I was just about to use an unfinished coiled basket for today’s entry when I realized that it would have been the third week in a row that I had used an incomplete piece to express an artistic process or feeling about making art. It was too weird and too much of a pattern about my life. In the middle of twelve things, having trouble finishing anything.
Now there can be a beauty and a wonder in the incomplete. Coincidentally, I was reading an article in Art in America this past week and found an amazing quote from a Chinese Tang dynasty historian named Chang Yen-Yuan. Here is part of that quote: “From the moment one knows that a thing is complete, what need is there to complete it? For the incomplete does not necessarily mean the unfulfilled.”
So beautifully inscrutable. So open to interpretation. So potentially important to the process of painting (more on this some other time). But so utterly damaging for completing concrete tasks, and such an easy way out for one who loves to procrastinate, and to procrastinate some more. Until there are those twelve unfinished projects jamming up my life and my creative process as well.
So I stayed up until 2 am last night and finished this ruffled, peyote stitch, beaded bracelet. Yeah! It can be done!
On Tuesday, I took a class at my favorite bead store and learned one of the many variations of the peyote stitch. What a wonderful way to spend a day. Figuring out a new technique. Hanging out with friends. Talking. Beading. Talking some more. Surrounded by the colors of all the beads hanging from every wall and in all the small bins surrounding the room.
These hundreds of seed beads may not look like much right now, but they will soon become a bracelet. And if all goes well, it will be adorable!
And aside from all that, when I learn something new, I always learn a bit more about myself as well. This time the mini-lesson came in the form of taking time for breaks and to get up and move and to stretch and to breathe. Now you’d think all that would be second nature, but sometimes with something like needing, I get so intent on doing the project and so determined to finish it before I go home, and so determined to keep up with the other students because I know that I work slowly that I can sit for hours and not pause for anything.
But this time, I knew that I wouldn’t come close to finishing, and I was keeping up, and there was a flow and a rhythm to finishing a section then taking a break and then doing it all again. Learning, remembering, creating, all one.
Amazing! I wrote that title just now thinking about how fast time seems to be going. And only then remembered that I had used the same title for a painting I did last summer. So Quickly Now is a flower form and to me felt full of movement and growth, but was also symbolic of how short-lived everything is.
January of 2012 is proving me right about that. It is almost half over already and I am feeling my own internal pressure to have accomplished more. My quiet (productive) winter time is vanishing before my eyes. By now I should have painted much more, created a new mandala (or two), made many beaded bracelets, worked on some unfinished baskets, finished knitting a scarf I started last year, read five books, lost ten pounds, organized my office (for real), and cleaned my house. I am “so quickly now” going to try to set aside my unrealistic goals, have some fun, make some art of some kind or another, and figure out that it’s all OK. Really!
My favorite bead store in Friday Harbor is having huge sale this week. So on Tuesday, I hopped on the inter island ferry and came home with this stash. Clearly one of my winter projects has been determined by this purchase. But I can’t think of a nicer way to spend the rainy days and nights of January and February in the Northwest. For me, working with these beautiful, bright colors and with beads that sparkle in the light is clearly a way to fight the winter blues.
This has been an amazing summer for me. I’ve barely left home. And I have developed what for me is almost like a routine. Emails in the morning. Sit outside, eat lunch, and read a little. Work in the garden. Work in the studio. Work in the garden a bit more if there is still light in the sky. Make a basket or a bracelet. Cook dinner with lots of wonderful things from the garden. Watch a movie. Sleep.
A very simple, magical summer!
Tonight is the opening at ESU. Finally!
Then on to the Jazz Festival! Come see this and other drawings there! And of course, Anita’s fabulous jewelry, Marci’s great photos, Stan’s inspirational music, lots of mandalas, and more…
Back home at the end of September to establish another routine. Onward! Upward? Let’s hope so!