2018 – the year of the big think

juggler3sI have reached a point at which I feel the need for an assessment of what I’m doing, why, and of what I want to do.  Amongst other things the work I’m making at present is too slow to keep up with my ideas, and that is having a dampening effect on the excitement of those ideas.  The stitching element is taking up time which I want to devote to print making.  And I still have vague ideas of trying out three dimensional work, somehow.

critics1I now think I want to eschew external influences which are constraining.  I’m giving up thinking that my work fails because it does not fit into a size category, for instance.  Indeed I don’t want to think of being in any category at all.

juggling1I think.  Well, I have quite a bit to think about.  I am certainly not thinking about giving up working in some way; it is an essential part of living as far as I’m concerned.  But I have vaguely thought about giving up this and the Threading thoughts blogs.  As I say, it is to be a Year of Big Thinking.

13 thoughts on “2018 – the year of the big think

  1. I appreciate your blogging. You think in a very different way to how I do, so when you show the development of a piece, I learn something by it.
    But I can understand why 2 blogs would be a bit too much.
    As for the quilt problem you referred to on the other blog, I am in a similar situation. One of my quilts travelling with a SAQA exhibition in Europe went missing, presumed lost. But, though the venue had insurance, they are really moving slow about it all. At least SAQA is the one who is dealing with this. I think I Would give up if I had to deal with it. I haven’t the knowledge needed to do what would be required.
    Sandy in Bracknell

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    • Sandy, I’m sorry to read about your quilt disappearing. That’s so dispiriting, and especially as the venue is dragging its feet. I’m glad that SAQA is dealing with it, and that you will have the compensation – which does not really compensate for the horrid situation.
      Thanks for your feedback on finding my blogs useful. It is not the effort of keeping them up which makes me question whether to maintain them. It’s the paucity of dialogue which I find somewhat dispiriting. I do enjoy the few folks who do comment and engage, thanks.

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      • We all need to know we aren’t talking to thin air! But often, there is timidity on the part of a potential commenter. I find this on my blog, too. But I decided that my original plan was for recording what I am working on/making. Or for things that inspire me – even now and then things not related to art, but that is part of who I am.

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  2. Dear Olga,

    Your Threading Thoughts blog linked me here – how wonderful to discover these beautiful works of yours!

    I understand the need to reassess. January, not so much because of the beginning of the new year, but more so because of its timing after the holidays and in the dead of winter, is a wonderful time to stand back and evaluate our situations. I have faith that you’ll discover some new insights and will weave them into your work and your life.

    Thank you so much for sharing your gifts with us. Your words and your art are immensely important to me – and, I’m sure, to so many here.

    Warmly, Mary

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    • Thank you, Mary! Yes, I’m sure I will find a way through the thinking – I certainly do not feel under any pressure. I’m hoping that it will be not only a positive, but an enjoyable exercise.

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  3. Sandy, there is obviously so little dialogue expected by these blog platforms that there was no space for a reply to your reply! I agree that a blog is a good place for noting process and inspirations etc., and to a great extent that is how I use them. But I do miss the kind of creative conversations I hoped would develop from time to time. I suspect that in many ways I was over-optimistic and unrealistic, in that not everyone wants to talk at the same time, and about the same things. I admit that I myself do not always want to engage in discussion.
    And you are right – one is often timid to make a comment, especially as conversations face to face are so much easier to develop gradually as opposed to writing something. The latter is so easily misread, or misunderstood.

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  4. I would be sad if you stopped blogging Olga, as I enjoy reading your blog.

    This is obviously a time for thinking, re-assessing and pondering on the direction you want to take and this is not a bad thing. You say that ‘The stitching element is taking up time which I want to devote to print making’ – maybe this is what you need to do for a while, concentrate on printing, see where that takes you, and I am sure eventually you will want to start stitching again.

    I hope that this period of re-assessment is a productive one.

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    • Thank you Eirene. Yes, I shall try to make sure I do more printmaking this year. I already have a pile of images waiting to be cut into lino, so I’m keen to get going once the current project backlog is cleared out of the way.

