Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Routine of the Head

All living things are one way or another creatures of habit.

Plants expect sunlight followed by darkness, appropriate water and temperatures, lack of pests, and then they thrive.

My cats earnestly desire to be fed upon waking and a snack sometime around bedtime, and protest loudly if this is not forthcoming.

Not being a trust fund baby, I probably don't lead a life directed purely by whim, but I travel when I can, try new foods at the drop of a hat and try to keep an open mind when my routine is altered without my permission.

It sounds ridiculous when I say it out loud and even though it's more of an over-simplification than an exaggeration, I live to make stuff. Obviously not just any stuff - for that all I'd need is a glue gun and left-over crap from a daycare centre, but my internal well-being is fuelled by the satisfaction of the urge to work through the design process, all the way from "I need to be doing something with my hands" to the germ of an idea, the sketching out of the plan, the working and reworking and refining, to the first version (which may well also be the final version but often isn't). This is what thrills me, wakes me up, engages me to the exclusion of the awareness of the passage of time or the needs of the vessel wherein I reside.

When my little world changes its axis of rotation or faces a different sun or detours to a different elliptical path, it perturbs my bliss and interrupts the gears in my head that take me to the place where inspiration can strike and ideas can germinate and quicken and I'm not entirely comfortable. The kumihimo necklaces and the clothes I sew are a placebo, a panacea because they don't really scratch that itch but they soothe it slightly, briefly - but absent something wonderful to distract me completely, I feel out-of-kilter until I get back to my spot.

I've been back from my trip for a little over a week and a half. Last weekend was a wash in terms of getting my flow back leaving me vaguely unsettled this past week. I'm a little unhappy when a weekend isn't productive.

I'm back now though.

My ideal weekend is one in which I don't have too many plans, leaving me enough unstructured time to   relax into being receptive to inspiration (as best I can explain it). Too much going on (people, plans, obligations) and unless I already have a plan, nothing much is going to happen, creativity-wise.
First I made a rhombic dodecahedron. It seemed like a good idea and it's an interesting shape with a nice flat back and front, though right now I'm not sure where I want to go with it, so I'll let it percolate. This is the second version, by the way - I omitted the seed beads in the first version and it didn't work at all (the beads jostled each other too much).

Then I decided that I needed to make a beaded shape that was fat at each end and thinner in the middle. I thought it might be fun to suspend it via a beaded ring around the waist, allowing it to rotate freely.
The first version is the part towards the back of the picture using all size 11 seed beads which made it too clumsy and shapeless, so in the second version (the front of the picture) I tried it with smaller beads with some success (though clearly the colour was not considered at all; I grabbed semi-randomly). The magatamas also don't work and the waist isn't defined enough.
The third version is pretty close, but I still couldn't get the waist right though the bulbous ends with the crystals seem fine (the far end had to be tweaked to get the near end, just slightly).

I wanted something of an hourglass shape with the additional requirement that it be rather stiff, holding its shape well, either as an innate property of the stitch used, or via embellishment. The solution in this version is inadequate, and what the photo doesn't show is that the slenderest part of the waist is horrible: it's not smooth and even and it sort of crumples in on itself and Just Won't Do.

I spent quite a bit of time just on the waist - I cut up one or two attempts that just weren't working until I had a satisfactory solution.
I really should have photographed it as I was stitching it - as usual I photographed each step of an earlier version and by the time I got to this version I was in too much of a hurry because about five hours had passed and I hadn't left my work area to attend to things such as eating or stretching. So I'll need to make another one.
I really don't mind though.

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