On Reading Rachel Beckman front, it's still early days, but she touched on my favorite topic for the first time in her blog here, (I've been dying to know how she reconciles the not-very-high status weaving commands,) proving herself to be versatile, an artist, a beautiful and optimistic soul, a totally different kind of a beast, (a "beast" like a gazelle to my hippo! And that's not self-deprecating because I love hippos; I feel an affinity towards their mostly-submerged life.) I learned from how she stands by her work.
About my not having the tools to think about "art" making: I think about what I do, plan my pieces, and in a half-detached, fearful way, struggle with combining concepts with cloth weaving, much the way one uses extra-long tongs to pick up trash. Sometimes I spend too much time thinking and not enough doing, but I am reconfirming my suspicion I lack the tools (understanding of the art school parlance??) to think constructively and be able to converse about my cloth making. It's a pleasure and a privilege to be able to read Rachel's thinking and how ideas manifest into tangible work. So what can I do to think more effectively? For starters, to be more vigilant about the vocabulary.
The easiest thing is, for the foreseeable future, (until I feel more qualified and I do hope some day I do,) I'm going to stop thinking of myself as an artist but a maker, a craftsperson, an artisan (who are they anyway??), a weaver. It doesn't matter what the name is, I suppose, as long as I keep weaving. But I still believe it is valid to discuss the art of weaving, the craft(s-person-ship) of weaving, and weaving as artwork.
About her critiques and my Textile Lunch Group: Firstly, the Textile Lunch group plus a whole lot of other textile women in Nelson are coming to my house on Saturday. Originally it was in lieu of the end-of-the-year lunch, but I wanted to see a bunch of others, too, and they happen to be all involved with textiles, and many have known each other far longer than I've been in New Zealand, so I decided to invite them all.
But the more I thought about constructive criticism and mutual encouragement, and that I think my Textile Lunch group has run its course, and because I know at least two others would like a regular group, I thought I'd gather as many as souls as I can and sound out some ideas. I'd love it if my old TL friends would come, too, but I think the focus need to be on current practitioners this time.
A common vocabulary is a great tools in sorting one's thoughts and speeds up the discourse. When a meaningful discourse takes place, if we're careful and focused on the discourse and not the one-up-person-ship, remain genuine and honest, and I think stay in the discussion for some length of time, it has got to be a wonderful stimulation on individual (and collective) creativity.
In the end, whatever I call myself, (the tax department calls me "textile worker - miscellaneous" or similar,) whatever methods I employ to design and make my cloth, if I can make a few pieces once in a while I can be proud of, on which I'm happy to put my name, pieces that satisfy me, that's what matters. But if I can have friends to hold hands with, in real life and in virtual life, to get over my rocky bits or to help their steep bits, that would make the experience of "making" , and therefore our lives, even more meaningful, doesn't it.
I think that's what I wanted to say in yesterday's post.
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I've been good today. I was supposed to take my tax return information to my accountant today, but I was far from finished, so this morning, I unplugged the Internet connection from my laptop and concentrated on the task. I had to connect again, because so many bills and statements are online nowadays, but I resisted the temptation for short breaks and kept working.
I'm only about halfway done, but by this time tomorrow, hopefully, I'll be finished for another year.