A series of essays and blog posts on the nature of craft.
The Loss of the Creature – A tribute to Walker Percy’s essay of the same name. I wrote it in 1991, so it’s a bit rough; I hope to rewrite it properly someday. (I’m not quite as militant as I was then–I’m not vegetarian anymore, for one thing–but I still like it.)
Clinging – On the roots of frustration, based on my experiences in a 10-day silent meditation retreat. Nominally about craftwork, but applicable in many other areas as well.
The Value of Craft – Every fiber artist has been asked, “Why are you making this when you could buy this at Wal-Mart?” This blog post is an exploration of the reasons (stated and unstated) why craftspeople value working with their hands.
A Box of Chocolates – We only fully appreciate things when they are beautifully presented, unique, and fleeting. What can we do to enhance this? Do we create more beautiful, unique, and fleeting things, or do we reclaim the usual? No answers, but some interesting questions.
Thoughts on the Road Not Taken – On what actually makes taking your own path valuable, and a new look at Frost’s poem, “The Road Not Taken”.
Into the Wilderness – Why is it valuable to spend days, weeks, months beating through the wilderness to create your own original work? It’s not the uniqueness of the finished piece…”to me the essence is a desire to be a sovereign wayfarer, to claim my own experiences rather than to follow the path prepared…by engaging myself in the piece, in designing my own rather than meekly following instructions en route to a destination laid out by experts, I deepen my own experience.”
Creativity, Stash, and Hoarding – A large stash is totally unnecessary to creativity – one can create beautiful works with virtually no fancy tools or materials, and many Third World artisans do just that. The Western “need” for a huge stash is really about hoarding, and control.
Learning to Think – On learning to “think” in a given medium, understanding how A leads to B, and the struggle to understand how the pieces all fit together.
Slow Living – A meditation on how handweaving and sewing your own fabric relates to the Slow Eating movement – it’s all about relationships, and slowing down to savor things.
On Creativity – Someone asked me about how I could be so creative, and I answered: “To me, creativity is not a characteristic but a verb: it’s something you do, not something you are. Creating is as simple as taking a trip somewhere.” This post is about what is needed for creation, and how to avoid frustration as you begin to create.
Honoring the Divine – People marvel at my attention to detail. This piece talks about handwork as sacred – a connection to, and honoring of, the Divine.
You Don’t Need to be a Master! – How to create masterworks, even with limited skills.
Achieving Mastery – How to learn quickly? It’s not just learning things, it’s paying attention while learning, and furthermore, developing the skill of learning – learning how to learn.
On Kits, Creativity, and Instant Gratification Projects – A response to some “serious artists” who consider kits and weekend projects as contributors to a culture of “shallow dabbling”, and stiflers of creativity.
The Perils of Categorization – After I wrote the post on kits, creativity, and instant gratification projects, someone asked me whether I was suggesting dividing crafters into those who design and those who “merely” follow instructions. The answer is NO! In fact, I consider that kind of categorization one of the greatest perils that a creative spirit can face.
Fail Faster! – Why sampling is important.
Discipline and creativity – Why discipline and creativity are not opposites, though they are often thought to be…and a few words about spontaneity and planning as creative styles.
Mind the gap – When beginning to create, there is always a gap between your vision and your ability to execute. This gap is what frustrates beginners, and leads people to quit creating. This essay provides some thought and insights on the gap, and ways to get past it.
Giving Yourself Permission – Often the hardest thing is to stop wondering whether you “can” or are “allowed” to succeed at something, and simply work on succeeding at it.