July has been a weird month for me. All the mental baggage that I’d been avoiding - things I’ve been holding onto since the move and California and college - caught up, like it inevitably does. I think it’s a little like collecting pebbles. It’s easy to carry a single rock in your pocket. But a pocket full of rocks quickly becomes too much if you’re hoping to move unencumbered.
Following this line of thinking, daily I’ve been examining these thought-pebbles, sorting them out and finding ways to set them down. Return them to the earth. Let go of the many burdens, tangled up in my chest, that were never mine to carry in the first place, and reclaim all the flickers of spirit I’ve left to the wayside in my attempts to “be more.” It’s not easy work and it takes time (oh, so much time!) - but it is work worth doing.
A couple weeks ago, I made a list of all the things I want to learn as a maker. Many of them were directly related to metalsmithing…but some were not. And in looking at that list, in the deepest depths of my artist’s block, I asked myself what I would learn if I wasn’t trying to run a business. What would I pursue if I had all the time and money in the world and simply wanted to make from a place of curiosity? From where does my creativity spring?
Now there’s a part of me, the pessimist, that continues to argue that art can only ever be a hobby. She’s scared of failure - which is to say that I’m scared of failure - on the deepest level, so these questions cut me to the core. And that fear means I spend most of my life only halfway in the game. It means I’m always keeping my eye on the exit. Dabbling because I’m afraid to take the plunge.
So I looked at the list. Thanked my inner pessimist for sharing her worries (because, there have been times in the past where that intuition has saved me loads of trouble) and did the crazy thing anyways. I decided to follow my heart, go all in, and let myself learn tapestry weaving.
I’ve been obsessed with textiles and fiber arts since I was born. I had a needle in my hand before I started grade school. I learned to knit from a book in the first grade. I have woven yarn and beads on homemade cardboard looms many, many times - and taking the Intro to Fibers course in college was one of the highlights of my art degree. When my little loom finally arrived I about lost it with excitement.
I’m only weaving stripes so far but oh…this medium is so good for my heart. It is meticulous and repetitive which, for me, translates to deeply meditative. I love the way that color builds and the sound of the warp moving as I open and close the sheds.
I’m not putting any pressure on myself here (though it’s hard). I’m not looking for ways to sell this art or work it into Clementine and Sage. This is just me being creative and returning to making for the joy of it. And the funny thing is, the more I delve into weaving the more inspiration is blooming when it comes to silver. There is a delicate balance here between hard work and burnout, making art to sell and making art because I JUST CAN’T HELP IT. The line is shaky, yet, but I’m walking it as best I can.