I’ve done very little creative work in the last few days, but mostly because I’ve been distracted by various delicious things. The first is literally delicious: a friend gifted me with three large bags of persimmons from her tree – probably about 40-50 pounds total – and I have been cutting them up for drying in our food dehydrator:
Another delicious surprise came from work – our Board presented us with this cake in celebration of the successful launch of and photos from SkySat-1 (the gizmo on top is an edible model of the satellite):
The other delicious surprises? On my way home from Minneapolis, I finally got around to watching some videos from the Surface Design Association’s New Tools series. These are recorded lectures from SDA conferences (I think), and my DVDs date back to 1995. I bought them from Yarn Barn of Kansas at the ANWG conference because the topics looked interesting and they were cheap, in the clearance bin at $10 each. I didn’t expect much, and I hate watching videos, but I needed plane entertainment, so brought them along.
And what a surprise! I watched two DVDs, one on discharge printing with vat dyes, and one on mechanical and chemical resists (which I am only halfway through). These are full of wonderful technical information and inspirational textiles – I wish I’d bought more of them! And now I am thinking I need to go to some SDA conferences. Ideas are buzzing through my head with unbelievable speed.
As if that wasn’t enough, yesterday I went to a lecture by Robert J. Lang, a world-renowned origamist, in which he laid out the four principles for designing your own origami, and showed us a TON of his beautiful original designs. My mind is now abuzz with the possibilities of using origami with handwoven cloth, and I’ve dug out my copy of Shadowfolds, a book about folding cloth into interesting and original designs. Oh wow, what amazing ideas.
I am trying, in the midst of all this wonder, not to get too distracted by new techniques. In my twenties and thirties, I tended to flit from this to that, expanding my technical repertoire. But now I have a strong repertoire of techniques, and I want to do pieces that are about design rather than technique. Time spent learning a new technique is time not spent on executing designs – do I really want to invest six months (or even six weeks) in studying origami when I could be working on my own work? As time goes by, I find myself wanting to spend less time learning new techniques, and more time applying what I’ve learned, integrating it into my designs. I’m acutely aware that time is limited, and I need to invest it carefully.
Of course, I may still chase after some topics for the sheer intellectual joy of it, but it is a harder decision than it would have been, twenty years ago.
But isn’t it fantastic how many wonders there are in the universe? I would much rather have a world full of more wonders than I can imagine than one so small that I could exhaust the possibilities. I am grateful for every one of these delicious distractions.
Speaking of wonders, you may be wondering how the kittens are doing. Here’s a hilarious video of Fritz in a bag, and the mayhem that ensues.