The last few days have been rather harried – I am juggling three projects at work, in various states of crisis, and worse, have been out of the office at a training class for two days (and will be out for one more), while trying desperately to stay on top of the mounting crises. I’m also recovering from a cold, and laboring under deadline for a Handwoven article, so my little spare time has been spent weaving samples for said article.
Weaving the samples has been more daunting than I expected. I mean, three little mug rugs, how hard can that be? But the difficulty is that these mug rugs need to be perfect. They’re teaching samples, and will be photographed up close, so any imperfections will certainly show. Two of my three weaves are also hard to mend afterwards, so the actual weaving has to be up to snuff. Which, at least for me, has meant lots of weaving, un-weaving, and reweaving. Also at least two or three of each type of sample, after discovering imperfections in the first one or two. And hair-pulling, which is not helping my state of mind vis-a-vis work crises, either.
This is, however, helping me understand why some weavers don’t weave.
I’m not a perfectionist. I realize this may sound a bit strange to those of you who have watched me obsessively sampling, measuring, weaving, re-measuring, and re-sampling (rinse and repeat!), but I’m really not. I regard everything as a sample and a learning experience, practically up until the last picks or stitches are put in. I am cavalier about my mistakes, generally speaking, and prefer to cut around them or camouflage them or just weave something busy enough that they won’t show. (Aiming for the spectacular doesn’t hurt either; if the overall piece is impressive enough, no one’s going to notice the small flaws in the back.) I am many things, but a detail-oriented, impeccable technician is just not one of them.
I think that actually makes me stronger as an artist and as an innovator. Because I am not a perfectionist, I don’t obsess over my mistakes. I note them, correct them where possible, and move on.
But I have met weavers who feel that if every thread is not perfect, they’ve failed. That has always struck me as counterproductive – talk about fear-inducing! – but I’m also starting to realize that it’s frustrating! Weaving and re-weaving a simple little 5″x5″ square over and over again is driving me crazy – I can’t imagine trying for perfection in a larger piece! I’ll be thrilled when this weaving is done and I can go back to my regular, exploratory style.
On a totally different front, I’ve ordered some fruitcake components, and plan to bake a big batch (9 big and 9 small) of fruitcakes this weekend. Hopefully messing around with all those wonderful home-candied citrus peels, candied Bing cherries, dried fruits, and other delicacies will provide some distraction from the craziness.