Thursday, May 2, 2013

Creativity a Journey of Discovery

Elizabeth Evans and Susan Middleton continuing to weave on the international tapestry project, Fate, Destiny and Self Determination at the Toronto Weaving School.
As many of you already know, my students are a great source of inspiration for me. How they learn , what they create is always a new and delightful discovery of who they are as individuals. Recently one of my beginning tapestry students baulked at continuing to create her tapestry sampler not even a quarter of the way through. She struggled to share what she was feeling about the process and how it didn't seem well suited to her personality. At first I suggested that maybe she was in the wrong place and perhaps being at an Art College might be better. She seemed to feel that being where she was was where she wanted to be. I gave her permission to give herself permission to stop creating the prescribed sampler and do whatever she wanted to do. One thing is clear to me....that if anything we need more time to play, to explore, to imagine, to wonder......and I sensed that the structure of tapestry weaving, the traditional practice of it was perhaps too rigid and confining. As this was percolating in my mind, and I recalled the many experiments I did with my own weaving, trying wire, fishing line, paper and found materials, encouraged by my own tapestry weaving teacher at the Ontario College of Art and Design, William Hodge, over 25 years ago.
detail of tapestry woven by Christine Eboral
Recently I read an article written by Christine Eboral, who uses her tapestry weaving to express her about toxic waste cluttering and damaging the planet and our health. She says...."virtually all my weaving has been with discarded plastic packaging - un-reusable bags, mail order wrappers, fruit and veg nets and the metallised film used for bags of crisps, snakcs, coffee, etc.....collected by friends and picked up from the street plublic transport, the countryside ......"
detail of tapestry woven by Christine Eboral
Other materials are also used for weaving, as demonstrated by the work of Erin Lewis whose work you can see on her website . In  photo below she's woven with fibre optics and this piece is inspired by the Northern Lights. Recently Erin was featured in an article in the magazine, Surface Design.

Erin Lewis. Hand-woven fibre optic sculpture driven by real-time data of Northern Lights over Canada. 2011.
Fibre optics, polyester monofilament, LEDs, foam, electronic circuitry.

All of us define ourselves by what we create and make. It is telling the world who you are, and what kind of thoughts you have. The act of creation is a journey of self discovery and learning, one filled with excitement and infinite possibilities if you want to embark upon it. It's not always one where there ae predictable results and desired outcomes. Sometimes when the experimentation doesn't go the way one thinks, the 'wrong' turn or disappointing results are really opening the door to other possibilities you hadn't imagined. How much creative risk  can one live with is determined by each individual. In my estimation, whatever your prefered methodology, it's all valid. Just honour your inner voice and where it's leading you. 
Catherine Brackley weaving on the Fate, Destiny and Self Determination tapestry.

No comments: