Thursday, 6 May 2010

No focus, no stitching

I've been wondering why I seem to do next to no needlework these days and also thinking about why, if I'm interested in a subject and have lots of books etc on it, do I just leave them on the shelf when I have some free time and just read an easy novel etc instead? Also, since I've been out here, I've done only one piece of artwork (the butterfly you can see at the top of the blog), despite having brought lots of art pencils and a quantity of new, artists' quality watercolours and 2 of my favourite art books. I've come to the conclusion that, without a definite focus, I don't do stuff.

I think it's safe to say that many of us do more when we have a reason to, or a deadline for something, and I seem to have an outsized case of this. I remember saying on-blog some months (even years) ago, that there was to be no more 'obligation stitching', ie that I wasn't going to make something for everyone's event etc anymore, but since that came into force, so to speak, I simply haven't stitched much! What I have done has been mostly for other people anyway, or for things I've got planned for our new home later this year. Although I have lots of ideas, unless I have a reason to do them, they'll go no further.

I realise this may sound like 'not doing anything for myself', or something like that, but it isn't that at all. I just don't have the desire or motivation to do something I don't see a final destination or purpose for. So, whilst I'm interested in lots of languages, I only get on with learning one if I'm either going to classes, or have an up-coming trip where I need that language. When I was in my late teens and early 20s, I had lots of penpals and I would write in their language wherever possible, so that provided another motivation.

So, it looks like I'm going to have to take City & Guilds courses again and/or start stitching gifts and cards en masse again in order to produce any work!!! I wondered if I was actually losing interest in the art and craft of embroidery etc, but I don't think I am. I've just nothing to focus it on - no brief to work to (as with C&G samples and pieces), or no person to create for (as with gift pieces). Ditto the artwork. I did some encouraging stuff for my C&G, but have only done one piece in the year since. So, I really do want to do those Open College of the Arts courses as I know it's the only thing that will provide sufficient of both instruction and focus for me to develop as an artist. I was thinking about a stitched piece I planned to work for my mum the other day and, yes, I was interested in doing that and I can see myself getting down to it, but finishing the goldwork, which has no end purpose other than I like the design, is going to be harder to achieve.

Language and other interests-wise, there's the wonderful Open University and it's BA(Hons) in Modern Language Studies (German & Spanish, I think for me) and their BSc(Hons) in Environmental Studies for the budding scientist and eco-warrier in me!!

All in all, a very useful piece of information I've gained about myself. All that remains now is to put it to good use.=)

DH and I have decided that, owing to my continuing health problems here (I keep getting bug after cold after virus and am remaining badly run down because of it) and my being rather homesick as well, we will be going back home after the scholarship period is up in August - as originally planned. We're going to Japan in July for a break and then home in late August via Korea (for more tourism - so 2 languages to have a purpose for!!), then DH's mum's in southern Germany (to catch up with her and recover from jet-lag in the lovely high, clean air where she lives), then back to normal life. So, before we leave, I'd better get this field mouse design finished and sewn up into a cushion/pillow cover!! At least that one is for someone, so there is motivation to get on with it, even if the deadline is more than 3 months away....

Anyone else have this kind of situation, with needing focus and distinct motivation, by the way? I'd be interested to know your thoughts and experiences. There are few things more interesting than the human being.=)

Added in later on after first 3 comments: Please don't think that I'm upset, anxious or feeling guilty about any of the above, as I'm not at all! I'm just interested in finding how I work best.=)

13 comments:

Radka said...

Hi Elizabeth,
sorry to hear that you are still feeling unwell, as you say, may be it is time to come home. And what culd be better then a mountain air to recover in! I still miss the mountains I come from.
I too sometime go through "non productive" periods, and then I usually just read one book after an other, that is probably quite normal. Also, our interest change with time. But the difference with me is that I can't be under pressure to be creative, I could not do swaps or anything like that. One of the reasons I could not carry on with City&Guilds, not enough time and too much preasure to move on to next project. I make only things I like to do, for myself, and yes, I prefer something with a purpose. It is the one of the reasons I like to make quilts, I see them being used, in my or my daughter's house.
So, relax, may be you expect too much from yourself!

Radka said...

Ups, just saw my spelling mistake, culd?? Of course it should be could.

DIAN said...

Hi Elizabeth, I think we all suffer in this way. If you are homesick and unwell then you probably don't have the emotional capacity to be creative. I was like this a couple of months ago when my husband had his knee replacement and things didn't exactly go to plan.
I found the solution was to pack all my bits and bobs away and not expect to create anything. I caught up with the ironing and the gardening and now I am full of inspiration and ideas.

Hope you are able to enjoy the rest of your time away. Just relax.

Rachel said...

If you are even the slightest bit run down that may be the reason. It's hard to be excited about anything with continual snuffles and headaches.
When you get back on track - the Open College of Art courses seem to be really good. I did the Drawing one a while back and while I've not kept up the practice I know it left a legacy in improving my drawing - and my belief that practising drawing is worth doing!

Susan D said...

Hi Elizabeth

You wrote "Sadly, their textiles courses seem more based on dyeing and printing than anything really stitch-related and I don't fancy those at all" about the OCA Textiles course.

Textiles 1 includes lots of stitching, I think you would enjoy doing it I know I did. Have a look at my blog and maybe it will give you an idea of what is involved. You'll need to go back to 2006/07 to see the work.

I've enjoying C & G Embroidery but I want to get back to OCA.

Jules said...

You're absolutely right about having a focus hun,and I think all creative people experience the slumps from time to time. You've had such a lot going on, in a very short space of time, too. I'm glad that you've decided to come back earlier, and spending some time in S Germany sounds like just the tonic for you.

karen said...

Hi Elizabeth, I definitely have a need for 'purpose' in my work, usually it's to sell and make a living but I never forget my initial motivation which is a love of a truly female paastime that has been handed down over generations. and thanks for the comment, I do think I need to slow down, I will consider myself told off! Karen

Rachel Cotterill said...

I work best to deadlines, definitely. But setting aside some time to specifically work on a given thing (e.g. fortnightly craft sessions with some friends) also helps me to focus. And my 'Before 30' list gives me a few extra deadlines, because I know I can't leave everything until the last week!!

karen said...

Hi Elizabeth, don't hold your breath on the all nighter, not sure how long this particular marriage will last!

Kelly Fletcher said...

Sounds like a classic case of lots of interests and not enough time to indulge in them all. I hear you! It can be exhausting sometimes. But as my husband always says, rather too many interests than not being interested in anything at all. Another thing, no one ever tells you how many bugs you're going to pick up when you move to another country. I've found that out the hard way too, so know what you mean. And feeling under the weather so much of the time definitely does nothing for creativity and motivation. Your body has probably just needed a rest and it's good that you've given yourself a break. You'll know you're your old self again when you feel that old stitching itch return...

karen said...

Hi thankyou so much for the encouraging words!!. It's quite a scary time but exciting too. I hope you are well, Karen

Terri said...

I found your blog again! I miss not being able to read it so much. But now I am computing again, thank God.

Jensters said...

Your work is so stunning its a shame you are not feeling the need to make anymore at this moment.

I do hope you start to feel better soon xx

 
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