Can I be a Tiny Bit Enraged?

Yesterday I woke up with the memory of rage, (that's the best description I can come up with,) and resolved to take whichever is the most pragmatic next step I can come up with. It was a result of spending several hours in the night stewing over the design "process".  As I said, I was stuck at the same place as 10 years ago, and it was evident I hadn't learned Alison's processes then or since.

Without getting into too much detail, because obviously I don't know what I'm supposed to be doing even though I understand the words in the instructions, the steps I am supposed to follow are: Research; Broad Concept Exploration Drawings; Specific Development Drawings; Technical Problem Solving and Sampling;  and finally produce a woven piece. Each step comes with instructions/suggestions of techniques/material so I can narrow down choices before moving to the next.

The distinction between Broad Concept and Specific is where I get confused, not in words, but in the doing. This could be an artificial distinction, as Alison had to give instructions and grade and feedback and she can't have everybody working willy-nilly.

What is evident is from all other art courses I've done since Round One with Alison, I've picked up a whole lot of techniques for exploration, but I continue to operate in the familiar swirly, roundabout way where I go back and forth using many/all techniques to explore multiple ideas in parallel, until, wham, a choice jumps out. This is how I always operated, but in Round One I got severely told off for my "scattergun" method. Whereas I always saw my way as trying out many/all permutations. But having observed other people's processes in these ten years, I also know I don't develop ideas as far as other artists do.  

Ronette's drawing classes forced me to be at ease, (that's the only way I can describe,) jumping into new ways without visualizing the outcome, so it's not fear that stops me. I think I'm more comfortable making choices at different points than prescribed by Alison, and after much scattergunning in the exploration. Waddyano? I'm not as linear a thinker as I had always thought to be. I contemplated emailing Alison in the hopes she'd set me straight but I didn't even know how to pose the questions. 

I congratulate myself for learning other people's processes and making them my own. I don't have many original ideas, and this realization made me feel like a Big Girl. On the other hand, the Convent School Girl wants to follow orders religiously, (ha!) and I'm forever hopeful other people's processes may take me to places I could not myself; it's like a design joyride.

The night before last, I wasn't sure why I was so angry, but I was, very much. Usually when I wake up in the middle of the night I can steer my thoughts to more practical design issues, or imagine flying or jumping on a trampoline, (yup,) and eventually go back to sleep, but that night I stewed and stewed and stewed.
Thank the Weaving Goddess it was the BG and not the CSG who woke up yesterday morning. I continued the process just enough so I can get to practical stages with Self-Portrait and Friends(hip). Last night's awake hours were spent visualizing and calculating making lists and today I can get in real work.

But I intend to revisit this block after the exhibition opens and see if Alison can shed light. And make something based on her process that is further developed than where I normally end up. Touch Wood.


  1. LOL. I just had to add the original drawing because I thought you might think it was from a torso profile. I now see my body shape everywhere, and it ain't pretty, but at least it's jolly.

  2. Another thing is, I only thought I was sampling when I sample, but I do make editing decisions and that's still a continuation of the design process, rather than a separate step called sampling.

  3. Lynn Harper wrote: "So, Blogger is being weird and won't let me post a comment (grr), so I'm going to just write you. Why do you think Alison's design process is "right" and yours is "wrong"? Do you look at your work and see something lacking, something that you think Alison's process will help you correct?

    "I very much enjoy your blog mutterings, if you'll permit me to call them that - thank you! Lynn"

    Sorry about Blogger. Among other things I'm not crazy about the weird character identification, and I'm contemplating getting rid of it. Anyhoo, about certain processes being right/wrong, I replied: "I don’t necessarily think Alison’s is the RIGHT way, but it is different from what I do, and I think there is merit in trying different methods for coming across, possibly, a different way to do/see things. It’s the same as my husband always taking the same route to go to any particular place, whereas I prefer we take different routes if time allows just in case we discover a lovely garden, interesting (even bad) architecture, or a new something.

    "And then it is the unsmall problem of having being a teacher’s kid and a convent school girl; I still feel a tinge of guilt when I’m not following directions, and the guilt is ever so slightly stronger than the pride I feel for doing things my way.

    "But running out of time and having to do things last week helps. Sometimes that’s the only thing that propels me to move ahead as I can stew/dwell for a long time. Sometimes."

    Do please let me know if Blogger is behaving badly. I've been feeling a bit lonely here.

  4. Hi Meg

    I'm always impressed at the way you work through all the ups and downs of creating. I think I'm an eternal student, which protects me from ever having to produce an exhibition object.

    I once was reading about expert computer systems. They wanted to program a computer to land planes, so they talked to some expert pilots to find out how they did it. Trouble was the experts didn't know how they did it - they'd talk about various indicators or wind or horizons or something and the action to take, but if you actually followed the instructions the plane would crash. They were true experts, but they did so much automatically or unconsciously that they couldn't explain it.

    Lots of people have their own "magic" / thing they swear by / process they think they follow. It might not be the real thing, or everything, or the right thing for others.

  5. Hi, Judy. I do like doing my own thing my own way, but sometimes if I don't learn from others, I think I'll do the same old same old forever, which doesn't sound like much fun and also, I get bored often, so I heave to keep going. This is why I like the Australian emblem, by the way.

    I don't understand flying, or even driving a car, but I think all us weavers understand the not-thinking-thinking we do in weaving. I think this is why we enjoy it so much, too.

  6. Judy, I think art education gives a lot of tools, for us to use on our own later in our own making. This is why I'd like to stick to Alison's way so I have more tools. Also the critical eye, but I'm so critical already I don't need too much more of it. :->


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