...although that isn't always possible in every case, right? we sometimes don't have a choice to do what we love.
When it is possible, turning toward what we love really helps. This tile, which I think is "ok" but certainly not a favorite, reminded me that it's all right to skip classes when I can see that the finished product doesn't particularly appeal to me. This one didn't, because it's so busy. But I did it anyway, because it's part of the multi-class package from last spring's Artifex Eruditio, a brilliant philanthropic educational experience run by some hugely talented CZTs in Singapore. There must be about twenty classes to choose from. All of them included in the package.
With that number of classes, it's guaranteed I won't be interested in every one. I've skipped a few already that held minimal interest, but I felt I "should" do this one. So I did.
What's great about having done it: it's been weeks since I have drawn anything. I've been busy with a very large punch needle embroidery project (see the last post) and still have far to go. So I've put off all drawing. But today I drew for two hours and enjoyed every moment, even if I'm not particularly attracted to the result.
Which reminds me: Anything worth doing is worth practicing (I'm preaching to myself here). That is true with any skill. I am out of practice with drawing and need to begin again. It's also true with meditation, which fortunately I have been practicing daily--and every meditation is itself a practice of beginning again in every moment.
Two of the big joys in my artistic life are: Drawing and textiles. Oddly, I have trouble doing projects in both media at the same time. It seems I'm "all in" for one but need to postpone the other. I am enjoying every stitch in my current embroidery, but wow, am I missing drawing. And I see the results of being out of practice.
Although I'm not sure how to resolve this dilemma, I am so very happy I spent time drawing today.
Practice doesn't make perfect. Practice reduces the imperfection.
I have more done than this shows, but to make a better photo, I had to cut out some of the parts that are partly-done but mostly-undone. This is the Stone House Runner in progress (from The Old Tattered Flag, links in my previous post), a punchneedle embroidery pattern using cotton Valdani threads. I haven't cleaned this up in any way yet so it's still raggy-looking but it's coming along. It's also the reason I haven't been drawing--I've been obsessed with getting this underway.
It's a pure pleasure to be punching this piece.
(There are a lotta p's in that last sentence, eh?)
Another new project, with all the excitement of a new beginning. This piece is one I've had my eye on making for years, literally...it's called the Stone House Runner and it's also from Old Tattered Flag. Julie, one of the owners, is such a great designer. You can get this as a punch needle embroidery piece OR as a full-sized stunning rug design. At some point, despite wanting to focus on my own designs, I may also want to make this as a rug because it's so beautiful. Here you are just seeing a small part of the entire design. I've put off punching this for 5+ years and now is the time.
Beginning again with projects brings so much excitement. Unless, that is, I have to pull something out and totally re-do something (start over), in which case it can bring another emotion entirely, one that's less fun.
Still, I'm reminded of that most basic instruction in meditation: When the mind wanders, just notice that, and begin again. Without judgement. Oh yes, that's the hardest part: without judgement! Both in meditation and when re-doing a project at work or in a hobby or in art.
And yet, there is always, always something fresh and interesting when we start over/begin again. Always something to learn. As I practice this in both meditation and art, I get enormous pleasure from those learnings. Just as I am with this new piece. It's excitement AND contentment, all rolled into one.
The birds they sing at the break of day...'Start again,' I hear them say.
Why "done but not finished?" Because this is the piece that I'll be using to demonstrate finishing at the class I'm giving a couple of friends on punchneedle embroidery. The punching is done; the finishing will wait for the class.
If you look at this sample, there are some loose threads that have popped up on the front and need to be trimmed. That's one part of finishing a piece. On the back, which can't be seen here, there are many loose ends to trim. And there are two other major finishing techniques waiting to be done--I'll use this sample to demo at the class.
This pattern is GREAT for beginners--not only do you learn to punch, but there's some additional hand embroidery involved (the red petals on the echinacia flower), plus the border is punched using a deeper height on the needle, which gives newbies a chance to see what punching much longer loops will feel like. The design is simple enough for a beginner. This is the Old Tattered Flag's design called Under the Blooms. You can even buy it as a kit with all the threads required. Highly recommended if you want to learn punchneedle embroidery, or if you plan to teach it.
I'm a textile artist (traditional rug hooking, punch needle rug hooking, and other textile arts), a long-time meditator, a certified meditation teacher and coach, and focused on learning about the interplay of art, creativity, and mindfulness every day.
SITES TO WATCH:
Insight Meditation Society
Oxford Rug Hooking School
Zentangle: The Official Site
Green Mountain Rug Hooking
Massachusetts Tarot Society