I have a strong tolerance for discomfort. I can avoid, ignore, evade or go Vague in regards to the ‘stuff’ that needs to be organised. It still boils down to the fact I cannot and will not move forward easily until I vanquish the obstacles in my way.
For the longest time I’ve procrastinated being an artist and living my artist life. It is actually denying what is true for me, denying my own self and my own being. When I do make my art I feel so happy and satisfied. When I make my art it seems such a simple and an easy thing to do. It feels right.
This story of denial is played out through procrastination, unmade decisions, the build up of ‘stuff’ in my life, physical obstacles that stop me before I start. For example, my studio workspace is in a constant state of flux, always needing to be cleared, is cleared, then back to being a tip again. I do make some progress sorting it out and where I have taken control, things have stayed sorted. I can put a working system into place, organise all the tools together so I know where to find them (and put them away) I can eliminate items that I no longer need. I can remove old projects that distract from making the art I want to make.
There are so many unfinished compositions of pieced ‘patchwork’ cloth waiting to be quilted, so many cloths created along one theme or another, then so many ideas come cascading down when I start yet another new idea. This has been my ongoing story. It is currently my place in the scheme of things.
So I’ve decided to approach this challenge by taking this Chakra Quest with Anodea Judith alongside my yoga practice, with the intention of unblocking the stuck energy, of being able to access the cause of the fear that underpins this procrastination habit. To work with chakra energy to integrate the body, mind and soul. To be able to move forward confidently, competently to finish and create the art that I am to make.
It is interesting though, because in my plan to finish some small colour and pattern studies, I am hand quilting them as opposed to the original plan ( made so long ago ..!.) to machine quilt them. And here’s what I have found : that I love, love the motion and meditative quality of hand quilting. I have been consistently quilting these pieces since I started. I love the textured look and handle of the cloth. That my energy penetrates all the layers, I’m putting myself in there. The stitches create a soft, beautiful, wholly integrated cloth.
I’m hoping that this bodes well for my chakra work .
I was mentally searching for the right word to put on here. I found ‘grow’ among my box of tricks. I had a choice of pink or green/white. ‘The right words at the right time’ you’d be mine’ Lyrics from Tracy Chapman float into my head.
I like how the densely stitched shapes create an undulating surface. The bicolour letters blend in and out of the back ground colour. Not too obvious.
Initially the letters were fed into the sewing machine , one snapped needle later and a chorus of profanity I decide it’s better to hand stitch through the layers.
I love the sensation of stitching into quilted cloth. it’s meaty as the needle sinks in, passes through and the tug of thread as it tails out, tautens, comes to a halt.
As I stitch all manner of thoughts come and go.. It creates a space to think, the hands are occupied .
Four more letters towards my #44lettersmore project. I have 30 letters so far. I’m unsure if these are done , they might need something a little darker. Also my spectacles crashed to the floor and split in two. So I’m working with an older pair… This might explain a lot .
#100 Day Result. Time lapse photo, As in a month has passed since its completion. Flouting the rules of marketing, always the rebel. But honest.
It was coincidence that the warm and cool colours balanced 50/50. A happy accident I’d say. Towards the end of the project, around day 75, the compositions became more abstract, with the shapes and tonal values of the letters and ground stitch merging together. I found my process.
And the fonts that have contrast are more identifiable, especially the the pale letters against the ground fabric. Like the signage on a road, which is apt since its where I’ve spent much of my time. On the road. Another rebel story.
Yes! I’m happy to say that I completed my project, #100 Day Result, finishing up on July 27th or thereabouts. I stitched one hundred Applique fabric letters. My sense of self and artist self merged into one. I became an artist.
I maintained my daily practice through one hundred days. It felt good. A new process emerged from the experiments, or even multiple processes as I tried hand and machine stitching in differing ways. I was riding the crest of the wave and keen to continue, I made a start on supplementing the missing alphabet letters. I call this project #44lettersmore.
Then along comes the ‘no’ part of the blog title.The ‘no’ represents a pause, the delay in daily stitching. I slip back into resistance, I deny myself the pleasure of making. As I write now, I see I am concentrating on the negative but it ( this negative) has to be acknowledged. It is a pattern of mine, a recurring theme. I will be going happily along then I stop suddenly and drift away from my intention, for no apparent reason. It then takes ages before I realise I’m off the beaten track. Much has been written about this, I know because I have All of the books ! So I have gleaned an insight as to why I behave in this way.. But it is a battle, a silent stealth that creeps back.
Aaliyah (age 5) took the photo of me holding the little square of O. A black and white graphic O with white stitches. Stitching the square is the easy and best part, establishing a regular sequence around the stitching is not ! I chop and change every day. It’s day 11, a good enough day to remind myself to implement ‘the making routine’, the way I did with yoga.