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  5. I like this idea of not fitting into any category. As I look back at my own creative journey, I can see how trying to fit into categories sometimes pushed me forward but often held me back. Worse, having to rationalize how a work might fit a category (or theme or challenge or exhibit) was a cross between convincing of myself that I was right and a tiresome exercise. The older I get, the more sure I am of myself, the less being accepted into categories matters anymore. Priorities change, if nothing else.

    Not sure I like the idea though of you quitting the blogging practice. But my first rule about blogs has always been that one does it for oneself first, and for anyone else second. If it is not of value to you, or what value there is can be accomplished in a different or better way for you, then surely you should not keep doing it just for us. I see by your replies to other comments that it is the lack of interaction between writer and reader that is causing you this rethink. I share this frustration with lack of responses but in truth, it is not the primary reason I maintain my blog. Still, I think we all wish readers were more forthcoming with their thoughts.

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    • Sheila, we have talked about this desire not to be constrained by categories before. I’m still clarifying my thoughts about myself and my work as far as categories go; mostly towards abandoning the squeeze of a tight pigeon hole!

      You are right about the blog – it is, or rather, they are mostly for myself, but I do need to think through why I need/want them. Clarifying that for myself should help mitigate the frustration.

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  6. I hope you will forgive this long reply. I’ve been thinking a lot about your comments here since I first read them at the beginning of the month – both about the lack of responses you now receive from visitors and about your own work dilemmas.

    My immediate thought on reading was how very sad it would be if thought-provoking blogs like yours were to disappear. My personal dialogue with your blog is often internal and unexpressed. I may not always comment immediately or even at all. However, I always read and think about what you write and you and other bloggers develop and influence my thinking which I would miss hugely if it stopped.

    Despite my comment about internal dialogue, what you say about a falling off in the number of comments left on your blog is interesting. I have noticed a similar pattern – and it is disappointing because I always find the input of others stimulating. However, it’s interesting that there hasn’t been a similar drop in the number of page views recorded, even when I don’t post so often. Maybe people are looking – they just aren’t commenting?

    I think perhaps this reluctance to comment stems to a large extent from the development of other social media – most of which require only a brief comment or even just a ‘like’ or emoticon. Those with work to show increasingly seem to be turning to Facebook or Instagram for a quick ‘fix’. A response to a blog post if it is to be part of a dialogue requires thought and a time commitment. For many, I suspect this is becoming more and more difficult.

    On the subject of speed of output, some very personal thoughts have surfaced since I first read this post. I have been searching for some time for a speedier way to keep up with my ideas as I stitch. I have found my quality A3 printer a great help as I can now print out ideas onto fabric, paper or card immediately (as long as they’re less that A3 in size) rather than needing to access commercial printing which may involve a frustrating delay of 3 or 4 weeks.

    However, that only takes me so far. My clever printer doesn’t lessen the time it takes to stitch even the smaller pieces, if stitch is to be extensive and the main focus. So there I too have a dilemma in my work: I enjoy stitch and I enjoy abstracting photos and designing images. How then should I marry the two so that my rate of output keeps me challenged and involved?

    I think I find that easier when I resolve only to stitch a small section of an image, or even to use stitch mostly as structure rather than as focus. I have been using the first thought particularly in recent pieces and it has upped my work rate and proved to be something of a relief. Whether it makes for better work I have yet to decide. (Therein may lie another dilemma!)

    Also, I have for some time wondered whether photography rather than stitch should be my main focus – though I certainly don’t have the skills to make a go of this thought. Or am I too just feeling the unfortunate need to find sanctuary in a pigeon-hole. I think perhaps I just need to remind myself that the most important thing is to choose the medium that best expresses the idea rather than the other way round.

    All this thinking never fails to challenge and to be a pleasure. Thank you for what you provoke!

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    • Margaret, thank you for your long and thoughtful reply.
      I agree with what you say about comments. Really I am being unreasonable in wanting dialogue, as I myself do not comment on all blog posts which interest me.

      The question of what aspects of art deserve/need most of one’s time and attention is a tricky one. It is giving me a bit of head-scratching at present, and it is interesting to read of your own dilemmas. Let’s hope that we sort ourselves out before too long!

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      • I don’t think you are being unreasonable. Comments and dialogue are encouraging and stimulating. I don’t blame you at all for wanting them. I certainly do!

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