Saturday, December 16, 2017

No Mud, No Lotus


Thanks to all of you who offered helpful advice on keeping organised. It`s good to know I am not alone in a messy studio. But I have also given a bit of thought to what might be behind my untidy habits.

First of all, the whole wide world could be considered a messy studio, where things are created and destroyed and loved and fought over and nobody really knows what the hell is going on.

Then I thought about where my awareness that I am messy began, and remembered that as a child our house was often untidy (with four kids, whose house wouldn't be a mess?) My father, who, as I recall, never lifted a broom or ran the vacuum cleaner, was always complaining about this, and no doubt gave my mother lots of grief about her un-housewifely ways. His line was "What if the Queen comes for tea?" Which seemed to be a perfectly reasonable possibility to my eight-year-old self. I internalized his concern that others might think badly of a messy house, and by extension, of the people living in that mess. As an adult, knowing more about my father`s history and his probable PTSD and other issues, I can take a different perspective.

My art has a lot to do with looking for things beneath the surface, with layers of meaning, with valuing the unlovely. Would I have the ideas I have if everything was neat and orderly? That could be a rationalization, I know, giving permission to the mess. But the pictures of my drawing table are not an inapt metaphor for my thinking processes and the odd connections I make. The trick is making it all come together, which might explain the patient, repetitive, tight little stitches that make up my embroidery.

Last night, on that cluttered table, I came up with three new ideas for pieces that will, hopefully, when they are done, look like they were created in a logical, coherent, skillful and patient way. And I shall do my best to answer the ghost from the past, when he starts to complain: "No mud, no lotus."

Oh, and here`s the finished, unsteamed rug.
I`ll do a properly lit shot later, but just wanted to show off the piece. I whipped the edges with a medium brown wool that just blends perfectly. I`m chuffed as can be.

10 comments:

  1. Oh yes! Definitely combining seemingly different radicals often makes the art more personal, more involving. It's those OMG's that work!

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  2. I think you are fine as you are, no need to operate the way others do. I have a sign on my studio, Mad scientist at work, enter at own risk, lovely rug- be who you are

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  3. That doesn’t look like a mess. It looks like creativity is happening! And you finished your rug! Yay! Hope to see a final beauty shot so it can be delightfully admired in detail.

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  4. The rug looks fabulous. Looking forward to a close-up. Be comfortable with what works for you; that's all that matters.

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  5. The colors in the rug are wonderful! You are so very talented. Blessings.

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  6. I think the rug is a masterpiece!!! I hope you'll do a whole post about how you did the strips with the chain stitch, and how you attached them to the rug. Just beautiful!

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  7. Hi Heather. I have enjoyed reading your thoughtful posts. This 'messy' thing has always been a problem for me. And, like you, I recently began to delve into where it came from, and like you, it's origins (in my lifetime) came from my Mom. I never realized it, but she shamed me for not being neat. Of course our whole house, like yours, was not the neatest with 5 kids in a small space and piles shoved in many corners.. But I think the shaming created a lot of anxiety in me as I grew older. So when, as we all do, create the mess of creation, not having time or the inclination to 'clean up after ourSelves', for me I enter (or I should say up until now, I entered into a serious state of Anxiety. Knowing this has really helped me in the last few months. I'm beginning to honor my 'stuff' more, understand my mess and process, and forgive myself. And know that I'm not alone. I also forgive my Mom. I'm sure it was transference, and yes, like you my Dad didn't lift a finger to help, and was quite critical. Thank you for the therapy session.

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  8. wow - what a gorgeous rug

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  9. love the new rug!

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  10. i love your rug! how ever could an artist NOT be messy?

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