Friday, November 6, 2009

Taking Risks

Ever have a project that you love the idea of and get all excited about?

Ever have the people around you tell you that it just won't work?

Ever choose to proceed anyway?

I'm in that place right now. In my head, this project turns out wonderfully, but on my loom?

We'll see.

Meanwhile, I'm trying to take to heart this poem:

by Lisa Colt

My teacher says,
You've got to stink first.

I tell her, I don't have time to stink -
at 64 years old
I go directly to perfection
or I go nowhere.

Perfection is nowhere,
she says, So stink.
Stink like a beginner,
stink like decaying flesh,
old blood,
cold sweat,
she says,
I know a woman who's eighty-six,
last year she learned to dive.

How do you handle taking creative risks?

Or any risks at all?


Delighted Hands said...

It looks like chenille....that is pretty risky! If it goes well for you, I have some just waiting for me to be brave, too.

Sharon said...

I get super discouraged and then I stall and then I do something I know I can do and then I go back and tackle my stalled project. It's a cycle. I don't know what I'm doing half the time so don't know if that's risk taking.

Life Looms Large said...

The picture is a snarl in a mixed warp. Since it was a blurry picture anyway, I took some liberties with it in editing, perhaps making it look like chenille.

Sharon, I think I do something like that too. Stall, maybe I overthink, I try, I get fed up, I do a blog post while I'm frustrated, I let the project rest. I'm trying to make those rests not go on for years as they sometimes have in the past. (Looms make that easier because you have to get one project off the loom before you can put another one on....where with knitting, for example, you just need another pair of needles!)

Your last sentence Sharon, about not knowing what you're doing half the time makes me wonder why some projects feel like risks to me and other projects don't. Because in weaving I almost always don't know how to do what I want to do, or if what I want to do is even possible.

I definitely want to be more like the diver in the poem - able to take risks and do what might seem improbable to other people. Or maybe I have the notion that I somehow shouldn't have that cycle of emotion where I try to mitigate the risks, then get frustrated when things don't work, and stall out.

I'm definitely rambling about this now. I know that somehow I want to be better at taking creative risks. And that I feel like my emotions sometimes get in the way of that. for thought for me!! Thanks for commenting!


Theresa said...

Oh mixed warps! I was trying to decide if it was mohair! ;-)
Sue, just take it one itty bit at a time and push through as best you can. Gather whatever you think might help and take it a quarter turn at a time and experiment. Comb, additional body to help with winding, etc. It also helps to put risk in perspective. I guess I don't look at anything weaving wise as risk. Challenging yes, but it's unlikely if anything worse than some wasted yarn and time will come of it. A risky decision elsewhere isn't so forgiving. If it's an animal involved I am more likely not to make the riskier of choices unless I have a pretty good idea of how it will work out and if it doesn't, how can it go wrong. Riding and training horses, even quite predictable ones has moments when it can all go horribly wrong.
The other thing is, some of us simply are not as active risk takers as others. Gene is a high risk taker, me not so much so. It's okay not to be a risk taker too. :-) While reading about other people and the things they do, remember to give yourself permission to be who you are at this moment while you strive to grow in whichever way you choose.

Life Looms Large said...

Thanks for your words of wisdom Theresa! I am heading out for the day but your replies have me thinking.

Just wanted to let you all know that the snarl photo I used with this post isn't a problem. That snarl has worked itself out - it's my mental snarls that I'm trying to illustrate! (And work out!)

Have a great Saturday!


Sharon said...

Sewing with handwoven will definitely be a risk, however, I'm still spinning yarns for my cloth so I'm not there yet, though I am sewing.

Thanks for the National Park info - I had no idea and will follow up on it. Great news!!

Valerie said...

Great post....and I love the poem. I don't think I have a consistent way of handling challenges. As far as taking risks....haven't been doing much of that lately either.

This post makes me think it's time to push myself a bit.

Take good notes so you (and we, vicariously) can learn from this challenge!!

Jennifer said...

Oh - I so want to see what you are doing! I believe the risk is at the heart of the creative process. If you want to take another type of risk - let us hear about the thought process - warts and all - but particularly what you learned. I find sometimes if I have to explain it, the solution, or the essence of what I'm doing becomes really clear. Somehow that clarity makes the risk less and the "success" more because I then know what success should look like.

Jennifer said...

I'll have to get the quote more exact from work, but this one was the first I thought of when I read your blog:

Do what others tell you can't be done and you will never listen to them again.

bspinner said...

Love the poem.

I'm more "nothing ventured nothing gained" sort of person.

I have so many things and ideas that have not turned out but that's ok. If nothing else I've learned what doesn't work.

Here's to KEEP TRYING you've got nothing to lose.

Life Looms Large said...

Love that quote Jennifer! (Or your changed up version of it.) It's very applicable to my situation I think.

Don't worry - I will be blogging ad nauseum about what I'm working on. I heard this poem a few weeks ago and wanted to lead off with it when I did my kick off post for this project. I knew I'd be stretching myself technically in some ways, and that I'd have unforeseen problems.

I posted this right after I hit a very major snag. I'm still mulling, but I'll definitely get input from you guys before I proceed. You often have great ideas!!

I'm also going to do a follow up post about risk-taking and problem solving. I had a long drive today and I thought about this all a lot. I want to get better at getting through the tough parts of projects - and to me, having the attitude that it's OK to try and fail is really important and hard to do.

Anyway, I'm not sure I can promise more coherency when I do that post, but I know I'm super tired and busy this I definitely can't be more coherent tonight!

Thanks for all of your input and support. It has meant a lot to me today, and during the time I've been blogging. It's so great to have a creative community that's so helpful!


Deanna said...

My worst experience weaving also got me the only First Place ribbon I've ever gotten at the fair. (Well, I only entered that once, but still.) It was a cashmere warp, woven on a loom with a not very large shed, and with EVERY SINGLE PICK, I had to clear the shed with a stick before I could throw the shuttle.
It was warped in a sequence of fibonacci stripes, moving from taupe to cream. I decided to use the warping technique Peggy O explains, using kite sticks. Didn't take into consideration the total appeal the sticks would have for my dog. :-/ Plus, I used a weird sley pattern, and that combined with counting for the stripes about drove me crazy.
The weft was silk - if I had been using more of my brain, I would have used a silk warp with the cashmere as weft.
I had a vest made for my husband from the fabric, and luckily the seamstress was able to cut around the weaving mistakes. Sadly, when I picked up the vest, she claimed to have thrown out the scraps.
That meant that I could not submit it for the Convergence fashion show that year because they declared that you had to submit a "handling" piece. I asked about it, saying I was out of the cashmere, and had no more fabric. I was told I could buy more yarn and weave more fabric for the handling piece. Needless to say, I didn't submit for the fashion show that year. :-)
So I guess when you take a risk, at the very least, you have something to laugh about, but sometimes, in spite of the hassles, you end up with something you treasure. Good payoff, I'd say.

Life Looms Large said...


Thanks so much for sharing that story and experience. You guys would definitely have to talk me down from the ledge if I had to clear the shed with every pick. It's really good to hear that things like that happen to other people. And they cope. And create beautiful things. And win prizes.

I poked around your blog to see if you'd written about that adventure. I didn't find it.

But thanks so much for sharing that story. This online weaving community is so very helpful to me!


Leigh said...

One of the things weaving has taught me is that perfection in art is highly subjective. I've also learned that I learn more from my "mistakes" and "errors" than I do from getting a thing "perfect" the first try. The creative process is not a scale of 1 to 10, it's a journey.