Friday, October 30, 2015

over a year

Canopy inspiration
Over a year since posting to this blog and I'm thinking it would be overwhelming to update everything that has happened since the last post.  Really, what I think is more important is the impetus to simply begin again now.

My most consistent work for the past 10 months has been the design, fabric dye, cutting and sewing of Canopy, the next quilt.  Images to follow.  Coincidentally, the last post on this blog before now, was "quilt, quilt, quilt, quilt, quilt, quilt, quilt" where I was talking about, now titled, Bridge, the quilt inspired by Anni Albers' work and by the work of psychotherapy and dreams that I had begun to focus on at the time. This too is a work related to psychotherapy, dreamwork and active imagination - inner contemplation or diaglogue with the symbols of my life.  The canopy of trees that I reference is the forest canopy in my childhood patch of forest next to our house where I would play with my sister for hours during warm seasons.  Lying on the forest floor, smelling the humus of the leaf decomposing soil, and seeing the sunlight filter through the leaves - this is a wholehearted memory self as Self.  That memory was reinforced by love, love of another childhood place that seemed to love me and later a place for falling in love with my now husband, Christian.   Christian and I would lay on the forest floor and talk for as much time as we could steal away while working at the outdoor summer camp, Camp Hanover, in Virginia.  That place, the forest there, memories before and after knowing Christian were rich with life and self as Self for me.   When imagining a place that holds great potential for healing and self knowing, I think of the forest floor, protected and created by the beautiful forest canopy.  Perhaps this quilt already begs a sister - the imagery of the rich and aromatic forest floor.

Canopy sketch for quilt, Jan. - Feb. 2015
The work of Canopy, designing and creating has proven to be what I expected in a way - "I want this to be a part of an ongoing practice.  I don't want to get hung up on the idea of this work being an 'opus,' as the pressure to do so often keeps me from trying new things and keeps me from relaxing into the process of creative work."  This has, thankfully, been the case for this project.  I feel less attached to my vision/plan as the unexpected differences come up, and I am willing to take it as it comes - I think more so than usual.  The unexpected:  how the dyes act with the fiber and what colors emerge despite what colors were planned.  I wasn't expecting the swirling, flowy look of tie-dye, but...  there it is.  I expected a minty green; I got an aqua blue.  Thus, I stand on the fence of "fix it" and "accept it."

My fingers, my sewing machine, my quilt
"Fix it" or "accept it." That's probably a good metaphor for my life and my work as of the last year too.  Through 2013, I'd say it was my normal mode to "always fix it."  The urge to make everything better (better, in my opinion) was practically irresistible to me and I might push myself beyond my energies and boundaries to make it so.  Everything - my projects, our projects, even your projects!  I realize this sounds very self critical, but even if I didn't actually do the fixing, there was this inner voice that said, "but I want it to be better.  I want it to be mine."  So in learning acceptance, as in "accept it," I am hearing that voice saying "fix it," and I am responding, "is it necessary?"  It's been a shift in thinking and living that gives me great relief.  I believe my artwork will benefit most from my willingness to see the long game of the artist's practice as critical to my creative development.  Perhaps that opus that the younger me desired so fervently is simply further down the road, and releasing myself from the pressure to produce it enables the creative work to get rich with time and decomposition and cycles and repetition and know - all that stuff that keeps a person alive.