This is one of the views from the balcony of a country riverside motel I stayed in overnight in the heart of western Victoria.  The town, ‘Donald’,  in the middle of the Wimmera was flooded in January this year, including the tiny motel I had booked in to – explains the lingering musty odour.

The arching wooden bridge (painted green) is just visible, reflection also.  I had fallen into a ‘sink hole’ – metaphorically speaking and the two days away in the Australian bush was just what I needed, though not nearly long enough.  Being a city girl born and bred, I love the wide open spaces, changing vegetation and friendly unassuming  people.

Trust a ‘spinner’ to stroll into the local woolbroker and see what might be available from the local sheep farms. Lucky for me, the young fellow let me have my pick.  First on offer was ‘superfine merino’ destined for the Italian market’s high end tailored suits.  Beautiful, fine luxurious fibre, difficult and time consuming to spin – there never being sufficient time in life. Tempted, I declined.  Next on offer was this….

Straight off the sheep’s back! A fine crimp with a lovely staple length, a little grotty with minor vegetation in the tips but I jumped straight in with much gratitude. How much did I pay for his glorious fibre? Nothing! It was handed to me -“have you got something to put it in and is that sufficient?” There is NEVER enough wool!!

A clean staple lets me know I have picked up a gem…

Have peeked in to some of the recent posts and discussions centering around art, economics, being alone in one’s own space to create and importantly using creativity to ‘gift’ to others.  Personally, I find it difficult to eloquently paraphrase my thoughts online – like being camera shy, a brain freeze takes hold and the words become hidden in a wave of terror and insecurity with the comments appearing ‘lame’. Thus, I try not to say too much even though I am observing greatness.

There is an issue that does keep surfacing though and I am presenting it here come what may. Some of us are ‘movers and shakers’, creating unique and beautiful works in numerous ways and mediums, including those people that give their lives generously to others. Then there are those of us who are ‘workers’, whom for whatever reason just cannot pull that uniqueness together, try as they might.  Perhaps for many reasons, known and unknown, they can follow, learn, serve in other ways and revel in the art that is before them.  They may be artisans rather than artists and contribute in the best way they can.  After much reflection, it seems to me that I fall into the latter category. Perhaps I am not dedicated or committed sufficiently to be an artist, as far as I can tell there is a wall that I cannot get over, and I am particularly tired of the line -” Is that your design?” If we are all designers, then who is going to purchase our product?

That being said, we only get to be here once (as far as I know) and everyone should make the most of that time and do what they believe in, what makes them happy, eases the stresses of the day. You know, the things that make you want to get out of bed in the morning.  Bills will always be a problem, there is no easy answer to that.

None of this probably makes any sense, is relevant or well written but then,  I am computer shy !!!!

And the Silky Oak (grevillea robusta, I think) is in flower.

Seems a nap is the order of the day.

Sweet dreams Sophie. Take care everyone.

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16 Responses to Reflecting

  1. ...iph... says:

    Wow–the landscapes are so gorgeous. What an inspiring and marvelous trip that had to be!

    I share your sudden “camera shy-ness” in this format. I have never yet reached the feeling of being “in flow” while writing within the blogging format. I can write about exactly the same sort of things to a close friend, and the words come free and easy–but then I sit down to Write A Post and I totally freeze up. Maybe that will come in time–but right now it feels awkward, stilted, not at all my real voice. It’s pretty frustrating.

    As for the other topic here–I think that dividing people into categories like this, especially ones that have an inherent value judgment, “artist” and “artisan,” “creators” and “workers,” is toxic to the creative process. Life is long–any one of us might be in an inspiration-gathering, practicing, apprenticeship period during one period of our lives, to be followed by an inspiration-giving, mastering, artist creator period later. You might think of yourself as a student without realizing that others perceive you to be a teacher. Moreover, I think it’s healthy, desirable, part of the process to cycle through these phases, if you have any kind of lifelong engagement with creativity. I believe returning to apprenticeship states is how we grow as creative beings.

    Don’t judge yourself; never allow anyone to judge you. Trust in your process and know that wherever you feel you are right now is where you need to be–and not necessarily where you will always be.

    • Ingrid says:

      If this is stilted, awkward, non-flowing writing from you, I can hardly wait to witness your real voice. As to the other, I am not surprised at your reaction and that I agree with you up to a point – I just think that when you get to my age and you are striving for something that always seems just out of reach, that you can’t quite get at, realize or achieve, then it may be time to see things from another perspective. Not to stop trying, but take the pressure off, so that the creator can enjoy the process instead of getting frustrated and despondent – is that a little clearer?

      • ...iph... says:

        My feelings about this are so complicated! The simple core ideas that emerge…

        I think the creative process demands a certain state of being that is always striving, always hunting after something just out of reach. I’ve read a lot of volumes of collected correspondence from various artists (mostly poets and novelists), and from that I know that even the biggest names do not sit around saying, “I’m so pleased with myself! What wonderful Art I create! I’ve certainly gotten this down, and effortlessly realize my vision!” :o)

        I do agree with that it is wise to “take the pressure off.” Have you read Diane Ackerman’s “Deep Play”? Do, if you haven’t yet. I go through absolutely paralyzing spells like this myself, believe me, with worrying that I should figure out some way to parlay my creative efforts into a regular income, as if that would justify it, as if value can be measured that way. I think it’s harder in many ways today, with the abundance of inspiration out there online. Wonderful too–but yes, the pressure, the measuring up. I hear you. I’ve been thinking a lot (and intending to write) about WHY we do things–and I do think enjoyment is all. Regardless of status among other creative folk (…shades of the high school gym and being picked for sports!), regardless of monetary remuneration… play and enjoyment and pleasure should be all.

