My friends, it’s been one of those weeks. I feel like I’m in a creative slump and everywhere I turn I keep hitting a wall. This happens every time I finish a body of work. I’m on a roll, cooking up designs left and right and feeling good about by choices. And when I complete a collection and I shift gears to begin something new, I can’t seem to get it right. The ideas and visions that look amazing in my dreams don’t seem to measure up when the morning comes.
I’ve spent most of this week ripping out stitches which has led me to meditate a lot on starting over. On trying again. On not giving up.
One of things that I love most about punch needle is that it can be, at times, quite forgiving. To be honest, I think that’s what drew me to textiles in the first place so many years ago. I originally planned on studying graphic design, but quickly changed my tune within my first semester of university. The forgiveness I experience in textiles is different than that of digital design. Sure, graphic design is extremely forgiving (praise the good Lord for Ctrl+Z….) but almost too forgiving. There’s no sense of permanency with my graphic design work. But with textiles, it’s different. I take things that are existing and somewhat more permanent and I shape them into something else. And the fact that I can take that solid material and morph it and change my mind and morph it again… and again… aaaand maybe just one more time is a fascinating concept to me.
In graphic design, my process can be erased completely— never to be thought of again. In textiles, there can still exist shadows of the journey. Memory of the path that led me to my final work.
My textile practice is a tangible, real-time experience of maturing. And not maturing from gathering a wealth of knowledge and fact. But a maturing grown through grace and forgiveness and hope. This textile practice teaches me forgiveness. It teaches me the inevitability of change. It teaches me patience even in the times when I just want the work. to. be. done. already. It teaches me gentleness with myself and my thoughts. It’s okay to have a not super great first idea. It’s okay to change it. It’s okay to try again.
Today I was struck by the beauty in the ghost of my original idea. The foundation cloth has such a great way of showing you the constellations of what it held. The beauty is that I can still use this piece of material and punch new ideas into it. The materials were not wasted. The original idea was not wasted. It was not a reflection of utter failure. It was just a first step and I needed to change directions.
I’m not sure how many times I’ll have to go through this ripping out process before my new collection takes shape, but I’m learning to live with it. For those out there in a creative rut— your time in the slump is not wasted. We’re all gonna make it out and have new work to share with the world soon. I promise. And until then, I’m here for ya. If you need a cheerleader to tell you how awesome you are, come chat with your friend Katie.
To new things on the horizon.