Monday, January 9, 2012

A Glimpse Of The Muse

After thinking about Elizabeth Gilbert's presentation the other day, I've been more aware of the moments when the muse appears. I had one of those a-ha! moments today while plying thread. Just like with the green beam, I'm struggling with the reality that I don't have as many shades of thread as I'd like.

So today, I thought I'd give something a try, "What does it look like if I ply one tiny denim thread with the lead grey?" I tried it and it was amazing! A deep slate grey.
"I think I'm onto something. What about french meadow with chocolate?" Yes! Another beautiful grey, this time kissed with green.
"Powder blue with bark?" A little powerful, but fantastic in a small dose.

Now, this might just sound like an artist making decisions about color combinations, and it is. But there's something else, too. It's a feeling. As soon as I saw the lead and denim, I was elated! I had been plodding along, showing up to do the work but never with the feeling that this batch of cloth would be up to snuff. Just like with the green beam, I had resigned myself to mediocrity, my hand forced by the threads I have available. And then something magical happened. I didn't buy more thread, I just looked at the thread that I have in a different way and poof! The cloth that I was envisioning went away and was replaced by something much, much better.

And that's where I cease to take the credit. I had envisioned the best thing I could before something else stepped in and made it "inspired."

And this happens over and over in my creative process. There are about 100 hours of work to set up the loom for one batch of cloth. Throughout that time, the muse steps in over and over again. By the time I actually start weaving, it's not my cloth at all.

And, let me just say that even for someone who considers himself experienced with color, unsaturated shades are very difficult to work with. It's so easy to end up with cloth that looks wishy-washy, unintentional, or indistinct. I've got my fingers crossed that none of those things happen with this cloth. The muse has been good to me so far, but I don't want to get cocky and believe that nothing could go wrong.

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