Finding inspiration. Organizing inspiration. Managing inspiration.

Easy, challenging, overwhelming, in that order.

Finding inspiration is a piece of cake. I inherited my mother’s inclination to say wow at least once every day. Except for fascination with cars and money, I can find something interesting to ask about everything and everyone I encounter. One of the benefits of being a 7th-kid is the exponential exposure to ideas, things and people that came into my life through the first 6. I am grateful for my siblings’ willingness to answer all my questions. That inspired me to keep asking.

Organizing inspiration.

Six months into MFA study, I’m bombarded with inspiration in the best possible way. Being with the other artists, being in the buildings, being asked to offer examples of artists I find…I am lucky beyond measure. I’m finding, though, that when I set out to make something new, the ideas begin competing. I’m in a room full of ideas I care about, and they all have something to say. At first they are all murmuring, ideas in small groups begin quietly chatting among themselves. Then they start clamoring for attention.

“Make another political piece about nurses getting screwed.”

“Nah, make something fun. Loads of color. We want to play.”

“Go to the books. Find someone new to investigate.”

“Make it a hooked piece.”

“Your shoulder hurts…make an embroidered piece.”

“What about tatting? You’ve been wanting to that forever.”

Managing inspiration.

I need you all to pipe down. You in the back, we’ll get to tatting later. Politics will wait until I’ve interviewed the nurses 2 years out from graduation during COVID. Today, I’m going to the books.

In her book Threading Time: A Cultural History of Threadwork in 2001, Dolores Bausum wrote about the relationship between woven cloth and stability: “…work with thread of various kinds has been a pervasive force in the psychological, emotional, and spiritual bonding of humans since earliest times.” In countless ways, I have connected psychologically, emotionally, spiritually through woven cloth as long as I can remember.

In the coming days, I’m going to hook small pieces that each represent what has been underfoot in my life. Footprints through the parks, the beach, the woods. Woven cloth and walks as foundational. Thanks, Dolores.

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