No Direction is the New Direction

As well as avoiding doing my tax return due next week, I'd been moping, stomping and pacing while pondering the question of my next direction, when, on Friday, I ran into Jay Farnsworth of the Red Art Gallery at Zest Cafe on Bridge Street. I do a lot of thinking as I try to explain things to people, (which is why counseling works for me), but Jay is one who is able to make me understand what I mean or what I'd been thinking art-wise almost instantly. So in the short time we waited for her three Caffè latte to take away, two trim, one regular (possibly the other way around), I see now that I don't want a specific aesthetic direction this year, but that I want to go all over the place learning new skills and weave structures and improving my techniques, so that when I do decide to have a direction or a theme, I will be better-equipped to express them.

It's so simple, unassuming, unpretentious and so satisfying.


jb said...

Just stick with Jay and you'll be alright, I'd say.

From her purchases @ Zest, I assume her own cafe is still a work in progress?


Meg said...

It's taking shape, JB, but she's not in any hurry to open. On Friday Andy was building tables at his home. I can't wait.

Beryl Moody said...

You got good advice -- but you probably had already thought of this before you had the conversation with your friend. To be a weaver, one must simply weave. The individual creative process can't be forced and time will show you the way as long as you continue to follow your heart.

Meg said...

Setting a concrete goal, as in for an exhibit(ion), was interesting. I had never worked on a series before, and I found the progression/metamorphosis interesting. That's also why if I ever do this again, I'd like to start much earlier and see how much I'll deviate from the initial idea.

I also found the difference between weaving commission pieces vs. for an exhibit(ion) interesting as well. I still prefer the former, I think, but I needed to experience the different expectations/perspectives to understand how I work.

For someone like me, working without a concrete goal is a challenge in itself, and I'm already enjoying the "wherever this takes me" approach.

Merisi said...

It took me a good many years, but I am now beginning to learn and accept, that all cannot be decided or known or resolved today. There's a tomorrow, and wherever it may take me, I shall be allright.

Good sailings to you, Meg, you are a very talented and brave artist.

Meg said...

I keep chanting feel-good words like "organic", "gestation" and "receive" to remind me to be open to what comes my way. To me, not being proactive used to appear/feel lazy, but perhaps this is one good side of aging, too; one learns that you can hurry somethings, and good things come to those who wait patiently - some of the times.

We'll see at the end of the year what I've achieved!

Merisi said...

"good things come to those who wait patiently - some of the times"
This is a concept of thinking that can easily be misunderstood as not being proactive. "Gestation" is a word that has a positive connotation in that regard: even though outwardly, in the biological process at least, you do not see progress, inwardly a whole lot is going on, and growing. Nothing good would come of trying to precipitate this process.
Sometimes I'm amazed how things, that kept me up at night a year ago, don't faze me anymore, even though outwardly nothing has changed.

So, for you, don't put yourself too much under the achievement treadmill, simply trust your creative side. Sometimes one needs idle reflection to accomplish great things in the future.

Meg said...

Merisi, another one I like is "take the time to smell the roses". I used to have this mental picture of me (or anyone else) swiftly walking up to a rose bush, holding on to the stem of the biggest bloom, and sticking the whole face into it to take a great big whiff, a couple of times, and then walking away, probably swiftly again. Now I'm open to standing still or sitting on the bench and wait until the rose scent wafts my way. That's progress for this treadmill/To-Do-List nut.

Meg said...

Merisi, when I had coffee with my friend Nancy last week, I told her I like hippopotamus, rhinoceroses and elephants, and Nancy asked me why. I had to think a while, but I realized I've come to like these animals that seem to move slowly most of the time; of course they can act quickly if they need to. I believe it has something to do with the slowness of weaving.

In my childhood, I think I was more fascinated by, among other things, Japanese monkeys.

Maureen said...

seems to me that creating studio-work with the goal of an exhibit in mind, and not confining yourself over the year or two you have allowed for preparation -- to sticking to just one theme -- is alot like a relationship/marriage. You cannot predict exactly where the marriage will take you both, how it will look and feel in 5 years, 10 years or 30 years ... you can only let yourself go into the relationship, nourish it, and let it evolve into what it will be. Otherwise you stand the risk of suffocating the very thing you love the most in the marriage.

For me, the same thing is operating in my relationship to my art -- to to any particular goal I have with/for my art. I have to be careful not to pre-establish a theme to heavily (having a theme in mind is fine as long as I don't cling to it in spite of inspiration to let my theme evolve if it wants to) and careful not to disregard impulses to branch out.

That's what is so beautiful about art -- it can be literally alive if you let it be alive!

You are so lucky to have all of these mentors and experienced people to help you wrap your mind around what you are trying to do, especially the ones who help you articulate your own process. Good luck with all of that, meg.

Meg said...

And YOU definitely are one of them, Maureen.

I like your likening art to marriage; I'm coming to terms with the fact art is not work but a life, so I can't switch it on/off, and I can't answer that dreaded Tax Department question: "How many hours per week do you work?" And if this is the case, how boring is it to know the destination and just walk straight towards it.

I'm starting to feel lucky to be embarking on this journey at this stage of my life when lots of other doors are closing, that I can trust the hitherto-unseen big picture.

Oh, man, life is good, Maureen!!

Maureen said...

once you have that feeling that art is not work -- that it is your life, then you know you are an artist -- you have to be. there really isn't a choice for you. you live, eat, breathe art - you are even making art like making love. you're most definitely giving birth to your art, Meg - I'm glad life is good for you!

Meg said...

Maureen, unfortunately I haven't reached there yet. My relationship with what I do is more like the tenuous relationship between a mother and a teen-age daughter. Some days are filled with pure and simple elation, other days I want to chuck it all in and get an office job. I'm going about this in reverse order.

But now I know why I've been gaining weight - I'm pregnant with art! The staff at my gym can relax and stop devising personalized plans for me.

Meg said...

And speaking of elation, when I have a good day, I still can't get over what a child-like happiness I feel; I don't think I've felt that kind of pure happiness since my teens when I became so smart I had all the answers.