Saturday, March 29, 2008

Slow Cloth - Contemplation

Inspired by Slow Cloth from Elaine Lipson at Red Thread Studios
Although I often find creative decision making difficult, the process of actually making things (once all those pesky decisions are settled) is meditative in nature.

I am not good at sitting still and meditating, my head is very full of to-dos. A great deal of the work I do is repetitive in nature. Stitching (especially by hand) and folding create a very soothing rhythm. When I can get out of my own way and let go of the end result, it becomes an activity that allows my brain to wander off and relax. Sometimes it feels as though I am rummaging through an old library of thoughts, ideas and memories.

This is the part of the process that has no grand ideas or investment in the end result, it is plain work. I don’t think of plain work in a negative way. I have an idea that plain work (sweeping, scrubbing, folding, digging or stitching) is something that is missing from modern life. In our quest for more leisure time we have omitted the most contemplative of activities. The absence adds to the stressed out feeling we can all fall victim to from time to time. Plain work is the sort of work that needs to be done in order to maintain an orderly life but it is repetitive, small work, no heroics involved. It can be a part of the creative process but in and of itself it isn’t creative. The repetitiveness of it allows the ever vigilant part of the brain that wants more, more, more to shut down. We are working and the dreamer in us can slip out between the stitches to catch a butterfly in our thoughts.


juanita sim said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I agree that we've lost many simple but soul nourishing activities through our quest for leisure, happiness, and fulfillment through the acquisition of manufactured things. It's nice when we find we can reclaim some of these in the course of everyday life.

alsokaizen said...

Hi juanita,
I suspect many of us who do fiber work benifit from it in this way even if we don't consiously choose it for that reason