February 17, 2017

Compounding Synchronicities

Woah! You ever have a powerful BAM moment when all sorts of stuff comes together, falls into place, and opens the way to move forward? When these "ah-ha!" moments happen to me, I'm usually in the shower. (That's the window in my shower, pictured above, covered with a frosted panel that allows in sunlight while providing privacy.) The shower. Quite possibly the most inconvenient place to grab a notebook and scribble it down before I forget it. And I do usually forget it, because, even though powerful, these insights are ever so fleeting and not often articulated in fully developed sentences for easy transcription. They're most often a glimmer, a feeling, a nuance. This time, though, I held onto it for it was more fully developed than usual.
Several synchronicities have been piling up for me, stemming from The Magic of Myth workshop and my commitment to re-establishing my art practice. With this month's Magic of Myth focus on commitment and serenity in the back of my mind, I read the following passage shared by the poet Carolina Ebeid in In the Company of Women: Inspiration and Advice from over 100 Makers, Artists, and Entrepreneurs by Grace Bonney.
Reading this is so helpful. I substitute "art making" for "writing." I have been focused on my daily art practice as making something every day, or working actively on something every day - "something" being a physical piece of art or a component of a piece of art. I have been failing to do this. And have been beating myself up for this supposed failure.

What I have been doing, though, is art making. The "idleness and thinking" and "reading and engaging with other art forms." I have pages upon pages of notes, jots, inklings, ideas for development, questions to answer, further research to investigate. This is all part of it. Part of my commitment to make art. (I actually touched on this previously, but reminders and encouragement from any quarter are welcome and necessary.)

Another synchronicity that made me sit up and take notice was similar themes and strategies around commitment and follow-through being addressed in a Magic of Myth video and this blog post by Ann Wood (a follow-up to the one I shared in my last post). Combined with the revelation / reminder above, all of this unlocked a sticky stubbornness of mine and provided such a feeling of ease and "rightness." 

Specifically, this unlocking granted myself permission to craft. To make useful things that are not part of my art practice. Until now I have felt a bit guilty for my crafting; for making a lampshade or knitting or learning to make clothing. Guilt for putting so much time and effort into non-art* when what I really want and need to do is make art. But here's the thing, crafting is building my skill set with textiles. I am learning new skills without the added art pressure of bearing my soul at the same time. At this stage, for me, crafting is art making. Just as reading is art making, and walking in the woods is art making. 

Put another way, I look back on my time at art school as a fully immersive experience with a single goal; to develop my artistic voice and learn the necessary skills to express it. I learned to express my voice with photography. Now, I still have my artistic voice but I am learning a new language with which to express it. This new language is textiles. By crafting, I am learning the skills I need to express my artistic voice with textiles.

The BAM moment in a nutshell? It's all connected. Every activity or inactivity that supports art making is art making. So stop already with the self-guilt and keep doing what you're doing. Congratulations, you are on the right path.

*The distinction between craft and art to which I allude is utterly personal and non-judgemental. My art projects grapple with feminist ideas and concepts while my craft projects grapple with design and engineering. Obviously, craft is art and art is craft. For me, though, making a lampshade is not my art.

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