I've enjoyed the slower pace this last week of the year. I've been catching up on my reading - book, magazine, on-line, including other blogs and links saved for "when I have more time" - and doing the closest thing I do to binge watching tv series and movies recorded for when the regular network shows I follow go on hiatus.
There's also been more snow, which started Thursday and steadily continued through Saturday morning. It was mostly a light fluffy snow, and although my thoughtful neighbor with the snowblower kept at the accumulation with multiple passes, I managed to sneak in a shoveling of at least my side of the driveway once when about 4 inches had stacked up and the satellite dish needed cleaning out. When the snow's not heavy, I don't mind the exercise it gives me.
By Saturday afternoon, the temperatures soared above freezing and most everyone had their driveways cleared. Then that night, the temperatures plunged to 12 degrees Fahrenheit. But that brief bit of warming made it easier to clean up all that snow. I had no way of accurately measuring the total but I'm sure we got over a foot of new snow, and the snowbanks are getting pretty high.
While scrolling through my blog feedreader, I discovered a few posts I'd saved to share here. Every so often different bloggers I follow will voice uncertainty about continuing to blog. If that's you then this post, A Few Notes On Daily Blogging, on Austin Kleon's blog is for you. He had let his blogging slide for the quicker throw it up on Tumblr or Twitter or Instagram etc for a quick share. He decided to challenge himself to get back to regular blogging and explains the value of daily blogging. His take on all the various social media platforms vs the blog is similar to mine, and while our reasons for a media presence are much different, what we've discovered as value in the blog experience is much the same:
The idea started out from my anxiety about “stock and flow.” As Robin Sloan wrote seven years ago: flow is the feed (“It’s the posts and the tweets. It’s the stream of daily and sub-daily updates that reminds people you exist.”) and stock is the durable stuff (“It’s the content you produce that’s as interesting in two months (or two years) as it is today. It’s what people discover via search. It’s what spreads slowly but surely, building fans over time.”)
Reading down his list of things he discovered as he got back to daily blogging, several had me nodding my head in agreement: "2) ...I could start to see all the connections between posts, the patterns, the idea planets I keep orbiting. Because it’s all in one place, hyperlinked together, I can see my own obsessions in a way that is much harder elsewhere." and "3) I had forgotten how wonderful blogging is as a mode of thinking... It’s also great to be able to go as long or as short as you want to go." (The same can be said for journaling.) Now, I'm not going to start blogging daily, and I'm not suggesting you do either unless it suits you, but if you do have a blog, I do encourage you to keep posting to it because, quick or lengthy, IT'S A GOOD THING!
Austin also speaks to what I've learned over the years in his blog post "Tidying up".
"The best studio tidying is a kind of exploring — I’m re-discovering spaces as I sift through the objects that occupy them. The reason I tidy is not to clean, but to come into contact with something special that I’ve forgotten that I can now use. This is a slow, dreamy, ruminative, reminiscent form of tidying."
I don't think there's much I can do in my studio until I've done some tidying up (which will have to include cleaning). When I was looking for a third piece to add to my new ones in the fiber show, I ended up digging through a bin of work dating back years, looking for a specific piece. Haven't been through that bin for awhile and to be honest, I found myself surprised at what I ran across. When in doubt, actually LOOK at what you've created from beginning to current. I've done some really fine work over the years, and when I'm struggling with, disappointed in whatever I've immersed myself in at the moment, and convinced I am a hack and have never been anything but a hack my brain is too quick to agree. The hard evidence before me now said otherwise. Anyway, you can see by the photo, that physical search of mine resulted in quilts and the stuff stacked on top of the bin strewn over the ironing board, chairs and floor, and the table still shows signs of exhibit preparation. So tidy up I must do, as my first creative task of the new year.
And as I'm tidying up, I no doubt will discover that "The best thing about tidying is that it busies my hands and loosens up my mind so that a) I get unstuck with a new idea or I solve a problem in my head b) I come across something in the mess that leads to new work..." I've had both happen often, and I have some new ideas as well as old ones percolating in my brain as I look to the new year. I'll never get it all neat as a pin, and Austin maintains that is a good thing, as long as you can find your tools:
"Some of my favorite artists not only have messy studios, they have intentionally messy studios, because they understand that creativity is about connections, and connections are not made by siloing everything off into its own space. New ideas are formed by interesting juxtapositions, and interesting juxtapositions happen when things are out of place."
Yes, those accidental and out of place juxtapositions, especially of fabric, have often led me to lightbulb moments. Not that I'm in need of any new ideas right now. But I will not be surprised if some pop up in the process of getting the studio in working order again. Be sure and read the entire post - so many good things in it, more than I can cover here.
I think that's enough philosophizing for this post. The clock is winding down to midnight, I have turkey enchiladas to make and bubbly to imbibe. 2017 is nearly over and put to bed. Goodnight, 2017. May 2018 be a kinder year to all.