Friday, December 24, 2010


latest painted warp - done!

I was originally going to title this post "Isolation". Creative people many times work in isolation, all alone in their studios, working on their 10,000 hours of practise learning their craft. Whether you are a musician practising scales, a writer getting those words down, or any other craftsperson - a potter throwing mugs, a glass blower blowing glass, a weaver making yards and yards of fabric - most of the time you are all alone while you do it.

But I started thinking about the word "isolation" and realized that the word is far too negative in its connotations because what the practising craftsperson is doing is working in solitude while they explore their materials, hone their skills, experiment and fail - or succeed - until they get it 'right'.

As I mentioned in my previous post, an artistan must be self-motivated. It's not much fun to do the work of learning, especially when you are new and things are not turning out the way you want them to, but the only way to achieve success is through the process, being analytical, trying things differently, exploring various options.

Once you have gained a certain amount of proficiency, you still have to do the process. The warps need to be wound, beamed, threaded and then woven off.

Then there is collaborating. That is a different thing altogether. It can be a wonderful experience - to collaborate with another creative person. Sometimes they have a completely different perspective, bring different knowledge to the association, and voila - new insights can occur.

What I'm talking about is the day by day getting up from your chair, going into the studio and doing what needs to be done.

Not all of it is interesting. In fact a great deal of it may not be of interest at all. But the bottom line is - no warp, no weaving, no cloth. And so, regardless of how much time it takes, it is necessary to go wind that warp, beam it, thread it, sley it, tie it on and then pick by pick, weave it off. And for me that happens in solitude - just me and my cd player - going through the process, making cloth.

Currently reading Ill Wind by Rachel Caine


Peg Cherre said...

The fabric is beautiful. Your thoughts are always spot on.

Thanks for being there.

Merry Christmas!

Sharon Schulze said...

Merry Christmas!!

Last year at Christmas I received a little book called "The War of Art" that talks about just what your post is talking about - the fact that being an artist (especially a professional artist or professional anything, for that matter) requires showing up each day and doing the best you can for that day. Even when it's not so great for whatever reason, you still just get up and go make the effort and it's that accumulation little by little over time that makes all the difference.

In fact, I will show that to you when you are here! YAY!


Sharon Schulze said...

Oh... and don't be put off by the word "War" in the title. It's really not violent at all. I think it was just the (male) author wanting to use analogies that he likes. ;-)

Winston Churchill also has an interesting book about the value of artistic pursuits as a means of making a human life better. He doesn't talk about the day-to-day as much but that's also an interesting little book. It's about painting (which is why my brother loved it and gave it to me - because he's a painter) but the truths really do go beyond painting to all sorts of art pursuits.

cate in northern california said...

Interest post Laura. I also work solitary and find it very challenging to craft out that private time - to exclusion of family and friends and phone. It feels selfish sometimes, but vital none the less. Actually I suspect only my mom thinks it's selfish, but I apparently haven't shed that yet...Only thing is, you are about 100 times more productive than I!! Happy New Year.