Shell River – whole and detail:
Sunday afternoon Red Kate brought her lovely camera and useful but wimpy tripod (with a crank! so steam-punk!) and she took photographs of the river series on white backgrounds. I needed different a background to enter a different competition. The multiplicity of requirements for submitting work is exhausting. On the plus side, I have lovely pictures of my most recent work.
I just finished Black Stone River, but haven’t gotten photos of the whole of it yet:
That is linen background and coffee sack (from Esselon, one of my favorite places on earth) with smooth black stone beads stitched down on it. I got the beads because they made me think of the beach full of smooth black stones on Hurricane Island off the coast of Maine. We stopped during a sailing trip when I was a teenager, and I still have a handful of Hurricane Island stones that I picked up off that beach.
Alice is on a school trip to Rome and Athens, including a fair number of ruins, some Latin to translate and at least four ferries. She included this her most recent email “Far and away, most of the things I have acquired this vacation have been pebbles.” Which means it is apparently hereditary. My mother does this, and grandmother did as well.
A friend gave me a giant collection of buttons from her grandmother. I think the grandmother had lived next to a button factory, or worked in it, because there were a lot of not-quite-fine shell buttons, in sizes small, large, and larger. They were not useful for garments, so I have been saving them for some large decorative project.
When I made a background of all the white and off white fabrics I could find, I liked the buttons on them, the variation of sizes, and adding some of the weird singleton shell buttons that seemed to fit in.
I finished sewing the buttons down on Sunday. I need to figure out how to photograph it at home, but it is done. I am proud of it. Also I think it is voluptuous.
I have started the next piece already.
I spoke to the Northampton Modern Quilt Guild yesterday, and it was lovely. I was originally contacted to talk about Surface Design, but since it seemed like the definition of surface design is so broad as to be functionally useless, I wound up talking about my path to … whatever it is I do. The members were delightful; appreciative, attentive and with good questions.
Towards the end of my allotted time, I talked about various creativity manifestos that had inspired me to keep working. I went looking for them today, and found so many I couldn’t tell which ones had been important to me at the time and which ones had been only so much noise. Of course, after reading more than two or three of them, they all turn into more or less noise. It looks like many of them are more about exhorting the writer themselves to better working and thinking habits, and then they were published because publishing on the internet is nearly frictionless.
So I made my own manifesto:
- quantity first, sift for quality later
- lean into the stuff that pleases you
- “if you love something, do it again. if you hate something, do it again” (I can’t remember whose manifesto this came from, but it has been extremely useful.)
- leave the stuff that leaves you unmoved
- figure out what drives you, and follow it*
- do not worry about what to do with the results from your process, something will become clear
*This is where I say something about following your bliss or finding your passion except I am a reserved New Englander and I am deeply dubious about both of those as motivating forces. I find I do some of my most interesting and useful work when I am pissed off about something. I work well from aggravation. I know this, and can follow it. Know what emotions drive your strongest work, and see where they take you.
So? What does your manifesto say? Should you edit it?