Monday, December 27, 2010

December: Thoughts Thought

On Friday, November 26, when I went around the galleries in town swapping my tags, I did something else: I booked a gallery for October 2012 for another solo exhibition, in Nelson. I was elated and felt energetic about working on another project for about a week. Then, I remembered the negative comments I received, not from "regular" folks, not from friendly weavers, but successful, practicing, accomplished weavers who, frankly, don't know me that well.  And though I tried not to dwell on them, I couldn't help feeling like I wanted to hide just for thinking about another exhibition.  (Because they don't know me well, they must be objective, mustn't they?)  And I went another round of wanting to erase everything on the Internet about me and my weaving.

Then I had my annual ride on the Merry-go-round of "concepts in weaving", but this being the third year, I used the same vocabulary, the same logic, and reached the same conclusions just a lot more quickly: I don't want to make something only to fit the exhibition brief.  Maybe helping hang the exhibition is a more meaningful way for me to participate and support the event.

And then I had what felt like an eternity and a half of wondering what I'm doing with my life calling myself a weaver, when I spend more hours sitting in the office chair typing and pondering about weaving than I do on the loom bench.  It's the "Vocation Question" again. If I went back to an office job, if anyone would employ me, Ben and I could have a nicer life, worry less, and maybe travel more.  And I could weave as a hobby.  It's not the first time I thought about this, but the certainty of my doubt alarmed me.  All the other years I've contemplated this, it's been in part a little tongue in cheek, but this year felt different. And I haven't tried to go back to office work since 2004 because a) I'm too old to employ for office job in the current economy and b) I can't weave when I work because my life always gets overtaken by my job.

An exceptionally long hayfever season, (it's still going!) was taking a toll on my spirit as well. In fact, finding myself dispirited seems to be a recurring thing. 

Sometimes I see people as baubles, of different sizes, intensities, and of course hues; there are baubles that shine steadily, those that go through the shine/dim cycle; and even those that shine nauseatingly brightly making the surrounding lovely baubles look dull in comparison.  As I get older, as I pick up more fears, worries and doubts, as I discover more limitations, my bauble has grown a bit cloudier, slightly dimmer, a tad smaller.  And now, no amount of polishing seems to bring back the shine it once had.

I've been trying to remember what kind of a child I was and what kind of a relationship I had with my parents and teachers, and whether I really was the ornery child my family keeps referring to, or if I really lived the confrontational relationship years of introspection/reflection/counseling informs me.   Because I seem to recall, in the fogs of my reptilian brain (or is it the limbic system?), having been inside this slow chubby child in awe of the world around her, never quite in the world but observing from a short distance, unwaivering in her belief that world... just happened.  And I keep pondering that child I lived in looking from the inside out, and comparing her to the person my parents and teachers saw from the outside. Then my memory jumps to this girl, age 9, one late afternoon towards the end of the summer holiday, staring at the letters, "How to Change my Personality", written in the neatest handwriting she could manage, (erased and rewritten several times,) on the first page of a brand new notebook.

The short version of the reason why I wanted to do this exhibition, the idea for which was conceived maybe around March but has been brewing inside for longer, is because I am tired of "just a square piece of woven cloth" not being good enough to exhibit in an art exhibition.  Those were, as best I can remember, the exact words from the very first brief I received for a textile exhibition called, from memory, "Textile Fantasia" in Blenheim late last century. Back then, I thought there is so much more to learn about textiles, but now I find it offensive, even when the briefs nowadays are slightly more disguised, like, "beyond the traditional technique".

I think the longer version is that I want to recapture joie de vivre through weaving.  You know, the wonder the world can bring if only I were open to it.  For 2011, I didn't rejoin Marlborough Weavers, nor the Online UK Guild, (though I'll still be the Blog Mum for Marlborough Weavers.)  And I think the Textile Lunches have come to its natural end. It's not as if any of these demands a lot of my time or energy, but I felt compelled to walk alone for a bit, see what I find, and maybe see comes out from inside without the prodding. 

And so the working title, and the concept, for my exhibition is, "WYSIWYG: What You See is What You Get".

And there I said it, I've written it, and posted it.  And if this post is hidden or deleted any time in the future, it'll be because that'll be where I'll be at the time.


  1. Great post, Meg. I say, go for the exhibition, forget about what anybody else says about your work, and just move forward with your weaving. Also, maybe a part time job would do the trick for you. That way, it's not all or nothing.
    Hope 2011 brings you closer to where you want to be (wherever that is)!

  2. Always very encouraging. Thank you, Connie.

  3. You are such an inspiration! Great post. Thank you!
    Monika in Saskatoon

  4. I don't know about inspiration, Monika, but I sure do a fair bit of grumbling, pondering, and maybe going back and forth. -ing...

  5. Meg, YOU ARE UNLIMITED. Continue to do what you do and you will succeed.

  6. Just do it Meg, and while you're doing it I'll get get out the Silvo and the polishing cloth and buff up that bauble of yours - of course it still shines!

  7. This morning I thought, some makers suffer from talent not matching their ambitions; others can never imagine beyond their capabilities.

    When I think of making art, I think (know) I suffer from both. It's definitely easier not to worry about art and concentrate on making beautiful cloths. This is not art in some environments, or called "craft" or flatteringly yet slightly disparagingly "craft art"; sometimes outright traditional "techniques" or "methods". Grrr...

    But when you think about something like Quaker furniture, I'm not sure if the intention to make art really existed in the mind of the maker, though I'm sure they thought of making the most beautiful chair, for e.g., they could conceive and muster their talents to create? But they are considered objet d'art now, yes?

    And what about Amish or .... I can't remember the latest "in" style of quilt before it became so popular? Or for that matter, I guess any style of "craft" before it is elevated into art, so practitioners may begin to include "concepts" and "intentions" in them...

    Right-o. I'm start to get a bit confused and exhausted now. I'm starting to resign to the fact that the art/craft argument is never going to be resolved, but at least in my mind I wished I had a bit more clear understanding or some kind of a "fine line" that would be helpful in... understanding... I'm not quite sure what now.

    If weaving, and the woven cloth, were elevated to "art" in its own right in the place I live or read about, i.e. for now mostly NZ, Oz, US, Canada and UK, I'll be a happier, less worried weaver.

    My parents recently went to the Japanese Craft Counsel official craft show and Mom sent me the catalog and I could not believe how many "just woven" rectangular pieces of cloths were in it.

    Carol, this bauble appreciates your offer!

  8. Excited to hear an exhibition is going to happen. Be true to your heart and create what you want to. Its no one else's business but your own.

  9. Nobody else's business. :-) Yes, you're right, Dianne.


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