Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Working Alone, Living in This World

For the first seven years of my life, I was an only child; for the first ten years of school, I went to a Catholic school in Tokyo about an hour's train journey each way. So you might say I spent a lot of time in my own company from early on. I don't remember being lonely; I liked deciding what I did when I wanted (as long as Mom allowed), changing rules at whim, and not sharing! That's why I love being a weaver who works alone in a basement studio with two small windows.

Make no mistake, if our house had more room, I would definitely have an upstairs studio, looking to the West and the Takaka Hills, but we don't, and my big loom is too heavy, and the air compressor too noisy, so my basement studio, next to the garage, with the laundry and a small bathroom, suits me fine. Actually, it's perfect, because the basement feels cocooned, shutting out the outside noise and protecting me.

I may be what you call a self-taught weaver, in that I've gone to only a few workshops, and I don't belong to a local guild, but I learned much from books and magazines. I subscribe to a few Internet fora, I communicate with other weavers, and I go to galleries, museums, films and clothes/design stores specifically to find visual images I can work with. And I try to catch as many weaving/textile exhibits as I can.

With my weaving, every single decision is mine, and I alone am responsible for the outcome of every piece. Being a rather boisterous person, even 'I alone' can be a noisy bunch, so I would rather not have to contemplate anyone else's suggestion. Therefore, until recently, I never understood why people say the creative process is lonely.

But I do now, in a way. I have come to love being with other artists, to listen to how they came to their art, how they overcame problems or what they plan to do next. But most of all, I have come to appreciate belonging to the same group as they, a group of people who make things.

Maybe I grew older and a bit wiser, or maybe I have woven just enough pieces to have a taste of 'being an artist', and my few, tiny successes have given me a peek at triumph. By listening to other artists, I found myself, to my great surprise, more focused on my own work, and I even began to enjoy hearing comments on what I do, be they good or bad. And I know, then, I still live in this world.

Thank you, ladyv and jj.

1 comment:

  1. You are most welcome. Being the youngest of four children with an 11 year gap between myself and my brother, I spent lots of time entertaining myself and learning to be content in my own space. I too enjoy the company of others but I most enjoy my "me" time :-)


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