how much does a year?

I used to judge myself on how many things were finished in a year . In the last six years, i’ve let myself slow down, with technique, thinking process, research and results. It’s much more satisfying for me to view work that i am connected to *because* i have taken “more time”. It seems very much to me that quantity over quality, fast fix over real depth has become the way for some to feel they are Artists. I don’t believe any of the masters in any other medium keep a ledger on how many paintings/sculptures/plates/widgets, whatever they have produced each month. It actually makes me laugh too when i see articles about the newest stitching SuperStar “who takes up to 35 hours to do each piece!!!!!!!!! OMG!!!!” Some of us count into the several 100’s, even 1000’s………… No, it doesn’t make us better/more involved/more enlightened, but please, it doesn’t mean we are not conscious of what we are doing just because we count them either. (All creativity is mindful)

Time also has the advantage of your voice and style being added to the work. When you slow down (and i’m not talking about just hand stitching or embroidery here, as that is *not* what “slow” means or what the Slow Cloth movement is about), you actually have the luxury of really looking at what you are doing, can ask yourself if design elements or techniques actually fit with what you are doing, if what you are doing is truly important enough to you to actually/factually do, and really get personal with the cloth. You also learn to fix mistakes, not just cover them up–though as we all know, the occasional mistake can be serendipitous. That can apply to machine work, or any of the fancy “buy more product” mixed media projects as well. It often seems also that speed kills creativity in the competition to try everything, new under the sun or not.

I don’t want to be prolific anymore, i want to be profound. (Even if that is only in *my* head, not recognized by my “peers”…) Of course, the last paragraph of this post aside–because time is precious, does not last forever,  and who might die tomorrow?—- time is also needed to play, to experiment, to simply fart around, but time also must be used wisely and judiciously so that millisecond of Profundity is recognized and acted upon.

Over the last five months of this year, having finished a really large intensive commission, i have found myself at an impasse with my work. I pull out things: sketches, fabrics, notes and get all excited, then realize the momentary WhatIf is not a sustainable mood or strong enough desire to actually do it. I’m an Idea Gadbee right now i guess, too many flowers to visit, not enough time to get back to the inner Hive. There are an awful lot of posts here in the time since “Tabula Memoria” that will just have to sit and seed. I don’t like being one of those people who posts over and over about what they are GOING to do, instead of just doing it. Or not 🙂 Admittedly, my work blog has a hell of a number of those, but that’s good for future mining.

These last few weeks of the year 2017 are being spent with noodling around, and returning to, if not finishing, a few old old old projects that *do* want to be worked on OR finished (still not counting with those), and so, whatever happens, happens.

It’s not so much about the hand, as it is the involved mind. Originality doesn’t arrive at lightening speed, nor does Becoming an Artist. In the words of The Old English Poets “Ti-i-i-ime is on my side, yes it is, yes it is.”

10 responses to “how much does a year?

  1. HI Arlee
    I think I spend more time trying out how to use my time than actually using it when it comes to needlework. Unfortunately, this too oft leads to accomplishing zip or very little. You hit the nail on the head with profound rather than prolific. I wish you well in your endeavors. I also hope to sit down and really enjoy those beautiful hand dyed threads which I procured from you recently.
    Merry Christmas and Healthy Happy New Year to you and yours.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Susan. The most useless time waster of course is being online! That being said, if it weren’t for the online world, we’d all be rather lonely, i think 🙂

      I’m trying to change some of that habit myself, and more of the throwing elements together and see what’s sticking, than THINKING about what elements to throw together!


  2. I love . . . “too many flowers to visit, not enough time to get back to the inner Hive.” To help me get there I have stopped looking at everything online . . . I haven’t even checked my newsfeed, nor posted, on Facebook for a fortnight. Just looking at what’s around me, conscious looking at books, and thinking. Lots of thinking about whatever floats to the surface of this overloaded mind of mine.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m thinking of severely restricting my FB actions/reactions. I feel invisible there: i might as well *be* invisible deliberately.

      Remember how it was before it was there? We visited blogs and Flickr, and had much more satisfying interactions!


  3. Oh, arlee, dear friend…from your mouth to my heart! I have two projects that will require — nay, insist on slow. They have been coming together over years now and are clamouring for attention to be paid! AND I have two show to prepare for in 2018 which require a selection of pieces…not super-fast, not “widget” fast, but…not entirely slow, either.

    I am using this knitting-for-Christmas time to ponder the subjects of those exhibits, so that when the new year arrives, I can begin to prioritize the pieces and work them out…and insert the aforementioned projects in between. The blessing is that piecing, knitting socks and mittens…these are the quiet repetitive tasks that allow the other things to develop, to sort themselves out as to process, and to then move forward.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. LOVE the “prolific vs. profound” statement. As I have gotten older and faced physical limitations due to illness, my “productivity” is way down…but the meaning and thoughtfulness infused in each piece is much deeper. Well said!


    • Thank you, Amy; i zipped over to your blog after seeing your comment, and can wholeheartedly agree on the pain thing as well. I have a really bad hip after years of arthritis, and recently a horrendous fall on the ice. Pain is a bugger for productivity when you can’t sit or stand too long!


  5. (((Arlee))) from the oustside looking in your work is always infused with deep consideration and your process with hand stitching needs time, time is a funny thing it is very elastic, sometimes hours pass in the blink of an eye sometimes a few seconds take an eternity

    Liked by 1 person

Your thoughts? (Spammers, good luck on that.)

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.