      • Ingrid says:

        I have to think about this iph. It can be as complicated or as simple as you want it to be and just now I am opting for simple. Life is so damn complex, just when you think you have something sorted out it back fires and has you tearing your hair out, which is undoubtedly the cause of all this grief and the need to play unreservedly. Memories of the high school gym – the same the world over 🙂

  2. Joei says:

    For someone who is computer tongue tied….you do a lovely job of voicing your ideas.
    Why is Merino so difficult to spin? I find it has been very difficult to wash…sticky, sticky sticky. I’ve spent 2 weekends now washing up fleece, got any secrets for me? =-)
    PS 2 poodles live in my house, imagine that!

    • Ingrid says:

      Great to hear from you and yes I have just learned a secret this week. Soda ash, the stuff used to alter ‘PH’ in water, usually backgarden pools is terrific for removing lanolin, ie grease in wool. Now I haven’t tried it yet, but I am told it works a treat. Fill the container you use with hot water and depending on the amount of fleece, add approximately 1/4 to 1/3 cup of soda ash and dissolve well. Put the fleece in to soak for 15 mins, not letting the water get too cool, rinse well and then fill the tub again with hot water and detergent, immerse wet fleece for 15 mins. rinse in warm water till clear, roll in towel to remove excess water and spread to dry over a rack.
      Might be a good idea to do an internet search on using soda ash for cleaning wool to double check me. I will try it myself this week. Prior to this method, I used to boil the kettle to make sure that the water was 170 deg F. Also, if the water cools too much the grease re-attaches itself to the fibre. Don’t lose heart.

      Merino is lovely to spin when it has a long staple (often they are quite short) , when the crimp is not too fine and when the locks are quite thick. Sometimes they are so fine it is known as pencilling and supreme patience is needed to spin these because they ask to be spun fine. finvery fine st

    • Ingrid says:

      Joei, I found this website helpful when I began, though she doesn’t use soda ash. Two poodles, lucky you! Sophie has an elderly friend maltese/shitsu cross and the bunnies of course. Apparently the soda ash doesn’t harm the wool in anyway and if you rinse it well the fibres still take up the dye beautifully. All the best.

  3. Angie Willis says:

    I was touched by your revelations and think it took great courage to give voice to them. This thing of categories has been in my mind a lot recently and I know all the arguments against putting things and people into boxes, but if your mind tells you these things you sometimes have to listen. It doesn’t mean you’re less than you can be – it just means you’re who you are.

    And I love the poodle you wove 🙂

  4. colorsmith says:

    What lovely photos. And lovely words. I think I understand what you are saying. I love the process of creating anything. I love to hear about how others go through the process. I think my role on this planet is to help create venues for the creative people to share their creations. From the time I was in high school – I found ways to hold exhibits of creative peoples work. My extra hours of my life always seem to be working on art commissions, raising money for local orchestras, advocating to law makers the importance of art and education. I have always been on this side of the creative process. I hope to visit you down in your beautiful country someday. I especially hope I can meet Sophie!

  5. Nancy says:

    This is quite the seed for thought. And I support relieving the pressure, keeping in mind that we all grow and change…so much is possible. Very important musings from both you and ‘imph’. These are the matters that spin us in circles. Who we are as artists…how we share as bloggers…
    I also have been doing so much thinking on what do we DO with all that we’ve created (with respect to amount to be held by our one precious earth)…so much to be concerned with!

    • Ingrid says:

      Yes, and thinking so much takes away time from doing. Whilst in the Aussie countryside, I remembered a part of our culture that seems to be fading – that easy affability, readiness to laugh and the ‘she’ll be right mate’ attitude when things were not going according to plan. With all the seriousness of today’s world we just do not laugh enough and laughter is the best dose of medicine anyone can prescribe.
      I have always been in ‘awe’ of our planet and treasure it daily as I watch helplessly the destruction and relentless taking of its gifts – heartbreaking. Consumerism and greed have a lot to answer for.

  6. peggy dlugos says:

    Wonderful post and discussion. Also don’t like labeling myself or others though I usually do end up doing that. Thanks for all the wisdom.

    • Ingrid says:

      Also don’t like labeling, I couldn’t find a way to express what I was feeling which is, that to be ‘ordinary’ is okay and that no-one should judge you for that or make you feel inferior. Unfortunately I have seen this happen too often – it is soul destroying and creates a third world mentality. Still not sure I am saying this properly. Today, I am off to do the household chores, then find lots to laugh about and maybe sneak in some woolly stuff…..

  7. linda says:

    i just found you this morning and really like this discussion. have had it over at my place too. i always have the fear of copying. i am also a weaver and stitcher.. don’t spin. i love making utilitarian things when i weave. i am not a tapestry weaver. so even though i am weaving, i don’t always feel like i am creating much. funny, huh. so doing jude’s stitching is great because i do make my own designs but it is influenced so much by what jude makes. hard to know when it is truly yours.
    i have been to melbourne and have a great friend there. maybe i will come again…
    like your blog.

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