The most important voice


~ Dream Boat, River Tay, Scotland ~


Start close in,
don't take the second step
or the third,
start with the first
close in,
the step
you don't want to take.

Start with
the ground
you know,
the pale ground
beneath your feet,
your own
way of starting
the conversation.

Start with your own
give up on other
people's questions,
don't let them
smother something

To find
another's voice,
your own voice,
wait until
that voice
becomes a
private ear
to another.

Start right now
take a small step
you can call your own
don't follow
someone else's
heroics, be humble
and focused,
start close in,
don't mistake
that other
for your own.

Start close in,
don't take
the second step
or the third,
start with the first
close in,
the step
you don't want to take.

~ David Whyte, from "River Flow: New & Selected Poems"


bead sketches : month one


When I wrote the following on Dear Flora last month,

"Something new for what is feeling like a glorious new year on the horizon.
Thought it might be time to embark on a yearlong adventure ... 52 weeks
of 3-inch squares and the discovery of all the tiny worlds I can create
within them. I have no idea where this is going,
but go I must ... "

what I didn't mention was that I was going on this journey mainly to
play with beads again.  We'd taken a break, my bead family and I.  You know how it is
when you have to step away for a while in order to come back with fresh eyes,
a renewed heart?

I'd been away for so long that many new bead varieties had hit the markets without me
and I'd been growing steadily more curious about how to integrate them
into bead embroidery work.  Compound this with all the hand dyed
cloth I'd been amassing, explorations with paper, metals and all sorts
of sundry textiles and what was building felt nothing short of a crisis of making ...
I needed to dive.
I needed to stop dreaming and start doing.

For the last year or so I've noticed myself being attracted to the projects
of others who'd committed themselves to creating something/anything on a steady schedule.
Committed.  Key word.
Schedule.  Key word.
Be they daily poems or sketches, weekly paintings or mixed media collages, 
even a gorgeous pair of knitted socks per month, folks were dedicating themselves to
show up ... do the work.  Best of it was, they were gaining much from 
this kind of discipline.  They talked about it - they were having breakthroughs.
Their new creative "habit" was renewing confidence &
providing fertile ground for inspiration.
This, to my mind, was a healthy choice of how to invest ones time.

So I had a good long think about what I could stomach doing for the long haul.
Having really blown it in the past was actually helpful for not setting goals
to outrageously out there ... 20/20 hindsight & all that.
Size was going to be critical.  Beads are [mostly] tiny little pretties
and the last thing I wanted was a demanding blank space shouting, "Fill me up!"
So learning from a previous 6-inch disaster I first cut the size in half.

Another extremely important aspect of setting parameters was allowing
for the element of  play  ... I did not want to produce a *finished* square each week.
Instead, how freeing to simply play with ideas & materials
and just see where that took me.
Hence the name, bead sketches - not particularly clever, but to the point.
Without the pressure of having to finish something each week I found
month one an extremely enjoyable enterprise.  As each new week rolled around I
picked up whatever caught my fancy in the moment & started from there.
I wondered what would happen if I paired this with that,
then tried it.  I experimented with edge treatments & extending beyond
the exact space while allowing the materials to dictate the direction.
There were mess-ups - like joining methods, thread issues, fabric limitations -
which sent the beads all wonky-doodle ...
but I sure know a lot more now then if I'd never started.

Little templates to explore some ideas every week.
Slow and steady ... just show up.
Play relentlessly.

I'm really liking how this feels.

It would be immensely enjoyable to hear about your experiences.
If you are someone who's ever [or currently] embarked on a daily, weekly,
even monthly practice, your comments about the process are most welcome here.
If you'd like to share a link where we can come and see what you made during the process,
please do.  I think the sharing could be very advantageous indeed.

Thank you for stopping by.

"I have no idea where this is going, but go I must ..."

: : :

To view all of the  52 Weeks : Bead Sketches  posts, starting with the most recent,