Friday, 11 April 2014

Starting things you can't do

This post is something of a chain reaction since I'm writing it as a result of reading and replying to recent posts by Connie Rose on her wonderfully varied blog and by Margaret Cooter (introduced to me by Connie) who has also had much to say on the subject.

They were both writing about doing something new and Margaret especially was asking why people start something they can't do at all, with all the uncertainty, the inevitable failures and the frustrations.

When I retired almost 7 years ago, I took up textile art with very little specific previous experience but with a great deal of enthusiasm and a belief that given time I might be able to 'do it'. So perhaps that's some sort of an answer to the question of why people start completely new things - a certain level of faith, maybe blind and misguided, but nevertheless faith in themselves and their abilities.

Also, there was for me then a need to start something new and enthralling after giving up a very fulfilling and time-consuming job. I am no good at just pottering. I need a 'passion' to occupy and intrigue me otherwise I quickly become bored and frustrated.

For me though it was about more than just time-filling. All my adult life I'd told myself that, when I had time, I would go back intensively to the 'arty stuff' that I'd parked in my early 20s to earn a living. I knew that this was what I was going to do - not quite how - but certainly in general terms that art in some form was what I would turn to. This new start was the result of a promise to myself and, at some deep level, I felt I had no choice but to keep if I was to have peace of mind.

I love the challenge of learning in any situation. It's a thrill for me. I find all the reading, researching, asking of questions, experimenting and playing fascinating for its own sake as well as for what it then allows me to do. Perhaps then, that is another aspect to it all - a love of learning and seeking out new skills.

I suppose also that the curiosity that makes us human drives us forward to seek out new areas of endeavour, even when the areas are unknown, puzzling and fraught with risk. There is the 'How would that work?', 'What if I did that?' and 'perhaps if I tried that' which is irresistible.

I've luckily discovered that starting anew in this way could be exciting as well as intimidating. I've posted here two of my very early pieces that I am happy to admit to. There were many others that didn't make the grade. These two were both serious labours of love, in hand stitch only, because I had yet to learn to use a sewing machine creatively. By the time I had completed the first - the white on white piece I called Moon and Stars - I was hooked. So perhaps that is another answer - we are seeking the small moments of thrill when things start to take shape against all the odds.

Textile art has introduced me to very good friends, both here and in the 'real' world. I'm sure that companionship is what many seek when they look for new things and that this is especially true for women. We like to talk to and support one another and above all to find and interact with kindred spirits. This is an important driver for us.

Above all though, for me, I seek the pleasure this textile art thing brings, pure and simple. I ask myself every time I sit down to draw, paint or stitch, what more could I want? I just know how lucky am I to have the time, the interest and the opportunity to do it when I want.


10 comments:

  1. Great post, Margaret! We are, indeed, kindred spirits, forging ahead! Hope you have a creative weekend!

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    1. Not likely to be directly creative as we'll have two of the grandchildren staying (both under 5!) Still I might manage some 'crafting' with my granddaughter - always fun for us both.

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  2. "the small moments of thrill when things start to take shape" - hear, hear! Another factor, for me anyway, is having something to push against, and to feel it starting to move slowly, slowly....

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    1. The something to push against is a lovely image - and a powerful part of the challenge in this textile thing. I feel I'm always wanting to move on and explore.

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  3. "I love the challenge of learning in any situation." .... this statement is so true for me ! ... a challenge, a little research, and my mind takes off ... even the computer is a challenge but the research is so rewarding.
    Bravo to everyone who embraces the desire to venture where they haven't been before.
    Great discussion !

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    1. Thank you for your comments, Sharron. The learning and the venturing are what really drive me most of all, I think. It's great to know others are out there doing the same thing!

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  4. je suis en voyage ..et malheureusement ...mon wifi n'est pas très performant... pour regarder ce travail!

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    1. Merci pour votre réponse malgré la performance de votre wifi. Bon voyage!

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  5. Oh my, such a great post. I can relate so well to everything you have stated here. One thing I would add in my case (and I suspect I may not be alone here) is that, even though I am terribly terribly introverted, my love of textiles has kind of trumped my introversion in that I have been willing to put myself 'out there' in order to pursue my passion and in so doing I have met some truly wonderful like-minded women, as you say 'both here and in the 'real' world. Life is so so good!!! Thanks for such a great post!

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    1. And thank you for such a great comment - I'm so glad you enjoyed what I wrote. It one of those occasions when I really hadn't thought through what I was going to say before I started. It all came together as I wrote - and from the heart. I feel enormously lucky in being able to spend so much time doing what I enjoy and so very lucky to have found out what that was. As you say, life is so good!

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