- Some years ago, I remember taking the week of the 4th as vacation time, planning to practice being a full-time artist over that week. I remember being very disappointed in my productivity and how little art I actually created that week. In time, I came to understand it was as much a matter of knowing how to go about creating as it was the act(s) of creation itself. Six? years later, I’m almost right back there again, with slightly more understanding of the problem.
When I posted last about finding a way into Celtic knitting, I was chock full of ideas that were bursting everywhere. I was also, unknown to self at the time, full of rickettsiae doing exactly the same thing. Rocky Mountain Spotted fever, probably from a tick carried in by one of the two stray dogs I picked up at the end of May. Nothing like a potentially fatal illness to put a ding in one’s energy level. Waiting now on the results of blood tests to confirm that doxycycline did its thing and I’m “over it,” but the nurse did say that the fatigue takes a long time to clear. (12/9/2007: as it turns out from the datestamp on my next entry, the doxy had not completely worked at the time of this post and I had to go back on it for a whole month. Difficult year, health-wise.)
There’s the fatigue of just being tired, and not wanting to do much that requires physical effort (chainsaw carving, for example) but there’s also a fatigue of ideas and follow-through. The follow-through is really the more critical element, because it’s turning out that’s the crux of making art, at least in this studio. Ideas are easy. Taking an idea through the hundreds if not thousands of decisions that have to be made between concept and final product takes a lot more energy than I’ve had to spare, some days. And so I stumble.
The nice part of stumbling is that if you have a decent enough road and a general direction, you can still make progress. Not pretty, but progress. I have some designs in B&W that could probably be interesting rugs. They need color. And after the first draft, they need refinements. Today, I can draft. I don’t need to commit to a colorway yet, or even pull the yarn, or think about tying up. Color a few designs, don’t like much of what I have, and the truth is, I HAVE made art. It just doesn’t look like much to the general public. Or maybe I have made NOT-art, using the same logic that T. A. Edison used to say, “I haven’t failed 999 times. I have learned 999 ways that it won’t work.”
It’s all art. Sometimes it turns into a product I can display at First Sunday, and sometimes it’s just colors on paper that I couldn’t sell for a dime.
Originally written on July 3, 2007