Tuesday, April 21, 2015

In Praise of Limitations and Deadlines

Calvin and Hobbs

Talking to someone from F&W Media yesterday I mentioned that I loved deadlines.  She laughed and said she would send a schedule of deadlines related to the contract* we were discussing so that I would know when they needed my support materials.

Thing is, deadlines and creative limitations can be extremely useful tools in the creative person's toolbox.

Deadlines let me know how focused my attention and energy needs to be in order to get the job done when it needs doing.

Creative limitations do the same sort of job but in a different way.

When the sky is the limit in terms of possibilities, it can be overwhelming.  Where to start?  I remember that feeling of being overcome with the sheer number of possibilities when it comes to the creation of cloth.  I rather suspect it is the same with all crafts.

So, creative limitations.  Some people don't like the concept of limitations because they feel it stifles their creativity.  I am not that person.  Rather than feeling stifled, I feel that the use of boundaries actually helps sharpen my focus in order to get me where I want to go.  Sort of like Alice in Wonderland - if you don't know where you are going, any road will do.

What do I mean by creative limitations?

When deciding on what to make, the first question is...what am I going to make?  As a 'form follows function' weaver, I need to know where I want to end up.  By deciding on what function my desired textile is to fulfill, I now have a destination.  Every decision I make from now on will - hopefully - get me there.

Once I have decided what it is I want to make, I can now decide on dimensions.  A functional textile will have an optimal size, within a spectrum - plus or minus x inches/centimeters long and wide.

Then I have to decide on which fibre to use...cotton?  linen?  etc.  After the fibre has been chosen, what grist (thickness) of yarn?  Then how dense (epi/ppi)?

Gradually, through a process of working within a set of boundaries, I begin to zero in on exactly what I am going to do.

Once I have the technical issues sorted out I can begin working on the appearance of the cloth.  What weave structure?  Asymmetrical or symmetrical design?  Charted out to the last thread or freeform?

Colours?  I may suddenly discover I don't have the colours I want to work with in my stash and need to order more yarn (tragedy! need to buy more yarn!) or I may set myself the challenge of working only with the yarns I have on hand.  Usually a learning experience.

So I welcome deadlines and I welcome creative limitations.

*another webinar is in the works - stay tuned for details.  In the meantime, there is the webinar I did two years ago A Good Yarn still available as a download...and of course the dvds...one thing I noticed is that all the reviews for the dvds disappeared from their website...Anita is trying to find out what happened to them but in the meantime, if you feel like posting a review, I'd appreciate it.  The dvds look very lonely without their gold stars.  :(

Currently reading Tracker by C. J. Cherryh

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