enthralling and I love finding solutions to the various difficulties that come up.

Working on a project I’m passionate about makes it easier to defeat the Procrastination Monster.  I feel relaxed and entertained, like I’m solving a great big crossword puzzle, except I’m using yarn and none of the questions are from before the early 90s.  Having great music helps me a lot too; I can definitely feel more motivated to do the dishes, scrub the toilet, or work on my weaving when I’m listening to music I love.  I’m currently into musicians like Loreena McKennitt, Alison Krauss, and Jesse Cook.  Lots of great acoustic instruments, soothing voices, and addictive beats.  Now if you’ll excuse me, the sun has set and it’s time to weave.